Formula 1 championship leader Nico Rosberg grinned when asked by a German newspaper if married life and fatherhood has slowed him down.
“Apparently not!” the Mercedes driver told Der Tagesspiegel.
Indeed, ever since teammate Lewis Hamilton easily wrapped up the 2015 crown, German Rosberg began a six-race winning streak that now sees him looking to further extend his 36 point championship lead this weekend in Russia.
“With everything he has done recently, he’s the one to beat,” quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel, driving for arch-rivals Ferrari, told Auto Bild.
“I’m happy that it’s going so well for Nico,” added Vettel, a fellow German.
But former driver and German television pundit Marc Surer warned Rosberg against complacency.
“Nico Rosberg is the happier driver at the moment,” he told Germany’s Sky, “but Lewis Hamilton has been on pole and it is unclear whether it was driver error or technical problems that caused him trouble at the starts.
“And in China,” Surer added, “he just had bad luck. Hamilton will come back. I am also hoping for that, as it would give the title race some more spice.”
Further spice would be added if Ferrari can continue to up its game, after boss Maurizio Arrivabene said the red 2016 car is now just a tenth per lap slower than Mercedes.
Reports now suggest Ferrari will have an engine upgrade and new front wing in Russia, after the developments originally intended for Spain were sped up.
“In general I am happy with the progress,” said Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne, “but we still have work to do.
“We know that Mercedes will not stop working, so we will prepare some important developments.”