No pressure despite Hamilton surge, says Rosberg

Saturday, 23 July 2016 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: Nico Rosberg shrugged off his dwindling championship advantage ahead of Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix, saying he was not feeling the heat despite only holding a one-point lead over Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton.

“No, it’s not,” the German told reporters at the Untitled-1Hungaroring racetrack on Thursday when asked if it was fair to say he was feeling the pressure.

“Because, for me, I mean we can all agree on the fact that so far I’ve had the best season of all drivers. That’s the fact I’m focussing on.”

Rosberg was runner-up to world champion Hamilton in the previous two seasons and his advantage over the Briton this term has shrunk from 43 points since the Spanish Grand Prix in May.

“I don’t look at the big picture,” he said. “Because the best approach for me to win races is just to focus on the weekend at hand.”

Rosberg won the opening four races of the season but the momentum has since shifted Hamilton’s way.

The 31-year-old Englishman, hit by a spate of reliability issues early in the year, has triumphed in four of the last five races including the British Grand Prix where Rosberg was demoted a place for a breach of radio rules.

Hamilton now heads into Sunday’s race as favourite to seize the championship lead for the first time this year.

“It doesn’t really change the pressure scenario really but of course the feeling of being 43 points behind and one point behind, there’s a big difference for sure,” said Hamilton.

“Sometimes you have to wait for the waves to come. Sometimes you fall when you get up on that wave but when you catch it, it’s the greatest feeling.

“That’s very much how it is right now, I happen to be on top of the wave,” added Hamilton.


Vettel slams radio rules as ‘joke’

Reuters: Former world champion Sebastian Vettel has slammed Formula One’s decision to tighten radio rules, saying that drivers and teams should be free to say whatever they want to each other during a race.

“All the radio issues we’ve had, I think it’s a joke,” the Ferrari driver told reporters on Thursday during preparations for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

The governing International Automobile Federation’s (FIA) Formula One race director Charlie Whiting issued a “technical directive” to teams on Wednesday to clarify what they are allowed to tell their drivers over the radio.

According to the document, seen by Reuters, teams can inform a driver about concerns with their vehicle but “any message of this sort must include an irreversible instruction to enter the pits to rectify the problem or to retire the car”.

The fresh directive also underlined that the radio restrictions will not apply if a car is in the pitlane, whereas earlier they kicked in as soon as the vehicle left the garage.

The clarification came after Nico Rosberg, who had help from Mercedes in getting around gearbox gremlins at this month’s British Grand Prix, was found to be in breach of the rule barring teams from giving drivers assistance over the radio.

A week earlier Force India’s Sergio Perez crashed out on the last lap of the Austrian Grand Prix with brake problems because the team felt the rules prevented them from informing the Mexican of the issue.

German Vettel, 29, said curbing radio transmissions was the wrong way to go, given the technological complexity of modern-day cars, and called for the restrictions to be lifted.

“It’s not our mistake, as in the drivers, that the cars are so complicated these days that they need a big manual and a steering wheel full of buttons to operate it,” the four-times world champion said.

Triple world champion Lewis Hamilton, however, brushed off the change, saying it “doesn’t make any difference to me” while team mate Rosberg said he did not have an opinion on it.