MANAMA: Nico Rosberg compared himself to English Premier League leaders Leicester City on Thursday (Friday in Manila) when asked to reflect on his winning start to the Formula One season.
The 30-year-old German, who beat his Mercedes team-mate and defending three time world champion Lewis Hamilton in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, said he wanted to be a dark horse in the title race.
“Maybe I can be like Leicester City, not one of the main favorites, but win and then, well, just go,” the soccer-loving driver laughed. “I have made a good start.”
Rosberg added that he relished a chance to win again in this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix where, he said, “there is always a good chance to overtake.”
“It is not done or dusted if I don’t get the start right,” he told Sky Sports News. “I can win if I am not in front because you can always overtake.”
Earlier, Rosberg dismissed the statistical boost he gained by winning his fourth successive race and said he is prepared for another close scrap with Hamilton.
Rosberg, who took advantage of a poor start from pole position by the defending champion in the season-opening race, said he felt satisfied with his efforts in Melbourne.
But he added he did not consider last year’s results to have any relevance to this season – and was looking ahead not backwards.
“It was a very important win for me – a good way to start the season,” he said. “Four wins? That may be nice, statistically, but I’m not thinking much about last year — except that it gave me a positive mood going to Melbourne.”
“Now, I’m here,” Rosberg said. “Another race, another weekend. It was very important to start the new season with a win so, so far, perfect job!”
His confidence was not dented, he suggested, by Hamilton’s return to form in practice and qualifying in Melbourne where the Englishman claimed his 50th pole position.
Hamilton, however, said he too felt confident.
“I have a good feeling about my pace,” he said. “I was ahead all weekend, until the race started, last time out, so I’m confident of course for Bahrain.”
Rosberg added that he recognized the increased threat from Ferrari.
“I enjoy the fight with Lewis and with Ferrari,” Rosberg said.
“We [Mercedes] still have some lead, but Sebastian [Vettel] is quite close to us now,” he added.
Changes to F1
Meanwhile, Rosberg also said that he and all the drivers on the grid want changes made to the administration and decision-making processes in the sport.
He said an open letter from the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association that called for changes was “from the whole grid – all of the drivers.”
The drivers’ letter had declared that F1’s current decision-making process – that led to the fiasco of a switch to a much-criticized new format for qualifying in Melbourne – was unfit for purpose.
Rosberg told reporters that the Melbourne fiasco of qualifying was typical of the problem.
“Yes this is a good example because we all agreed to abandon that system and go back to the qualifying that worked before,” he said. “All the teams and all the drivers agreed on this, but then one two other people disagreed and so we can’t make the changes.”
“That is the system and it needs to be looked at and improved because it is no good for anyone that we are just sitting in the garage – not good for us, the sport or the viewers,” Rosberg added.