THE NEXT F1 CHAMP? Nico Rosberg is tipped by many F1 observers to be the next champion. Image: AP / Yong Teck Lim
Singapore - The Formula 1 paddock is musing the possibility that Nico Rosberg will be crowned the sport's next world champion.
His team mate Lewis Hamilton has won the last two titles, but it is the sister Mercedes driven by Rosberg that has won three grands prix on the trot.
After dominating in Singapore (September 16-18), La Gazzetta dello Sport summarised it by writing: "Quiet, balanced and optimistic. Rosberg's exceptional character is perfect for the duel against Hamilton."
Hamilton in trouble?
France's L'Equipe agreed that Hamilton has been "a shadow of himself" at recent races.
Italy's Corriere della Sera added: "Rosberg is at his best, while Hamilton is sinking in crisis."
And plenty of other observers also think Rosberg recapturing the world championship lead in Singapore may have been a turning point.
READ: 2016 Singapore GP - 5 awesome race moments
F1 legend Sir Jackie Stewart told the Swiss newspaper Blick: "Since Spa, Rosberg looks fresher and more stable than Hamilton. I can see him (Rosberg) being the new world champion."
The German newspaper Bild agreed: "Since four weeks of partying in the summer break, Hamilton has won no more races."
On Italian radio Rai, former Renault chief Flavio Briatore said: "Rosberg seems to have put his head in the right place. Hamilton has great talent, but he is a bit 'rapper' too and if you want to win you have to concentrate on that. "If I were him, I would look a little less at music and a little more at F1."
Rosberg a different driver
And former F1 driver Robert Doornbos told Ziggo Sport Totaal: "I don't know what Rosberg did in the summer, but he must have found something in himself. He may have slightly less raw talent than Hamilton, but he fills that gap with hard work."
READ: 2016 Singapore GP - Rosberg holds off Ricciardo to seize F1 lead
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, however, said the recent trend should not be overstated.
Wolff said: "We tend to talk one up and the other one down. I remember talking about Lewis' momentum a few weeks ago and suddenly we have this mega Nico weekend. We will see if it stays the same in Malaysia."