by Russell Atkins

Nico Rosberg has questioned the harsh new safety car rules that cost him a strong points finish in Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, as he received a stop-go penalty that dropped him back to tenth place at the chequered flag.

Having shone in qualifying to take seventh spot on the grid, the German did even better come race day by leaping up to fifth at the start, a position he would maintain all the way to his first pit-stop on lap 23, just behind the Ferrari of Felipe Massa and comfortably ahead of the sister scarlet machine of Kimi Raikkonen. That, though, was where it all began to go wrong.

"I had a great start and first part of the race," he told journalists at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve afterwards. "I've never had a Ferrari disappear in my rear mirror like that before! That was really positive and a really good performance I think.

"Our pace was encouraging and I thought I could really get something good out of the race; we just got caught out by the safety car. It was simply bad luck - I had no fuel left and had to pit exactly on that lap. The safety car came out just 13 seconds before I went into the pit-lane. It's a bit strange I got penalised so badly for that situation. How did I deserve that? What did I do wrong?

"Looking at the chart, when the safety car came out I was the third-quickest driver on the track. It would have been difficult to have finished on the podium under normal circumstances, but had things gone perfectly we may just have been able to do it."

Rosberg admitted his cause had not been aided by the rear grip problems that have plagued Williams since the beginning of the year, but he remained hopeful the squad had taken a further step forward, and that plenty more points will follow.

"After my penalty it was very difficult to recover the position I had held," the 21-year-old acknowledged. "After my second stop I came out of the pits at the back of the pack. The battle with (Jarno) Trulli ended in both of us spinning, and I lost even more time when the gearbox got stuck. What an afternoon! One positive thing for the team was that (team-mate) Alex (Wurz) finished third and our car showed good pace, which makes us confident for Indianapolis next weekend."

 

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