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Are Nico Rosberg's 2015 Formula 1 title hopes over after Monza engine failure?

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Are Nico Rosberg's 2015 Formula 1 title hopes over after Monza engine failure?
Sep 7, 2015, 4:49 PM

Nico Rosberg suffered his first DNF of the 2015 Formula 1 season when his Mercedes engine exploded during the closing stages of the Italian Grand P...

Nico Rosberg suffered his first DNF of the 2015 Formula 1 season when his Mercedes engine exploded during the closing stages of the Italian Grand Prix.

As flames shot from the exhaust pipe and smoke continues to pour from the car as it was craned away, Rosberg’s teammate Lewis Hamilton was crossing the finish line to take the victory – and 25 championship points – at Monza.

As a result of that failure, Rosberg is now 53 points adrift of Hamilton as the F1 circus leaves Europe for the end-of-season flyaway races. That is the biggest gap there has been between the two Mercedes drivers – apart from after the double points finale in Abu Dhabi last year – since their domination of the sport began at the start of 2014.

Nico Rosberg

Even if Rosberg were to win all of the remaining rounds of the 2015 season, if Hamilton finished second in those races, the Briton would still win the title by four points.

Hamilton only has too win the next four races and, assuming Rosberg is the runner up in all of those events, he could win his third world title at the US Grand Prix in Austin. IF the current points difference between the two championship challengers remains the same, Hamilton will mathematically retain his crown at the Mexican Grand Prix, with two rounds – Brazil and Abu Dhabi – to spare.

After his Monza DNF, and his failure to win a race since the Austrian Grand Prix in June, the current standings make grim reading for Rosberg. But the 30-year-old is determined not to give up his title hopes.

Speaking after the Italian Grand Prix, he said: “Today was a massive step in the wrong direction for me in the championship - but to complain doesn't help in these situations.

“I just need to keep pushing and come back even stronger. Giving up is not an option for me.

“I will push hard to turn things in the right direction - starting in Singapore, which is one of my favourite races. I'm looking forward to it already."

Nico Rosberg

Despite being over two race wins in points behind Hamilton in the championship standings, Rosberg should not despair just yet.

He started fourth on the grid in Monza as a result of his upgraded Mercedes engine developing a fault in FP3. This left him with a deficit to Hamilton in qualifying at a track where horsepower is vital and let the Ferrari drivers of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen start ahead of him.

Rosberg’s poor grid position was worsened by Raikkonen’s bad start as the German had to take avoiding action to get past the Ferrari and was then swamped by the Williams cars as a result.

By the time he had recovered to third place on lap 20, Vettel was already well up the road and Rosberg had to chase hard on an engine that had already completed five races and it ultimately let go before the end in Monza.

Nico Rosberg

What happened to Rosberg’s upgraded engine in Italy could also happen to Hamilton before the end of the season. Ferrari also made progress with its own power unit ahead of Monza, so the Scuderia may yet be pushing Mercedes harder in qualifying and in the race until the end of the year.

This extra strain could expose the Silver Arrows to more mechanical failures before 2015 is over. Unreliability hit Rosberg in Monza, but it could happen to Hamilton in the future.
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Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton Shop Now
Teams McLaren Shop Now