Rosberg the man to beat after Singapore Grand Prix
German driver clinches maiden win in Singapore to seize lead in drivers' championship
Nico Rosberg will be hoping that his first win in the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix turns out to be a good omen.
Seven times out of the last eight seasons, the drivers' championship leader after the Singapore Grand Prix has gone on to win the title at the end of the campaign.
The Mercedes driver's superb victory last night - in his landmark 200th Grand Prix race - saw him overtake teammate and closest rival Lewis Hamilton at the top of the championship table, putting him in pole position to clinch his maiden drivers' title.
He now leads Hamilton, who finished third yesterday, by eight points.
"Statistics like that are not something I focus on, it doesn't have any importance to me," Rosberg, 31, said, in response to The New Paper's question at the post-race press conference last night.
"Today I was happy to win the race. That's what I came here to do and now I will celebrate after this.
"I can't wait to get home, and the next stop is Malaysia. I am feeling good at the moment and having a good roll, so I will try to win Malaysia next."
Amid the drama of the opening lap, during which Force India's Nico Hulkenberg crashed out after clipping Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz, Rosberg fended off the challenge of Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo in second place and led comfortably for most of the race while managing his brakes to keep them from overheating.
"It's been an awesome weekend," said Rosberg, who became the first driver to win a Grand Prix here without having won a drivers' title first.
"Today, great start, I had a good car in the race.
"Of course, Daniel tried to pull one up on me with the pit-stop at the end there, but it worked out."
It wasn't smooth sailing all the way though, especially in the final stages of the race when Ricciardo started to pick up speed.
Ricciardo, on the faster supersoft tyres in the last 13 laps, was gaining between one and two seconds per lap on Rosberg, who was on soft tyres, but the Silver Arrows pilot held on to beat the Australian by 0.488 seconds to the chequered flag.
Rosberg said: "After the (last) pit stop the team said that he would be with me at the end of the race, which was the case, so for sure I had to be on it, get everything right, nail all those laps.
"It really worked out at the end, the tyres lasted just right so I am very happy of course.
"At the time I started the last lap I knew that it would be enough (for me to win) because Daniel's tyres weren't as fresh anymore."
Rosberg's maiden win here was also his third on the trot, after Spa and Monza, and it was especially sweet after the troubles he and Hamilton faced in the same race last year.
Back then, both Mercedes drivers had problems the entire weekend, with Rosberg finishing fourth and Hamilton retiring midway through that race.
Rosberg said: "It is just awesome to win in Singapore, it is my first time and I don't have the best memories here since the track hadn't treated me well in the past."
The German added: "It really shows that we not only have the best car, but also we have the most competent group of engineers to extract the potential from the best car from every weekend.
"Last year we were absolutely nowhere here, we got destroyed by the Red Bulls and Ferraris, and we understood what we did wrong.
"We came back this year and beat them on their strongest track. So that's really awesome to see that."
Rosberg sits at the top of the driver standings with 273 points, followed by Hamilton on 265 and Ricciardo on 179.
It really shows that not only do we have the best car but we also have the most competent group of engineers to extract the potential from the best car.
— Nico Rosberg