Rosberg has modest hopes despite Monaco GP win
MONACO (AP) — Even though he matched his father in winning the Monaco Grand Prix, Nico Rosberg believes he’s a long way from completing another father-and-son double by clinching the world title as well.
Rosberg kept his cool amid the chaos to win the crash-marred race on Sunday to give Mercedes its first victory of the season. The win also matched the feat of his father, Keke Rosberg, who won in Monaco in 1983 — a year after he won his only F1 title.
Nico Rosberg, though, is sixth in the overall standings and still 60 points behind leader Sebastian Vettel.
“I don’t want to talk about (the title) at all,” Rosberg said. “We should not get over-excited for the next couple of races. We still have a bit of an issue with our race pace, and also with the development race, everyone is pushing forward. So I am definitely not thinking of the championship, I am today just thinking about Monaco.”
He played down the emotional significance of matching his father’s achievement.
“It’s special, but honestly that’s not what I was thinking of when I was crossing the finish line,” Rosberg said.
Still, he did enjoy the occasion of winning only his second career GP in the place where he spent much of his childhood.
“This is the most special race for me to win, it was incredible, unreal. That is what is special about the sport,” Rosberg said. “When I was quite young watching this race, my first memory was Ayrton Senna with the yellow helmet in the red and white (car).”
Rosberg began from the pole position for the third straight GP, but had to re-start three times after the race was held up by a safety car, a red flag and the safety car again.
The German finished ahead of Vettel and his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber. Lewis Hamilton finished fourth.
The red flag came out with about 30 laps to go when Williams driver Pastor Maldonado was nudged into the wall by Marussia’s Max Chilton.
Earlier, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa crashed and the safety car came out a second time when Frenchman Romain Grosjean smashed his Lotus into Daniel Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso. Grosjean was handed a 10-grid penalty point for the Canadian GP in two weeks’ time.
After winning, the 27-year-old Rosberg danced on the top of his car before jumping off to hug team members.
Rosberg won his other race from pole at the China GP last year and his previous best result this season was fourth in Malaysia.
They were useful points for three-time defending champion Vettel, who extended his lead at the top of the standings to 21 points over Kimi Raikkonen and 29 over Fernando Alonso, who failed to repeat his Spanish GP win from two weeks ago and finished seventh.
Raikkonen finished 10th after being barged by McLaren’s Sergio Perez late on.
“I’m very happy and pleased with the result,” said Vettel, who started from third on the grid.
Crashes dominated as Monaco confirmed it is one of the most difficult tracks in F1.
Chilton lost control and moved across into Maldonado on his side, sending the Venezuelan off the wall and into the crash barriers. Chilton’s teammate Jules Bianchi was dragged into the crash but there were no injuries.
Massa, meanwhile, plowed into the wall and slid across the track in a carbon-copy of his crash in Saturday’s third practice. He was released from hospital after check-ups.
It was eventful off the track, too.
A little more than one hour before the race, Red Bull lodged a protest against Mercedes.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner demanded clarity as to why Mercedes was allowed to conduct in-season tire testing following the Spanish GP.
Rosberg refused to answer questions about the issue in the post-race news conference.
Early on, Frenchman Charles Pic’s race ended when he had to bank his Caterham onto the side of the track and quickly clamber out as flames started shooting up. He was unhurt.
Hamilton had just pitted for new tires on lap 30 when Massa crashed. As a result, when the safety car first came out, it affected Hamilton, who then dropped behind Vettel and Webber — last year’s winner — and into fourth place when the race re-started.
“I don’t put it down to bad luck,” said Hamilton, who is fourth overall and 45 points behind Vettel. “I wasn’t good enough.”