Rosberg annoyed after poor start, settling for second at Spa

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Nico Rosberg made no secret of his annoyance after a poor start cost him the chance to fight for victory in Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix.

Starting second, Rosberg dropped down to fifth on the short run down to the first corner whilst Mercedes teammate and championship rival Lewis Hamilton led the field through the opening lap.

Although Rosberg was able to make his way back up to second over the first stint of the race, he trailed Hamilton by eight seconds before making his first pit stop.

The German driver did manage to catch Hamilton during the race, reducing the gap to as little as two seconds at points, but failed to put up any serious challenge to his teammate.

Speaking on the podium after the race, Rosberg explained how he felt annoyed with his poor start, but that Hamilton had been the quicker driver on Sunday.

“Yeah just completely messed up the start, so that was very annoying,” Rosberg said.

“Fought my way through, gave it absolutely everything, we were both on the edge all the way through. The car has been amazing so I’m really thankful to the team again for giving us such a car, it’s awesome to drive it.

“Lewis did a great job, he deserved to win. I tried to give it everything, but not enough.”

Rosberg now trails Hamilton by 28 points at the top of the drivers’ championship, but is now 39 clear of Sebastian Vettel in third place after the Ferrari driver suffered his first non-score of the season due to a late tire blowout.

Between now and the Italian Grand Prix in two weeks’ time, Rosberg is set to become a father for the first time as his wife, Vivian, is due to give birth in the next few days.

Hamilton: McLaren could help create four-team F1 title fight in 2018

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Lewis Hamilton says the Mercedes Formula 1 team cannot afford to let up in its push to improve ahead of a fiercer fight at the front of the field in 2018 – potentially including former team McLaren.

Hamilton clinched his fourth F1 drivers’ title in Mexico at the end of October as Mercedes continued its perfect record of championships since the introduction of the new V6 turbo hybrid engines in 2014.

The team faced a stiffer challenge in 2017 thanks to a resurgent Ferrari, while Red Bull also posed a threat towards the end of the season, setting the stage for another close fight next year.

Hamilton is expecting both Ferrari and Red Bull to remain a force at the front of the pack, but also feels McLaren could join the fight after ditching Honda in favor of a Renault engine supply for 2018.

“When I’m training and preparing for a new season, I firmly believe that we can be contenders for the next championship. It may turn out to be not possible, but you have to have that mindset,” Hamilton said.

“If you go in with expectations of finishing fifth, it’s not going to work. You’ve got to gear yourself up to win.

“Next year, McLaren will have Renault engines, then we may see four teams fighting for the championship. I think Red Bull will be quicker and Ferrari for sure will be fast again.

“We can’t stand still – we have to keep moving forwards.”

Hamilton started his F1 career with McLaren back in 2007, winning his maiden world title in 2008 before leaving the team for Mercedes at the end of the 2012 season.