Formula One: Rosberg blocking off bad thoughts as he closes in on title

Nico Rosberg in the garage during practice for the United States Formula One Grand Prix.
Nico Rosberg in the garage during practice for the United States Formula One Grand Prix.PHOTO: AFP

AUSTIN (Texas) • Nico Rosberg closed his ears to negative thoughts and title talk on Thursday, even after Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton said he would "take it like a man" if he lost his Formula One championship title to the German.

The overall leader refused to rise to the bait when asked whether he would see it the same way if triple champion Hamilton, now 33 points behind with four races remaining, turned things around and beat him.

"I haven't thought of that because I am planning to go for more race wins at the moment and that's it," Rosberg told reporters at the US Grand Prix news conference.

"And definitely such negative thoughts I will fully avoid. There's no point, that's not going to make me faster this weekend to think how am I going to feel if I lose."

Rosberg has won nine races this season, to Hamilton's six, and has been repeating a mantra of taking each race as it comes without thinking of any bigger picture.

He needs no reminding of how close he is to becoming only the second son of a world champion to take the title, after Britain's 1996 winner Damon Hill, but he is also determined to take one step at a time.

"It's business as usual this weekend," he said on his return to the track where last year he made a mistake while leading and handed victory and the title to Hamilton.

"Why lose energy and think about something that's still miles away and can or cannot happen?"

Rosberg needs to only finish second in every remaining race to secure the title but he banished that thought from his mind as well.

"I definitely don't put any thought into that at all," he said.

"I'm going for the win here this weekend, I'm not trying to bring home any second places. "

At the news conference, Hamilton said that he would "take it like a man" because he cannot possibly win them all.

"I am still in a position with the points available. Anything is possible. I will then move on once it is decided - all I can do is shape the future, which is next year," he said. "Life moves on and next season I will come back stronger."

The Briton also confirmed with a smile that he had enjoyed the chance to be the first F1 driver to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the American chat show.

"I was very fortunate," he said. "I love being in the States, it is a good opportunity for me to reach a new audience who perhaps hadn't heard of F1."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

F1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX

Practice 3 & qualifying Singtel TV Ch115 & StarHub Ch209, 10.55pm & tomorrow, 1.45am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 22, 2016, with the headline 'Rosberg blocking off bad thoughts as he closes in on title'. Print Edition | Subscribe