As we discussed on our race review podcast for the Malaysian Grand Prix, It seems as if Nico Rosberg was in a bit of a daze over the weekend. He seemed out of sorts a little judging by his commentary to the press and even to the team over the radio.
The oddity was in asking the team for driving tips which he knows they cannot answer. I’m not sure if that was calculated or code or what but in the end, asking what lines the leader is taking is an odd question for a veteran such as Nico. He said:
“Because it was an unusual condition out there which we haven’t practised, I was just interested to hear what the guy who was first did in terms of lines and I didn’t know it was Lewis, so I just asked what lines was he doing,” said Rosberg afterwards. “Was he doing normal dry lines or more towards wet, but that information is banned, so I got a reply ‘Can’t tell you.”
It was wet during qualifying but that’s not the first rodeo Nico’s been to and he seemed rather dismissive of his performance and spent some time praising his teammate as a world champion.
On the outside looking in, it seems that Nico has lost the fight that he had last year when he beat his teammate comprehensively to pole position. The idea was that in the off season he would focus on how to convert those poles to wins but two races into the season and he seems to have lost the plot somewhat.
It’s not to say that Nico won’t find his footing and fight back but right now he seems slightly adrift of the goal. Clearly Lewis is driving incredibly well and one cannot discount just how difficult it is to match his current pace but Nico was much closer in 2014.
Has Nico allowed himself to be mentally beat or is Hamilton’s current pace just another notch above last year’s and out of reach of Nico’s? We have a long way to go yet, it’s early days, but in order to beat Lewis and stay ahead of Sebastian Vettel, Nico will need to shake the fog out of his head and get focused on the goal.
Hat Tip: James Allen