Nico Rosberg has been forced to repeat his mantra about not giving up on the F1 world championship for much of the 2015 season, but insists that he heads to this weekend's Russian Grand Prix with the fight within him undimmed after a fightback at Suzuka.
The German qualified on pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix, but was muscled out of lead by Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton as the field rounded turn two on the opening lap and was forced to battle his way back from fourth place before rejoining the Briton on the podium.
Although he conceded another seven points in the title race, Rosberg – who lies 48 points adrift of Hamilton with five rounds remaining – maintains that he is not out of the running and brings a lot of confidence from his Suzuka showing.
“Once I got back from Japan, I was able to focus on the positive elements from my weekend: pole position, the on-track pass on [Valtteri] Bottas and then having the speed to undercut [Sebastian] Vettel's Ferrari at the second pit-stop,” he claimed, “I'm not backing down in my fight for the championship and gaining those positions back fair and square showed that.
“We have five races to go and, although the championship gap to Lewis is quite big, in my mind it's definitely not over yet. The way the whole team has performed this year - from the factories to the garage - has been just incredible and I have the car I need to get back to the top step.”
Rosberg has three wins so far in 2015, but has not graced the top step of the podium since Austria in June. However, as well as his Suzuka showing, the German can also take confidence from an even bigger recovery drive in last year's inaugural Russian Grand Prix, where a first corner error left him fighting back from the back of the field.
“I really enjoyed our first trip to Russia last year, and it was an awesome weekend for the team - one that I will always remember after seeing all the hard work they've put in during my time here,” Rosberg said, preferring to focus on Mercedes wrapping up the 2014 constructors' title, “Now I'm aiming to put all those tools they've given me to good use and bring home another top result.”