Rosberg vows to stay bold in Monaco

Mercedes' Nico Rosberg can join Ayrton Senna as the only drivers to win the glamorous Monaco Grand Prix four consecutive times. Victory on Sunday would also extend his championship lead.
Mercedes' Nico Rosberg can join Ayrton Senna as the only drivers to win the glamorous Monaco Grand Prix four consecutive times. Victory on Sunday would also extend his championship lead.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Nico and Hamilton insist they have moved on from Barcelona clash, won't change ways

MONACO • Nico Rosberg has admitted that he was at fault in the Spanish Grand Prix, in which his first-lap crash with Lewis Hamilton took both Mercedes drivers out of the race.

But there was a note of defiance in his voice when, in the buildup to the Formula One race in Monaco on Sunday, he said: "I'm not going to be thinking about Barcelona. I'll take the same approach as always - flat out and do what's necessary to try to win this grand prix, which I've come here to do."

He fell short of admitting blame for the actual crash at the Circuit de Catalunya this month.

But he did concede that he made an error in not putting his engine in the right mode at the start of the race, a mistake which slowed him down so visibly coming out of Turn 3 that Hamilton felt he could overtake him on the inside.

As Hamilton attempted the move, Rosberg moved to the right and the British driver was pushed on to the grass and hit Rosberg as he spun.

Former drivers were split on who was to blame for the incident.

Speaking in Monaco on Wednesday, Rosberg said he failed to find the right setting for the engine when he was on the grid.

He said: "It was in the wrong position, and it was my job to put it in the right position - it's pretty simple. There is not much more to say."

Rosberg was curiously coy about whether he and Hamilton had spoken about the crash.

He said, a little sheepishly: "If we have spoken or not, that needs to be kept internally. But I can say between the two of us, it is in the past now. The relationship is the same as before, and going out on track I am not thinking about Barcelona."

Hamilton was happy to say that he and Rosberg had spoken: "We arrived very cool and chilled. And we spoke. All you need to know is that the respect is still there. We're going to keep racing, and everything is cool.

"We didn't talk through the incident. We don't need to. We know what happened. We were there. We experienced it. We know how we felt about it before."

Hamilton has won only once in Monaco, in his first championship year of 2008, while Rosberg has won on the last three occasions here. The stakes are high for both.

Hamilton, who topped the times ahead of Rosberg in yesterday's opening free practice, needs victory to clamber back into a world championship that is running away from him, with Rosberg 43 points ahead and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen in second place.

For Rosberg, who suffered a puncture yesterday after a metal manhole cover lifed out of place in the closing minutes of the opening free practice, there is history ahead.

Only Ayrton Senna took four consecutive victories at the most glamorous of all the F1 tracks.

How he achieves that fourth victory could be another triumph of aggression, similar to his dramatic move at the Circuit de Catalunya.

THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES, LONDON

MONACO GRAND PRIX

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 27, 2016, with the headline 'Rosberg vows to stay bold in Monaco'. Print Edition | Subscribe