Mercedes: Spa not an open goal for Rosberg
Mercedes tech chief Paddy Lowe says it is wrong for people to assume that Nico Rosberg had an easy ride to victory in the Belgian Grand Prix given that Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton started from the back.
It was wildly held that Rosberg faced an "open goal" as his main rival was penalised, but Lowe insists that it was a much harder weekend for the German than the result might have suggested.
"I think that's completely wrong," Lowe told Motorsport.com. "It was very tough in qualifying to get pole.
"The lap he did on the soft was really phenomenal. While it's nice not to have the competition from Lewis in the garage, equally you are losing a reference. He did a great job to achieve that in qualifying.
"The race, people have no idea – and I don't even have an idea – how difficult it is to manage tyres on that knife-edge between performance and endurance. And Nico did a fantastic job today.
"One of the challenges from this weekend has been the very high minimum tyre pressures.
"It was a year ago that we had tyre failures here, and that's really what's made the weekend particularly difficult from a tyre point of view. I don't imagine it will be quite so critical in Monza.
Lowe admitted that Hamilton's third place was better than anyone could have expected.
"We could never have predicted a podium result for Lewis. Much as people may think we have a huge performance advantage, it's not that huge.
"When you look at Red Bull and Ferrari, in normal situations to beat them from the back, you're never going to do it.
"Obviously a big contributor to Lewis's podium was the fact that Verstappen and both Ferraris were out of the equation."
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