Ros­berg keep­ing the cham­pagne on ice

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

NICO ROS­BERG is re­fus­ing to get car­ried away by thoughts of cel­e­brat­ing a maiden Formula One ti­tle tri­umph at the end of the sea­son, de­spite get­ting one hand on the cham­pi­onship crown with vic­tory in the Ja­panese Grand Prix.

The Ger­man eased to a maiden win from pole po­si­tion at the Suzuka cir­cuit on Sun­day, chalk­ing up his ninth win of the year, to lift him­self 33 points clear of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamil­ton in the over­all stand­ings.

Such is Ros­berg’s mar­gin that, with just four races to go, the 31-year-old can take the ti­tle with­out need­ing to win another race.

“I don’t feel re­lief,” said Ros­berg, only the fifth driver to win nine races in a sea­son. “I’m just happy to win the Suzuka race.”

Ros­berg’s com­ments are in keep­ing with the ap­proach the Ger­man has adopted this year, fo­cussing on each race as it comes rather than the cam­paign as a whole.

Run­ner-up to Hamil­ton in the over­all stand­ings in the last two years, he is not plan­ning to change it now that the ti­tle is within reach.

“The best rea­son­ing is that it’s ac­tu­ally work­ing quite well,” said Ros­berg. “So why change some­thing if it’s go­ing quite well?

“The ap­proach that I have at the mo­ment is just com­ing here, fo­cussing on the week­end and try­ing to get that win.”

Never has a driver who has won eight or more races in a sea­son gone on to lose the ti­tle.

Ros­berg also cur­rently ap­pears to have the psy­cho­log­i­cal edge over Hamil­ton, who cut a dis­tracted and with­drawn fig­ure in Suzuka.

But Ros­berg, who can equal Michael Schumacher and Se­bas­tian Vet­tel’s record of 13 wins in a sea­son if he tri­umphs at the re­main­ing races, knows how quickly for­tunes can turn.

Hamil­ton has not won since the Ger­man Grand Prix at the end of July while Ros­berg has won four of the five races since.

Nev­er­the­less, the Bri­ton had been on course to take back the over­all lead un­til his en­gine blew in Malaysia. – Reuters

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