- Title: Rosberg enjoying "special" season with Mercedes
- Date: 11th October 2016
- Summary: PHOTOGRAPH ON WALL OF HAMILTON CELEBRATING HIS FIRST WORLD TITLE WITH MERCEDES
- Embargoed: 26th October 2016 15:51
- Keywords: F1 Formula 1 Mercedes Lewis Hamilton Nico Rosberg constructor
- Location: BRIXWORTH, ENGLAND, UK
- City: BRIXWORTH, ENGLAND, UK
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Motor Racing,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA00253K8SVZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton celebrated Mercedes winning a third consecutive F1 Constructors' Championship on Tuesday (October 11) when they met staff at the Formula One team's High Performance Powertrains centre in Brixworth, UK.
Rosberg won the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday (October 10) to extend his lead over team mate Hamilton by 33 points and close in on a maiden world championship title.
Along with Mercedes Head of Motorsport Toto Wolff and chairman Niki Lauda, Rosberg and Hamilton paid tribute to the 500 staff at the facility who develop the cars' power units.
Rosberg, who joined Mercedes for the start of the 2010 season, said he was enjoying a "special" season with the team, but refused to get carried away by thoughts of celebrating that title triumph at the end of the season.
Suzuka was Rosberg's ninth win of the year and with four races to go the German said he was just focussed on next week's U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.
Such is Rosberg's margin that the 31-year-old can take the title without needing to win another race.
"It's been a great season so far. Really happy to be able to win so many races and yes, today is a special day to share the success and celebrations with everybody else who's here; phenomenal job that everybody has done, you know, I mean incredible; a third time constructors' world champions, best engine in F1 for the last three years, best car in F1, it's really impressive," Rosberg told Reuters.
"It's a special feeling. I'm very, very proud and I just said to all them (Mercedes staff) actually that it makes such a difference; it makes it even more exciting and enjoyable my sport for me because I go into a race track now I know that I can get pole and win the race wherever we go, you know, and it's a great feeling.
"It's going to be an exciting end to the season for sure. The battle with Lewis, as always, it's always tough against him and for me it's just about now looking at Austin and I want to try and win that race and that's it."
Rosberg's comments are in keeping with the approach the German has adopted this year, focussing on each race as it comes rather than the campaign as a whole.
Never has a driver who has won eight or more races in a season gone on to lose the title.
Rosberg also currently appears to have the psychological edge over Hamilton, who cut a distracted and withdrawn figure in Suzuka.
But the German, who can equal compatriots Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel's record of 13 wins in a season if he triumphs at the remaining races, knows how quickly fortunes can turn.
Hamilton has not won since the German Grand Prix at the end of July, while Rosberg has won four of the five races since.
Nevertheless, the Briton had been on course to take back the overall lead until his engine blew in Malaysia.
Hamilton struggled in Japan before recovering to third and has also hit out at some of the media for being "disrespectful" after he was shown using his 'phone during a pre-race news conference.
On Tuesday, Hamilton wouldn't talk about that, only saying that he was pleased to celebrate the constructors title with the Mercedes staff and he is now focussed on Austin.
"All the races I've won, all the championships I've won, have been powered by all these guys, so it's an amazing part, to be a part of this team; I'm very, very proud and to be here to celebrate when the weather is good here in England is very rare. It's just remarkable what they've done," Hamilton said.
"Just looking forward. We've still got four races to go. I've got an incredible amount of support and we want to finish off strongly for all these guys here and for the guys back at Brackley (headquarters) who have been working so hard all these years and that's the goal."
Wolff said Rosberg's lead was not insurmountable and backed Hamilton to recover from a "difficult" period.
Earlier this season, Hamilton converted a 43-point deficit on the German into a 19-point advantage with a streak of six wins from seven races.
"He wouldn't be a three-time world champion if he wouldn't be able to dive through the difficult phases and this is what's happening right now. I'm sure he's going to recover. We have 10 days until Austin to properly regroup," Wolff said.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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