Rosberg keeping the champagne on ice despite closing in on title

Sun Oct 9, 2016 10:35pm EDT
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By Abhishek Takle

SUZUKA, Japan (Reuters) - Nico Rosberg is refusing to get carried away by thoughts of celebrating a maiden Formula One title triumph at the end of the season, despite getting one hand on the championship crown with victory in the Japanese Grand Prix.

The German eased to a maiden win from pole position at the Suzuka circuit on Sunday, chalking up his ninth win of the year, to lift himself 33 points clear of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the overall standings.

Such is Rosberg's margin that, with just four races to go, the 31-year-old can take the title without needing to win another race.

"I don't feel relief," said Rosberg, only the fifth driver to win nine races in a season. "I'm just happy to win the Suzuka race."

"Rosberg's comments are in keeping with the approach the German has adopted this year, focusing on each race as it comes rather than the campaign as a whole.

Runner-up to Hamilton in the overall standings in the last two years, he is not planning to change it now that the title is within reach.

"The best reasoning is that it's actually working quite well," said Rosberg. "So why change something if it's going quite well?

"The approach that I have at the moment is just coming here, focusing on the weekend and trying to get that win."   Continued...

Formula One - Japanese Grand Prix - Suzuka Circuit, Japan- 9/10/16. Mercedes' driver Nico Rosberg of Germany celebrates winning the race. REUTERS/Toru Hanai