Rosberg laments poor start as title hopes fade

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Nico Rosberg was left frustrated after a poor start in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix cost him the chance to cut the gap to Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton at the top of the Formula 1 drivers’ championship.

Rosberg arrived at Suzuka trailing Hamilton by 41 points, but looked capable of cutting the gap to the Briton after claiming his second pole position of the season on Saturday.

However, a poor start from Rosberg allowed Hamilton to take the inside line at the first corner before squeezing his teammate on the exit and dropping him down to fourth place.

Rosberg managed to fight back through the race to pass Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel en route to finishing second, but admitted on the podium after the race that his title hopes are now fading.

“Lewis just got a better start, fair play, and then it was a good battle into turn one but in turn two he had the inside and just made it stick, so that was the end of it there,” Rosberg explained.

“Then it was great to fight back to second place, because fourth place would definitely not have been acceptable. Second was the best possible thing after that, so I was happy with the fight-back and great also for us as a team.

“[The championship] is going the wrong way, definitely. I had to win today, that was important but it didn’t work out. Just need to try to win next time out.”

Rosberg now trails Hamilton by 48 points at the top of the drivers’ championship, and with five races remaining is in need to a drastic turnaround in fortunes if he is to deny his teammate a third world title in 2015.