Whether or not he winds up in the cockpit of a McLaren next season, Nico Rosberg is heading into the F1 off-season satisfied with what he achieved in his second year as a driver in the top flight.

The German has been touted as a possible partner for world championship runner-up Lewis Hamilton in 2008 - although Williams insists that its prot?g? is going nowhere - and enhanced his case for a title-contending role with a series of stronger performances this year.

After a tough debut season with the less-than-competitive FW28, Rosberg admitted that his own performance stepped up hand-in-hand with the Toyota-powered FW29, although he could not help but hint that there is more to come should he get a better car next time around.

"I learnt a lot in my first year and that allowed me to prepare myself differently for my second year in Formula One," he explained, "I knew exactly which areas to concentrate on. I am very critical of myself, so I am good at seeing where to develop, which helped me to improve things quicker.

"The routines involved in race preparation also slotted into place, so this season was relatively normal. It naturally takes some time to adapt to new things when you go into a different world, but this year there weren't any surprises. My development, combined with that of the team's, meant we were able to get some good results.

"We've definitely made progress since last year and achieved that in a number of different ways. A lot of improvement came following some careful restructuring of the existing team and then by bringing a few very skilled and experienced new people onboard. From the very first tests, the FW29 was working pretty well which allowed us to further develop it throughout the season, both at the factory and on the track.

"One of the key things I really noticed this year was that, while the car was improving both mechanically and aerodynamically, we were also managing to set it up in the most advantageous way for most of the circuits. I was able to get the speed more consistently and, together with my engineers, we were able to set up the car to a balance that really suited my driving style which meant I could really push for it. This led to many fantastic moments, particularly in qualifying where I managed to make it into Q3 eleven times. Some of the race results even proved quite surprising this year, [but] I think, with an even stronger car, I could show what I can really do."

Although there were still too many retirements when well placed, Rosberg rated his season positively, picking out some key moments to remember.

"In many ways, it's been a good year for me," he reflected, "As is normal during a long season, we had some ups and downs. Races seemed to start off well in the opening rounds of the season, but the results just weren't there. As the season progressed, though, we were able to capitalise on strong starting positions, get some good results and consistently collect championship points. So, yes, it was a good year.

"I think the best memory comes from Spa. After the pre-race test, we weren't convinced we were going to be particularly competitive, so I was expecting a poor weekend. However, a great lap in qualifying put me in sixth position on the grid. Going into the first corner at the start of the race, there were just two Ferraris and two McLarens ahead of me - and that was good to see!

"Melbourne was also quite positive because of my pass on Ralf [Schumacher]. I was really pleased with that because it made fourth possible from a very difficult situation, and because the car wasn't that great in qualifying. I would even put Malaysia on my list. I had a good battle with the BMWs in the initial part of the race, which really showed our potential speed. Even though I didn't finish the race, it was still great fun.

"Last, but not least, Brazil has to be up there because its where I achieved my best result in F1 so far, finishing fourth having started in tenth. I had another good fight with the BMWs and I beat them fair and square with a well-executed overtaking manoeuvre going into the first corner. That finish also meant the team secured fourth place in the constructors' championship.

"To sum up, I've had a lot of really good experiences this year and I feel I can go into the winter happy!"



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