Has Rosberg already lost the game?

15

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

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yoshif8tures

It would be unfortunate if Nico has lost the plot and becomes simply a number 2, but if Seb can be a genuine contender then I won’t mind really.
I Do think that Merc need to stop their drivers from having the same strategy, it’s just one less weapon in their first pockets to fight when they’re behind.

Joe W

He’s carrying himself like he’s resigned to being the quick-but-not-quite-quick-enough, solid and reliable number 2 driver.

jakobusvdl

I think that Mercedes have decided that that is his role, and the reason that he appears so dispirited is that he’s struggling with that. There certainly look to be decisions and behaviours, not least the salary difference, that make it clear that Mercedes have decided that Lewis is their No1 driver. You can imagine that that scenario will be screwing with his head, and probably affecting his performance. What do you guys reckon his choices are? Stay with Mercedes and accept being No2 (do a Massa) stay with Merc and fight being No2 (do a Webber), Look for a… Read more »

Adam Gates

There has been rumours that his wife is ill (not seriously) and suffering during her pregnancy, maybe that was his mind? Agree with the general consensus though he doesn’t look like the driver he was last year. He’s not carrying himself or have the swagger that we expect of him, it’s early days though one good weekend could turn it all round.

Negative Camber

I hope that isn’t the case. As a father myself, I know that would really have my head in a different space.

Adam Gates

Likewise, I have 3 daughters. It could certainly have an effect on your headspace.

Negative Camber

You’re a better man that I, I stopped at two daughters. :) Three weddings to pay for my friend. :)

Sam L.

Give the boy a ladder and a time to show up.

Peter Riva

I think the whole world of F1, driving on the other side of the planet, jet lag, parental issues, family issues, car issues (set-up), media attention, perhaps knowing that last year was a better chance than this year with Ferrari resurgent… hey, make a list. If you look at the world’s most sucessful drivers over time, they always put themselves and their testicular ambition to be No. 1 first. Nico like to drive and win, he wants to be excellent. But cutthroat ambition? Blind ambition? Never seen it. There are only Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton (when he’s not distracted with Daddy… Read more »

Jeff

I agree Peter. To me, achieving greatness, being the absolute best at a discipline or creating true innovation, requires a focus and dedication bordering on obsessive, and a certain ruthlessness in the belief one’s course brokers no argument. It can perceive and indeed be cruel and selfish, but what price greatness? The altruism can come after the success, like Senna’s radio message to Prost before that fateful race.

A generalization to be sure, but one which IMO rings very true with the vast majority, be it Malcom X, Jobs, or Alonso.

Shaolin

There’s definitely something going on, watch the podium ceremony and contrast Hamilton and Vettel, who were relaxed, happy, laughing and chatting, with Rosberg who looked annoyed, unhappy, and irritated.

I wondered if it is something to do with his expectations for the season ahead. With Vettel threatening to battle for the title it is unlikely that Mercedes will allow their drivers to openly battle like last year, and Hamilton has already established himself as Number 1.

runnah

He’s got the yips!

FerrariF1fan

Has Rosberg already lost the game? Yes. Next question.

mini696

The problem for Nico is if Ferrari have made it a two way race, he can’t rely on coming in second to stay close to Lewis.

StevenM

Has he lost the game? You have to IN the game in order to loose it. The only reason he was in the game at all last year was Lewis’s DNF in AUS