Nico Rosberg may have four race wins from four under his belt, but the German is anything but complacent heading into this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Rosberg has turned the tables on his reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton in 2016, out gunning his Mercedes team-mate to take race wins in Australia, Bahrain, China and Russia.
Hamilton has had to settle for a pair of second-place finishes, a third podium place and a disappointing seventh in China. This run of results sees Rosberg head the Drivers’ Championship, with a 43-point buffer to the second-placed Hamilton. However, with the title race still in its infancy, Rosberg knows it would be foolish to write Hamilton off.
This is not the first time Rosberg has led the standings, with the former Williams driver losing out a closely-contested 2014 Championship to Hamilton. Speaking ahead of Sunday’s race in Barcelona, Rosberg has insisted that prior losses are far from his mind, and that he is focused on the task at hand – quelling the challenge of Hamilton and the remainder of the field.
“Not really, no, I don’t really thing about the past so much, I’m just in the now. It’s not hard to keep your feet on the ground, you just need to look at reality, Lewis is still the same Lewis as last two years, so just as quick and just as difficult to beat,” he told reporters. “There’s still a long, long way to go and it’s 41 points or whatever it is – there you go.”
The 30-year-old disagreed with the notion that Hamilton has lost focus following back-to-back World Championships in 2014 and 2015.
“That’s very easy, because I’m the one that sees it internally,” he said. “He’s as focused and as determined as ever so he will of course bounce back as he’s always done.”
When told he was in a good position to go on and win the Formula 1 title this season, Rosberg replied: “But you said that three years ago already! This is the third year in a row that I hear this. You are thinking of a life, you are asking me to think seven years down the road. I’m 30 now, still a young F1 age I would like to think. I don’t think that way.”
Meanwhile, the Mercedes driver admitted that he was enjoying his start to the season, but will continue to take it race by race.
“I’m in a great situation which I’m enjoying. I have an opportunity to win the races, winning is a massive thrill that I race for,” he said. “And up against some awesome drivers; up against Lewis, up against the red guys Kimi [Raikkonen] and [Sebastian] Vettel. It makes it all the more fun when I win races, especially in a straight battle.
“It wouldn’t be good for me to be thinking seven months down the road.. The best way for me to win Barcelona is to think about Barcelona. So I’ve been focusing on that — it’s come quite naturally because that’s the way I like to approach it, it’s the best approach for me and that’s what I’m doing.”