Fast start and penalty gives Rosberg an edge
NICO Rosberg believes he has overcome his 2014 shortcomings after reeling off three wins in four Formula One races to close within 10 points of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
After winning yesterday’s Austrian Grand Prix, the German said he felt happy with the way in which he managed the race and found the speed to hold off the series leader and defending world champion. “I had a good start and then good pace in the race,” said Rosberg.
“That is what I’m most happy about. I think I have found what I needed last year in terms of the races and that’s what is really working out for me this year.”
Rosberg won the race thanks to his start, race pace management and a crucial five-seconds penalty for Hamilton that gave him a psychological cushion.
Hamilton started from the 45th pole of his career, but was beaten off the line and into the first corner.
For Rosberg, the greatest satisfaction came from holding his lead and winning against the two-time champion.
“It has been a great day for me and it worked out well,” he said.
“I worked very closely on the clutch setting with my engineer, for the start, and that was just perfect and then I defended in the next two or three corners.
“After that, I was very happy with my race pace. When I heard about Lewis’ five-seconds penalty, I knew that helped. It made it a bit easier for me. I knew I had it in the bag with those five seconds.” Last year, Rosberg took 11 pole positions to Hamilton’s seven, but did not translate that into a championship win.
This season, Hamilton won three of the opening four races, but Rosberg responded with three of the past four to cut the Briton’s advantage to 10 points — 169 to 159.
Fernando Alonso meanwhile admitted he was scared and then relieved when he collided with Kimi Raikkonen on the opening lap.
The two-time champion, in his McLaren, said he could not avoid hitting the Finn’s Ferrari as he approached him nearing the high-speed second corner.
“It was a very strange incident because he lost the car in fifth gear or something like that,” said Alonso. “Obviously, it was quite scary for me.
“The car was moving left, right, left, right, with a lot of wheel spin.
“We were overtaking him left and right — all the cars — and then he lost the car on the left, and I was on the left at that point, and we crashed.’’