SEPTEMBER 20, 2016
F1 paddock ponders Rosberg as 2016 champion
The F1 paddock is musing the possibility that Nico Rosberg will be crowned the sport's next world champion.
His teammate Lewis Hamilton has won the last two titles, but it is the sister Mercedes driven by Rosberg that has won three grands prix on the trot.
"Quiet, balanced and optimistic," La Gazzetta dello Sport summarised after Singapore, where Rosberg dominated all weekend.
"Rosberg's exceptional character is perfect for the duel against Hamilton."
France's L'Equipe agreed that Hamilton has been "a shadow of himself" at recent races.
"Rosberg is at his best," added Italy's Corriere della Sera, "while Hamilton is sinking in crisis."
And plenty of other observers also think Rosberg recapturing the world championship lead in Singapore may have been a turning point.
"Since Spa, Rosberg looks fresher and more stable than Hamilton," F1 legend Sir Jackie Stewart told the Swiss newspaper Blick.
"I can see him (Rosberg) being the new world champion," he added.
The German newspaper Bild agreed: "Since four weeks of partying in the summer break, Hamilton has won no more races."
On Italian radio Rai, Flavio Briatore said: "Rosberg seems to have put his head in the right place.
"Hamilton has great talent, but he is a bit 'rapper' too and if you want to win you have to concentrate on that.
"If I were him, I would look a little less at music and a little more at F1," the former Renault chief added.
And former F1 driver Robert Doornbos told Ziggo Sport Totaal: "I don't know what Rosberg did in the summer, but he must have found something in himself.
"He may have slightly less raw talent than Hamilton, but he fills that gap with hard work."
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, however, said the recent trend should not be overstated.
"We tend to talk one up and the other one down," he insisted. "I remember talking about Lewis' momentum a few weeks ago and suddenly we have this mega Nico weekend.
"We will see if it stays the same in Malaysia."