Nico Rosberg continues to deny the extent of his F1 world championship points lead despite taking his fourth win from as many races in 2016.
The German was able to cruise to victory in the Russian Grand Prix after bolting away from a three-lap safety car period that followed a first lap incident which removed the potential threat of Sebastian Vettel. With Lewis Hamilton having to come from tenth on the grid after engine problems in qualifying, Rosberg enjoyed another easy afternoon.
Although the Briton got to within eight seconds of his team-mate in the latter stages, Rosberg insists that he was never concerned for his lead and, after Hamilton had had to back off with the occurrence of another powerplant issue, the German banged in a series of fastest laps for good measure.
“It was a great job from Lewis to come through to second so quickly from down in tenth, but I was always aware of what he was doing and trying to keep the gap as big as possible,” Rosberg claimed, “I knew the gap to Lewis and it was just through the traffic [that it really came down] - if I hit the traffic first, I'd lose a couple of seconds and, then, when he hit it, the lead built up again.
“I was feeling really comfortable today, especially at the end of the race, when I could open up the gas and push a little bit more because I knew it was safe to push and definitely get to the end of the race with those tyres. I was enjoying it out there, just flat-out to the end! It's been an awesome weekend, the car has been fantastic in both qualifying and the race today and it felt very special out there so I'm very, very happy.”
With his championship lead over Hamilton extended by another seven points, to 43 after only four races, Rosberg could be forgiven for eyeing a maiden title, but outwardly he refuses to concede that all he has to do is cruise through the remainder of the year.
“It's four races from 21 and Lewis is going to come back, of course – he's on it and as motivated as ever,” the German insisted, “It's still early days and I'm taking it race by race and just looking forward to Spain right now. We have such an incredible car which is really a pleasure to drive, so I still want to try and win races.”