F1 Singapore Grand Prix: Toto Wolff tips Nico Rosberg to bounce back from Monza error in Mercedes battle with Lewis Hamilton

Wolff backs the German to have the mental strength to return fire in the battle for the Drivers' Championship

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The Independent Online

Nico Rosberg has been backed to rebound from appearing to crack under the pressure of his Formula One title fight with Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

For the first time over the course of this intense season, Rosberg suggested that under his cool, calm exterior he is prone to making errors when under fire.

That was the case during the Italian Grand Prix earlier this month when Rosberg was twice forced to use the escape road through the first chicane at Monza.

The second occasion proved particularly costly as Rosberg had Hamilton breathing down his neck at the time, with the error handing the Briton the lead of the race, and ultimately the victory.

 

They were indiscretions that certainly caught Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff by surprise.

Wolff said: "Italy was a fantastic way to wrap up the European phase of the season after a tough few weekends at the preceding races.

"It was our first one-two finish since Austria and, realistically, the results in between had not matched the high standards we set ourselves as a team.

"To see both drivers on the top two steps was a thoroughly deserved reward for all the hard work put in by the people within the team.

"Lewis produced a fantastic drive to recover from a difficult start and take a well-earned win.

"For Nico, it was unusual to see a few mistakes when he is usually so consistent, but he has all the mental strength required to bounce back."

The spotlight will certainly be on Rosberg in more ways than one this weekend as he defends a 22-point lead going into the Singapore Grand Prix, and with just six races remaining.

Under the bright lights of the Marina Bay Street Circuit, as night racing returns to F1, Rosberg is at least taking a pragmatic approach to his situation.

"Even though it didn't work out quite the way I'd hoped, there were still plenty of positives to take away from Monza," said Rosberg.

"Again our car looked super quick compared to our rivals and hopefully we can carry that right through to the end of the season.

"Of course, I was disappointed to drop points to my team-mate in the championship battle, but I still have the lead and I'm determined to hold on to it."

As far as Hamilton is concerned, he knows he has no room for errors of his own if he is to continue reeling in Rosberg.

Hamilton said: "Since race one I have been 25 points down, so I've never been able to afford a crash.

"I've lost ground and then clawed it back at every race this year, so nothing changes for me. I can't afford to lose anything."

PA

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