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Rosberg to Hamilton: 'Monaco is mine!'

2014-05-13 08:25


GAME ON: It's no secret that Mercedes' Nico Rosberg dislikes being second to team mate Lewis Hamilton so his home race in Monaco on May 25 2014 should be a scorcher. Image: AFP / Tom Gandolfini

BARCELONA, Spain - Mercedes will give Nico Rosberg every chance of turning the tables on team mate Lewis Hamilton in Monaco next week (May 22-25) after he lost out to the Briton for the fourth race in a row at the 2014 Spanish GP on Sunday.

Rosberg's fourth consecutive second place, after winning the Australian season-opener, left him three points behind Hamilton and, he said, "gutted" over the loss of the overall Formula 1 lead for the first time in 2014.

One more lap at the Circuit de Catalunya might have seen the German pass Hamilton, who took the chequered flag by only 0.6sec after being chased to the line but Rosberg was more concerned about the start than the finish.


Rosberg said of his getaway from second on the grid with Hamilton on pole: "It's a bit of a weakness ata the moment - just inconsistent - and now I've had a couple of bad starts in a row.  Actually, three bad starts in three races. And that's costly... need to work on that."

Qualifying and a quick start are even more crucial in Monaco, where overtaking is extremely tricky on the tight and twisting streets - particularly if the man in front is your team mate with the same equipment.

Mercedes head Toto Wolff, who again assured the fans that his drivers would be allowed to race freely, said the team wasa working hard to resolve Rosberg's problem.

"It seems to be a problem related to the clutch," Wolff told reporters. "That is a special project of ours. We expected some improvement for Barcelona which didn't kick in as expected and we just need to sort it out for Monaco because that's crucial there."


Rosberg won in Monaco in 2013 and the German knows every kink, kerb and corner of what amounts to a home race in the principality in which he grew up in as son of 1982 champion Keke.

"Lewis did a great job the whole weekend and was just that little bit ahead," he said on Sunday, "but there's a lot of positives for me to take out of it. I'm fully motivated to try to get that little bit extra and to edge him out next time - and it's doable."

Hamilton's faililng to finish in Australia cost the 2008 champion heavily. Consistency has been Rosberg's ace, with the pair still barely apart in the standings despite the Briton's four wins to the German's one.

With double points on offer for the final race in Abu Dhabi, a first that has not gone down well with fans who decry the change as a gimmick, there is everything to play for. Even if no driver has ever won four races in a row and not gone on to take the title that year, there is always a first time for everything.

While "gutted" to have finished second again Rosberg made it clear that he has the mental fortitude to battle against a rival he has known and raced against since they were teenage team mates in karts.

"Break me down mentally?," Rosberg scoffed. "I think he will struggle with that one. He has the momentum. There is no way round that. I have to try to break it."

Wolff, who introduced a sports psychologist to the team in April 2014, agreed Rosberg was completely focused. "We've seen in the past that you can win championships with three wins if you just keep scoring and I guess he knows that. He's such a competitive and tough personality who has no problems coping with that situation."

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