Mexican Grand Prix: Nico Rosberg says atmosphere with Lewis Hamilton is 'intense'

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton
Nico Rosberg leads Lewis Hamilton by 26 points in the championship

Nico Rosberg says the atmosphere between himself and Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton is "intense" as the title battle comes to a climax.

The German can clinch the championship in Mexico this weekend if he wins and Hamilton finishes 10th or lower.

On his personal battle with Hamilton, who he has known since they were teenagers, he said: "It's not something I think about too much.

"Of course it's intense, but at the same time there is an easy-going side."

Rosberg is continuing to insist he is concentrating only on each race as it comes and not thinking about the championship, a mantra he has been using since very early in the season.

He says he is "well aware" of the fact that he could win the title on Sunday.

But he added: "It has been a great season so far which has put me in this position. It is exciting to be in the championship battle with Lewis towards the end of the season.

"We've been there before but it is very cool.

"But I have said before my way of achieving the best performance is to focus on the things within my control and that here in Mexico is to try to win the race."

Formula 1
The Mexican Grand Prix takes place during the Day of the Dead festival and Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo have been getting into the spirit of things

Hamilton said he was "not frustrated" about the fact that even winning the final three races might not be enough for him to clinch the title.

Referencing the engine problems that have meant he is behind in the championship rather than leading it, he told BBC Sport: "We have had our frustrations already this year. We prepare for whatever we face.

"Me and my guys are working as hard as we can. As long as we have done everything in our power to get the best result, then we can go into our winter with a peaceful heart."

Rosberg has won nine races to Hamilton's seven this season and leads the Briton by 26 points with a maximum of 75 available in the three remaining races.

Such is his advantage that he can afford to finish second twice and third once and still clinch the title even if Hamilton win all three races in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

Rosberg owes his position partly to a series of engine problems that have afflicted Hamilton this year, without which the reigning champion would almost certainly be leading.

Hamilton has had two engine failures in qualifying in early-season races, a subsequent grid penalty and an engine failure while leading the Malaysian Grand Prix in September affect his points total, while Rosberg has only suffered a gearbox glitch that resulted in him dropping from second to third at the British Grand Prix.

Rosberg said he had no objection to people pointing out that Hamilton had suffered more reliability problems than him.

"I'm here to win races," Rosberg said. "There will always be people who have opinions going against me for one reason or another. It's the nature of the business. I like to focus on the people who support me and that's it."

Asked what winning the title would mean to him, Rosberg said: "It's a childhood dream but that's where it ends because what's important this weekend is winning the Mexican Grand Prix and then we see what happens.

"It just feels right to focus on the things I can influence, keep it simple, be in the moment and it's been working so just stick with it."

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