Nico Rosberg says he cannot afford to become complacent following his third consecutive win of the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship season, saying Lewis Hamilton remains a formidable threat despite his poor run of form.
The German enjoyed another comfortable victory in the Chinese Grand Prix, his composed afternoon proving a stark contrast to that of Hamilton who, after starting last following an overnight engine change, became embroiled in a turn one skirmish for the third race in succession. He eventually finished seventh with a damaged car after five pit-stops.
It means Rosberg has established a healthy 36 point advantage over his Mercedes counterpart in the overall standings – the largest margin he has held over Hamilton -, while history shows the nine previous drivers to clinch the opening three races of the season have gone on to win the title.
However, when this was put to Rosberg, he simply responded 'they didn't have Lewis Hamilton as their team-mate.'
Indeed, Rosberg admits he is wary of Hamilton despite his set-backs and is not viewing his early margin as any kind of edge over the driver that has beaten him to the last two world titles.
“It's a fact that it's going to be a great battle against him as always,” he said. “He's at the top of his game as ever – fully concentrated, motivated and everything. That's it really. I'm focused on my thing and getting the job done to the best of my ability and that's working out well for me.
“It's a handful of races now and it's gone really well. It's the longest season in F1 history. Lewis Hamilton, my team-mate, double world champion, hard to beat in the previous two/three years. So it's going to be a great battle and I look forwards to it. Of course I have a little bit of an advantage now, which is good. Better that way than the other way. That's it really.”