Nico Rosberg: “A tough day for me”

Nico Rosberg admitted it was a tough day in Japan as he was forced to fight back from dropping to fourth on the opening lap to finish in second position behind Mercedes AMG PETRONAS team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

Rosberg was forced to run wide at turn two after an aggressive-looking manoeuvre from Hamilton, which made him drop down behind both Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas, but was able to pass both – Bottas on track at the chicane and Vettel during the second round of pit stops – to claim second.

Rosberg was disappointed to be forced off track on the opening lap by his team-mate, but felt regaining second was the best result possible once Hamilton had forced himself by into the lead.

“A tough day for me,” said Rosberg, who dropped forty-eight points behind Hamilton in the championship. “It was very close throughout the corner and on the exit I had to go off the track to avoid a collision, which cost me speed and pushed me back to fourth place.

“ After that, I was fighting for P2 today rather than the win. But I was able to push then and overtake Valtteri, which was great. The team did also a great job with the undercut of Sebastian, this worked out perfectly with a really hard out-lap on the new tyres.

“So second place is damage limitation for me, as I had to win here in Japan to close the gap to Lewis. But I will keep pushing and try to win in Sochi now. I had lots of positives this weekend. So I will be back strongly.”