Nico Rosberg makes big prediction ahead of Belgian Grand Prix

Jamie Woodhouse
Nico Rosberg attends a green event. Berlin June 2022.

2016 World Champion Nico Rosberg attends an environmental event.

If Red Bull are expecting a smooth ride to ending part one of the F1 2023 season undefeated, then 2016 World Champion Nico Rosberg warns they should be wary of McLaren and Ferrari.

Max Verstappen recorded his biggest margin of victory yet this season last time out at the Hungarian Grand Prix, crossing the line almost 34 seconds up the road from McLaren’s Lando Norris.

McLaren’s long-standing record of consecutive F1 victories fell as a result to Red Bull as Verstappen gave them their 12th in a row.

Nico Rosberg tips Ferrari and McLaren for potential surprise

Next up is Spa-Francorchamps for the Belgian Grand Prix, a race which Verstappen won last season with a margin of 18 seconds despite starting P14 on the grid.

Rosberg though suspects the resurgent McLaren, who have emerged as the new ‘best of the rest’ in their upgraded MCL60, are a team to watch at Spa, while Ferrari this time could be the dark horse in qualifying after Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton pipped Verstappen to pole in Hungary.

Put to him on the Sky F1 podcast that it is hard to look past another dominant Red Bull win in Belgium, Rosberg replied: “Yeah, probably. But at the same time, there can be surprises in Belgium, we’ve always seen that there can be real surprises.

“And probably the team that has a chance to surprise will be McLaren, maybe someone like Ferrari in qualifying.

“Mercedes I don’t see at all because they have no straight-line speed, or very little for now.

“And then Aston, I think are a little bit on the backfoot. But I would put it to McLaren to do a big surprise.” recommends

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Nico Rosberg feels McLaren will struggle to secure P2 spot

With Norris having recorded back-to-back P2 finishes at Silverstone and the Hungaroring, while Oscar Piastri can count himself a little unlucky to be absent from the podium at both races, McLaren are a team now very much on the rise when it comes to their points tally.

But, on 87 points compared to Mercedes’ 223, Rosberg cannot foresee McLaren catching Mercedes for P2 in the Constructors’ Championship with 11 rounds remaining.

“Yeah, that’s not going to work out, but they’re going to catch up rapidly,” said Rosberg on the prospect of McLaren reeling in Mercedes.

“But when McLaren finish second and third, Mercedes is going to finish fourth and fifth, so it’s going to be difficult to make up that huge difference.

“But what’s the next one there? I mean, there’s Aston and Ferrari. I don’t know if they can catch one of those maybe, but even they are pretty far up the road aren’t they?

“Maybe Aston, because at the moment they only have one driver who is really getting bigger points, even though the last race they both didn’t get many points. Perhaps they can catch Aston.”

Ferrari are the closest target for McLaren, yet still 80 points ahead, while Aston Martin are 97 points up the road.

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