Formula One championship leader Nico Rosberg hopes he has used up all his bad luck after finishing a lowly seventh at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Rosberg, winner of the opening four rounds, will head to Montreal – the venue for this week’s Canadian Grand Prix – with a 24-point lead over Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
But the momentum is firmly with Hamilton after the triple world champion benefited from a Red Bull pit-stop blunder, and his own tactical master stroke, to claim his first victory of the season in Monaco. In contrast, Rosberg, so slow in the opening phase of the Monte Carlo race he was ordered by his Mercedes team to move out of Hamilton’s way, crossed the line a mammoth 93 seconds adrift of the winner.
“I expected and prepared myself for some difficult races after the awesome start to the season,” said Rosberg.
“This is where experience helps me. In the last Grand Prix I hopefully got all of my bad luck out of the way in one race, so onwards and upwards again from now.”
While Mercedes blamed Rosberg’s poor pace on a brake temperature issue, some in the paddock suggested the German was simply not up to scratch in the tricky rain-hit conditions.
He slipped from third to sixth at the second round of pit stops, and was then pipped on the line by Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg to finish seventh.
For Hamilton, he finally got his troubled campaign back on track with his first win of the season, and the Briton, who watched Brazil face Ecuador in the Copa America alongside Barcelona forward Neymar and Canadian pop star Justin Bieber on Saturday, will head to Montreal having triumphed there on four previous occasions – a winning number greater than any other driver on the grid.
“I have to say how grateful I am to my mechanics for sticking at it and sticking with me after what’s not been an easy start this year,” said Hamilton. “It felt great to be back on the top step after a tough run and hopefully it was a big confidence boost for them too, because they’ve been doing a great job all season.
“There’s a long way to go yet, though. We’ve seen from these opening six races that anything’s possible and these swings inevitably go both ways.
“I’ve proven that I’m just as strong as I’ve ever been and I will be for the rest of the year, so I’m looking forward to the next chapter.”