F1: Nico Rosberg missing thrill of battle with Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes F1 Nico Rosberg

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Nico Rosberg says his whirlwind start to Formula 1 season has been tainted by the unreliability of team-mate Lewis Hamilton’s car.

Rosberg has won the first four races of the season, extending his winning run to seven Grand Prix in the process, and already enjoys a 46-point lead over world champion Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship standings following his triumph in the Russian Grand Prix.

While Rosberg has been near faultless, Mercedes team-mate Hamilton has been repeatedly plagued by problems. The British driver has suffered two engine failures and three separate first-corner collisions already in 2016.

Rosberg says he is happy to keep winning but the German concedes something is missing while Hamilton struggles. “I can’t say l miss it [fighting with Hamilton] because it is awesome to win races and in the end it doesn’t matter how,”

Rosberg told Sky Sports. “Winning is great and what I’m here for. But the ecstatic feeling isn’t there, it’s there when l win a battle with Lewis, that’s what gives the ultimate thrill.”

Rosberg is 1.53 to win his first world crown this season, with reigning champion Hamilton now priced at 2.50. For Rosberg, there is no sense of writing off Hamilton at this early stage of the season and he fully expects the pair to lock horns before long.

“A straight fight with Lewis is what l am here for because he’s the benchmark and I look forward to it when it comes,” he added.

“It’s always going to be a tough battle against him because he’s as motivated and as quick as ever.”

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