SOCHI: Nico Rosberg had only himself to blame for a first-lap error at the Russian Grand Prix that allowed Mercedes teammate and championship leader Lewis Hamilton to romp to a fourth win in a row on Sunday.
"I just went completely wrong and I don't understand it," said the German, now 17 points adrift of the Briton with three races remaining in what amounts to a private duel between the two for the Formula One title.
"It was actually an easy situation. It's just the first time at this track, first time down there with 160kg [of fuel] in the tank. I just got it wrong completely."
The pair had lined up together on the front row, with Hamilton on pole position, for the inaugural race in Russia at the Sochi Olympic Park circuit. Rosberg got himself alongside Hamilton but then locked up as he braked, a puff of smoke highlighting the damage to the tyres before he went wide and outside the track limits.
When the team told him to hand back the place to the Briton, Rosberg informed them that he would have to pit instead.
"It was just a mistake on my side; I braked too late and that's it. Very unnecessary because it was my corner and I should have been in the lead after that. So, obviously very disappointed with that," he told reporters.
Despite his error in judgement, Rosberg said he was still happy for his team bagging the constructors’ title.
"Half of me of course is extremely disappointed that I messed up today [Sunday], but the other half, I'm really, really happy, because everybody in the team deserves it so much," he said.
Marussia team to regroup
The Marussia Formula One team are determined to defend Jules Bianchi's legacy once they have picked up the pieces and regrouped after a week from hell.
The British-based team withdrew the Frenchman's car from Sunday's inaugural Russian Grand Prix as a mark of respect for their critically injured driver but, with their ninth place in the championship at stake, they have decisions to make.
"We'll come up with a plan for the next race and through to the end of the season, and I'm sure the guys are up for it," sporting director Graeme Lowdon told reporters at the Sochi circuit.
"We make no comment as far as the driver line-up is concerned because we haven't had time to sit down properly and have a look at the all options," he added. "We've a little bit of a gap now, which seems like a luxurious one, so we'll use that time to work out what the best thing is. It's never straightforward, so we'll do whatever is right."
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