Nico Rosberg has tipped another season of F1 superiority for Mercedes.
Last year, as the turbo V6 era dawned, the German driver and his teammate, the new reigning champion Lewis Hamilton, duelled for the title in a battle rarely challenged by any rivals.
And now, as the sport enters its second year under essentially the same regulations, Rosberg is predicting more of the same silver-wash.
“Without having even sat in the new car, I certainly believe that,” he told the German newspaper Bild.
“I am very optimistic and believe it will again be a duel between Lewis and me.”
Rosberg thinks grandee rivals like Ferrari and McLaren-Honda are not yet ready to take on Mercedes, instead predicting a “year of development” for them.
“I see Williams and Red Bull as the strongest competitors,” he revealed.
Not even quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel, said Rosberg, can be a silver bullet for Ferrari.
“Ferrari is Ferrari,” he admitted, “and you should never write them off.
“But while I don’t want to sound arrogant, I think it will be Sebastian more often than not looking only at my rear light.
“First he has to find the right chemistry between himself and his engineers, and Ferrari cannot go from where it was in 2014 to be the best team overnight. It took us five years,” said Rosberg.
Finally, regarding his difficult relationship with teammate Hamilton, Rosberg admitted that looking at photos from the Abu Dhabi finale “still hurts”.
But they have re-established some contact over the winter, Rosberg revealed.
“A little bit. We have been exchanging dog photos with one another,” smiled the German, whose new wife Vivian was gifted a Labrador puppy some weeks ago. (GMM)