Nico Rosberg saw the gap to Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton at the top of the drivers’ championship grow to 53 points after he retired from the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday.
Rosberg started the race on the back foot after being forced into downgrading his power unit on Saturday due to a problem, leaving him fourth on the grid.
A poor getaway left the German in sixth at the end of lap one, but he managed to fight back to run third in the closing stages of the race, closing in on Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in second.
However, with three laps to go, Rosberg’s seven-race-old engine failed, spewing smoke as the car was parked at the side of the track at the Roggia chicane.
“It was just too many kilometers I guess in the end on that engine,” Rosberg told NBCSN after the race.
“[It’s] so disappointing though that it blows up like two or three laps from the end, just when I was having a good chance to attack Vetel also. I could have given it a good go against him. The whole weekend has gone pear-shaped.”
The issue with Rosberg’s upgraded power unit was eventually defined as a leak on the cooling system, but he had no regrets over Mercedes’ decision to try and introduce it early.
“Now it turns out that actually it had nothing to do with the engine,” Rosberg said of his Saturday failure. “It was a chassis component which we’ve had on the car a long long time.
“We really don’t understand how that went wrong and why that broke, so that needs further investigation. In hindsight, no it was perfectly okay to put the engine in.”