Daniel Ricciardo believes that Nico Rosberg will claim his first Formula 1 drivers’ title in 2016 after re-taking the championship lead in Singapore last weekend.
Rosberg finished as runner-up in the drivers’ championship in 2014 and 2015 to Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, with poor runs in the second half of both years costing him.
The German enjoyed a 43-point lead over Hamilton after five races in 2016, only to slip 19 points behind come the summer break.
Rosberg has since rallied, winning all three races since then to move into an eight-point at the top of the standings.
Speaking to British broadcaster Sky Sports, Red Bull driver Ricciardo said that he did not expect Hamilton to lose his grip on the championship lead, before tipping Rosberg to win the title.
“When Lewis made up that deficit to Nico and came back it was like ‘OK, nobody’s going to touch Lewis,'” Ricciardo said.
“Nico’s come back… I’m going to throw a spanner in the works and say Rosberg [will win the title].”
Ricciardo also spoke about the awkward silences between Rosberg and Hamilton in the cool-down room after races, having been with the pair on the podium three times in the last four races.
“The best part is if you get on the podium with them two, in the room before we go out on the podium just after the race, you take the helmet off and it’s awkward for me because it’s just so silent,” Ricciardo said.
“I don’t like silence too much, so I’m like trying to either talk to myself or make conversation with them but they are just happy enjoying the awkward silence. It’s quite fun.”