Nico Rosberg insists that he always expected to have a race or two where the Mercedes misfortune switched to his side of the garage, but hopes that his seventh place in the Monaco Grand Prix is the nadir of his season.
The German struggled throughout the Monaco race – which he had won for three years straight prior to 2016 – and suffered the ignominy of having to let Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton pass him even before he was overtaken on the run to the flag by countryman Nico Hulkenberg.
Team orders were necessary for Hamilton to take the fight to Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, and ultimately proved successful as a sterling drive combined with a botched RBR pit-stop to return Mercedes to the top step of the podium, but Rosberg's slide to seventh also allowed the Briton to hack into what had been a 43-point championship lead. Prior to that, Hamilton appeared to be the misfortune magnet at Mercedes, with no wins in the first five races, which culminated in a coming-together with Rosberg at the start of the Spanish Grand Prix.
The gap between the pair is now 24 points heading to this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix, a race that Hamilton has shown an affinity for in the past, but Rosberg is keen to bounce back after a couple of poor results.
“I expected - and prepared myself - for some difficult races after the awesome start to the season but, in the last grand prix I hopefully got all of my bad luck out of the way in one race,” the championship leader commented, “Hopefully, it's onwards and upwards again from now, but it will be interesting to see where Red Bull are this time. We are hoping to get a little bit ahead of them again, so let's see.”
Mercedes' technical chief, Paddy Lowe, confirmed that there has been much investigation into the tyre and brake problems that bedevilled Rosberg during the Monaco race, and is optimistic that there will be no repeat in Canada, although the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve could pose its own unique problems, especially with both Mercedes drivers having opted for eight sets of the softest rubber amongst the 13 they are allowed.
“Montreal is an unusual circuit, with plenty of low-speed corners linked by a good number of straights, so it's a track that is therefore very demanding of both the power unit and the brakes,” Lowe noted, “It's also a tricky circuit in terms of tyres, and we'll see the second appearance of the ultrasoft compound this weekend, which should mean a notable drop in qualifying times relative to 2015.
“However, the track is far more aggressive on tyres than Monaco, so understanding how best to use the ultrasoft for the race will be one of the main challenges.
“We came away from Monaco pleased to have won there for a fourth consecutive year - but not entirely satisfied after a tough afternoon for Nico. We've put a lot of effort into understanding why that was and have some good insights to take forwards into future races. Lewis has a fantastic record [in Montreal], but we saw arguably one of Nico's greatest drives there in 2014 and the team secured a fantastic 1-2 in 2015, so we should be set for an exciting weekend.”