Lucky Ros­berg tar­gets Mex­ico win

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

AUSTIN — Nico Ros­berg will be aim­ing for noth­ing less than an out­right vic­tory against his Mercedes team­mate Lewis Hamil­ton when they take their world ti­tle duel to Mex­ico next week­end.

In the wake of Hamil­ton’s dom­i­nant vic­tory at the United States Grand Prix on Sun­day, the cham­pi­onship lead­ing Ger­man ad­mit­ted he was dis­ap­pointed to fin­ish only sec­ond and owed that re­sult to a Vir­tual Safety Car (VSC) in­ter­ven­tion when he was run­ning third.

“It was a help for me, for sure,” he said. “I wanted to win, but I am glad to limit the dam­age too — but I will be trying to go for a vic­tory in Mex­ico. I really want to go there and win.”

Ros­berg ac­knowl­edged that the VSC, de­ployed when Dutch teenager Max Ver­stap­pen re­tired with a gear­box fail­ure and parked his Red Bull by the side of the track at the Cir­cuit of the Amer­i­cas, played a key part in him fin­ish­ing sec­ond and not third.

It en­abled him to take a 'free' pit stop that changed the shape of the race and wrecked Ver­stap­pen’s Red Bull team­mate Aus­tralian Daniel Ric­cia­rdo’s hopes of fin­ish­ing sec­ond be­hind Hamil­ton.

By fin­ish­ing sec­ond, Ros­berg lost seven points to de­fend­ing three-time cham­pion Hamil­ton rather than 10 if he had been third — a key fac­tor in the cham­pi­onship as it means his lead was trimmed to 26 points with three races re­main­ing in­stead of 23. A race vic­tory is worth 25 points. Ros­berg can take the ti­tle with a vic­tory in Mex­ico if the Bri­ton fails to score by in­creas­ing his lead to 51 points with two races to go — a sce­nario that was

im­pos­si­ble if he fin­ished third.

“It is all part of the strat­egy in a race,” said Ros­berg. “When you go long (in a stint), you know there is a small chance of be­ing able to ben­e­fit from those sce­nar­ios, as well as be­ing able to give it a run at the end of the race.

“It is part of the game. It came at the right mo­ment for me, for sure.”

Hamil­ton’s first win in six races kept his chal­lenge alive, but he knows that Ros­berg can take the ti­tle by fin­ish­ing sec­ond be­hind him if he wins all three re­main­ing races.

Ros­berg, how­ever, had no in­ten­tion of tak­ing a con­ser­va­tive route to his maiden cham­pi­onship win.

“No, I don't see it like that,” he said, when asked if he felt that fin­ish­ing sec­ond on Sun­day was 'mis­sion ac­com­plished'. “I wanted to win the US Grand Prix and it didn’t work out.

“So, I’m not ec­static, of course, but Lewis did a great job this week­end. It was his week­end.

“I was push­ing like mad to try and close up and put slight pres­sure in some way on him, but it wasn’t enough.”

He added: “When I get to the next race in Mex­ico, I’m just go­ing to go for the win be­cause I’d love to get the win there.”

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff ad­mit­ted Ros­berg was lucky to take sec­ond thanks to the VSC.

“I think it would have been a very dif­fer­ent re­sult with­out that,” he said.

“We had the pace, but we were very for­tu­nate when the VSC came out. We haven’t been very lucky in the last few race so we will take that.” That most of Mercedes’ bad luck has been had by Hamil­ton with a se­ries of en­gine fail­ures and poor starts was not high­lighted by Wolff who added that he ex­pects Red Bull to be a threat in the final races.

“They have done a good job and they have closed up to us and they were very strong on Fri­day. It is go­ing to be very dif­fi­cult in the last three races.”— AFP

Nico Ros­berg

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