”Rosberg not the favourite”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff insists Nico Rosberg is not the favourite to claim the 2016 F1 Drivers’ Championship, believing teammate Lewis Hamilton can still close the gap.

Rosberg has made a storming start to the season, winning all three races including last Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix to open up a 36-point gap over three-time World Champion Hamilton.

Asked if Rosberg was the favourite, he replied: “No. It is just three out of 21, so statistically there is so much more to come that you can’t speak about any favourite.

“At this stage of the season it’s about collecting points without looking at the championship.”

The expansion of the championship to a record 21 races this season has undoubtedly helped Hamilton’s case to win a third consecutive title, after making a slow start this time around.

Wolff says he understands Hamilton’s frustration, but believes that he will get over this setback and we will see his old self sooner rather than later.

“Lewis has every reason to be upset about the result. He wouldn’t be a three-time world champion if that didn’t upset him, but I have no doubt he will make a quick recovery.

“The gap is substantial but it is very early days. He is mentally very strong so I have no doubt that it will be close at the end.”

Despite Wolff’s claims, the bookies have still made Rosberg the favourite for the drivers’ title, currently priced at 4/6, whilst Brit Hamilton is 11/8.

In what has been a tremendous start to the season for 30-year-old Rosberg, he has become only the fourth driver in F1 history to win six consecutive races, after winning the final three races of 2015 – after Hamilton had wrapped up the title.

Reigning champion Hamilton will feel in a more upbeat mood heading into the next race, hosted in Russia, and will hope to maintain his 100% record at the Sochi Autodrom having won there in 2014 and 2015.

 
 

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