It may have been four weeks since his last outing at the wheel of Mercedes' W05 Hybrid, but Nico Rosberg is still smarting at having his F1 world championship lead trimmed by team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
A remarkable Hungarian Grand Prix not only saw Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo interrupt Mercedes' domination for the second time in 2014, but also witnessed Hamilton survive a pit-lane start and first corner spin to complete to podium, edging Rosberg into fourth place in the process. The event was also marked by the Briton's refusal to yield to team orders requesting he move over for Rosberg, who was on a different strategy at that point in the race.
The Mercedes duo's respective results allowed Hamilton to take three points from Rosberg's championship lead, cutting the gap between them to eleven with eight races remaining, but Rosberg is determined to make amends as the battle resumes in Belgium this weekend.
“It's good to be back after the break and to see everyone looking really refreshed and up for the fight in the remaining months of the season,” he claimed, “The last race didn't turn out how I had hoped after taking pole in tricky conditions the day before, but I still managed to come away with my championship lead intact and that's a good place to be heading into the next part of the year.
“Although we have had a great start, with plenty of good results, that race showed that the other teams are never too far away. In F1, you just can't afford to give away any advantage. The battle with Lewis has been so close all season - and it could well stay that way right up to the final race - so every last point will be crucial in that contest.”
Spa-Francorchamps rates highly among the drivers' favourite circuits, and Rosberg is no different to his rivals in looking forward to the Belgian round each year.
“It is definitely one of the most spectacular races of the year,” he confirmed, “The circuit is just unreal and one I think every driver looks forward to. It's where the special features of an F1 car really shine through, with all the fast, flowing corners and right-left combinations that come together to make a fantastically varied lap.
“Eau Rouge is, of course, the signature corner - and one of the most spectacular features of any track we go to. Even though we have much less downforce on the cars this year with the new regulations, it will still be taken flat out.
“[Spa] really is a very enjoyable circuit to drive and a big challenge too - especially as the weather is always all over the place – but my record there hasn't been as good as at some other circuits in the past, so I'm determined to change that and get the season kicked off again in style!”