26 July 2015
F1 Hungarian Grand Prix: 'Gutted' Rosberg left deflated by missed opportunity
Nico Rosberg trusts the stewards' assessment that Daniel Ricciardo was not at fault for the clash that scuppered his chance to close up the F1 title battle.
Nico Rosberg says he won't dwell on the missed opportunity to close the gap significantly on Lewis Hamilton in the Formula 1 title race after his late contact with Daniel Ricciardo left him with a puncture and an eighth place finish
On a day where Mercedes found itself up against a surprise challenge from Ferrari, Rosberg struggled to match both Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen initially, but the arrival of the safety with 20 laps remaining and the exit of Raikkonen would give him the chance to challenge Vettel for glory.
Furthermore, with Hamilton well down the order after an eventful afternoon of his own, Rosberg certainly stood to make in-roads into his rival's advantage – or even surpass him - regardless of whether he got the better of Vettel.
Nevertheless, German would come under pressure himself from a rapid Daniel Ricciardo in the closing stages too, a tussle that would come to a head with five laps remaining the Australian passed into turn one, only to run wide on the exit and allow Rosberg back ahead.
However, Rosberg's eagerness to get back online would see the pair make light contact, the Red Bull's front-wing shredding the Mercedes' tyre.
Leaving him with a puncture, though Rosberg was able to nurse his car to the pit-lane and rejoin, he wuld plummet to eighth by the chequered flag, behind his recovering team-mate Hamilton in sixth.
Despite this, Rosberg is refusing to point fingers at Ricciardo, trusting the assessment by the FIA that it was simply an unfortunate racing incident.
“I assumed it was my corner because I took the ideal line and he just went straight on because he braked very late, but he still had his front wing there and didn't back out of it. But the FIA decided no action so nobody has fault then, I guess.
“I am gutted about today. It was going very well, I was very pleased with the race until Lap 64 and after that just nowhere, and that's a real pity. Sport is really tough sometimes, to lose all those points, but it's the way it is.”
Having headed Hamilton for all but the final five laps, Rosberg heads into the summer break having slipped 21 points behind his title rival. Had he finished second, the gap would have been five points in Hamilton's favour.
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