Nico Rosberg’s hopes of winning his first Formula 1 world championship in 2015 are all but over after a throttle issue forced him to retire from Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix.
Rosberg arrived in Sochi 48 points behind Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ championship, but gave himself a good shot at reducing the gap by scoring pole position on Saturday and retaining his lead at the start.
However, a throttle issue caused Rosberg to lose pace, dropping behind Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel as a result.
Mercedes gave the call to pit the car, and after crawling into his box, Rosberg retired from the race, all but ending his faint hopes of winning his first world championship in 2015.
Should Hamilton convert his inherited lead into a race win, he will have a 73-point lead over Rosberg heading to the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. If he outscores the German by two points at the Circuit of The Americas, he will be crowned world champion for a third time.
The result gives Sebastian Vettel the opportunity to move up to second place in the drivers’ championship, and also means that Mercedes is unlikely to win the constructors’ title this weekend.