The 2016 Formula 1 World Championship is not simply Nico Rosberg's to lose according to Toto Wolff, the Mercedes team boss saying Lewis Hamilton is at his best 'when he has a target'.
A fourth win in five races for Rosberg in the Japanese Grand Prix has seen him establish a comfortable 33 point cushion over Hamilton, a buffer that would allow him to finish second in each of the final four races to clinch the title regardless of his team-mate's results.
The closest Rosberg has gotten to the title in three years, though Wolff notes the advantage is certainly with the German he says it will take just a single slip up for the title fight to turn around. With this in mind, he feels Hamilton will thrive by having a clear target to aim at for the remaining races.
“33 points is a lot. You can see how quick it goes in Malaysia, you're in the lead and the other guy wins it's 25 points lost and then it's down to 8.
POINTS: The F1 World Championship standings after the Japanese Grand Prix
“The way Nico attacks the championship with looking at each weekend as a single event has proven to be the right strategy for him, and equally Lewis functions best when he is under pressure and when he has a target. I have no doubt that this will be an intense fight until the end. That is far from over.”
Wolff also dismissed the notion that Hamilton – who lost out victory in Suzuka after a terrible start – is struggling to focus after his dramatic Malaysian Grand Prix engine failure and a fracas with the media over what he feels is 'disrespectful' reporting.
“Lewis in Malaysia he was really on a roll, dominating the weekend then obviously we let him down with an engine failure, and that was an easy one for him to bring home,” he continued.
“During the week he was OK, then all of these things around the press conferences, yesterday, whether it affects him or not, I don't think so, because it is just not his priority I guess. I wouldn't put it down to that his start didn't go well… because the racing was great after that, how he recovered was really exceptional.
“So our main emphasis will be building him up. We have 10 days it's not such a rush like last week, and he's going to come back strong in Austin.”
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