Rosberg loses ground but wins respect

Sun Apr 19, 2015 4:26pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

MANAMA (Reuters) - Nico Rosberg slipped further behind championship-leading Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton in the Formula One standings on Sunday but showed at least that he had lost none of his fighting spirit.

The German is now 27 points behind the Briton after the double world champion took his third win in four races in Bahrain.

But for brake problems, which allowed Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen to pass and denied Mercedes a one-two finish, the gap would have been narrower but Rosberg at least answered some critics.

"Everybody who ever doubted Nico saw Nico at his best, fighting hard and overtaking," said Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff after the German, accused by Hamilton of not trying and being too slow at the previous race in China, finished third.

"Losing that position because of a brake failure is a bit of a pity, but all in all a one and three must be satisfactory," he added.

"We are four races into the season and there are another 15 left, so I have no doubt that after his driving today, which was exceptional, we will have a very strong Nico bouncing back in Barcelona."

Rosberg was third on the grid, and immediately lost out to Raikkonen after being squeezed at the start.

From then on, while Hamilton led from pole, the meat of the race became the cut and thrust between Rosberg's Mercedes and the resurgent Ferraris.   Continued...

Mercedes Formula One Driver Nico Rosberg of Germany sits in his car at the pit-lane during the third free practice ahead of Bahrain's F1 Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit, south of Manama April 18, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah