Nico Rosberg must start converting pole starts into grand prix wins starting with Mexico

Nico Rosberg’s qualifying form renaissance continued as he took pole position for the Mexican Grand Prix, his fourth successive pole. The challenge now is to convert it into a race win in Sunday’s 71-lap race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez track.

Nico Rosberg of Germany drove his Mercedes-GP car to a fourth-straight pole. He needs to start converting those to wins.   Lars Baron / Getty Images
Powered by automated translation

Nico Rosberg’s qualifying form renaissance continued on Saturday as he took pole position for the Mexican Grand Prix.

It was the Mercedes-GP driver’s fourth successive pole, and the challenge now is to convert it into a race win in Sunday’s 71-lap race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez track.

The German has not won in eight races, a barren spell that stretches back to Austria in June.

He is now racing for second place in the drivers’ championship after teammate Lewis Hamilton sealed the title with victory in the United States last weekend.

Rosberg also trails Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by four points and a triumph today would move him back to second,but he will have to improve on his recent spate of poor starts to races to do that.

In both Japan and the US Rosberg was overtaken at Turn 1 by Hamilton, who starts alongside him again today. In Russia, although he held onto the lead, he was slow away and was fortunate to do so.

Vettel lines up third, ahead of the two Red Bull Racing cars of Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo next, while the surprise of the day was Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen qualifying only 15th after a spin in the second part of qualifying.

Hamilton, reflecting on becoming a triple world champion, has revealed he will finish his career with Mercedes and not race for another team in his F1 career.

The Briton, who has been in F1 since 2007 when he debuted with McLaren, has been with Mercedes since 2013 and signed a new deal with the German marque.

“I imagine beyond this three-year deal there could be one more contract of three or four years and that would be it for me,” Hamilton said.

“There was always that talk of driving another car and I have done that. Ticked that box off. I honestly can’t see myself anywhere else.

“In three-and-a-half to four years time you don’t know where we are going to be. I don’t like to say never, but I think it would be pretty awesome to finish my career with this team.

“That would be amazing.”

Hamilton, who has often been linked with a move to Ferrari, appeared to pour scorn on driving for the famous Italian team in the future.

“When you finish at Mercedes you are part of the family forever,” he said. “When you finish at Ferrari you are not. Ferrari is bigger than everyone.

“Michael Schumacher is still a part of Mercedes even though he was only here for a couple of years. Sir Stirling Moss, too.

“It is like a lifetime bond you have with them. If you move you break that a little bit.”

Hamilton also said he has no plans to stay in F1 just for the sake of it, saying it would be unfair that his best days are behind him to block the next generation of drivers getting their opportunity.

“I have earned my time here, so it is not like I am going to get to 37, 38 and feel like I have not earned it,” he said.

“I could stay here because I am driving well, but I just feel there is a point in which I have done my piece here, I’ve done 15 years in the sport so I am going to let someone else come in.”

It has also been confirmed that Esteban Gutierrez is to return to the series for 2016 after being confirmed as the second driver for the new Haas team, who will be entering F1 next year.

The Mexican raced in Sauber in 2013 and 2014, but was dropped for this season by the Swiss team.

He remained involved in F1 as Ferrari’s reserve driver this year, and will now get another chance in F1 next year with the American team, who are being powered by Ferrari engines.

He will partner Romain Grosjean and said: “This is an excellent opportunity that builds on my time with Ferrari and I will make the most of it,” said Gutierrez.

“To have a race seat in a competitive car with Ferrari power is very special, and I appreciate the faith he has in me.

“I trust we’ll be able to achieve great things together.”

* With agency

Follow us on twitter at @NatSportUAE