Nico Rosberg aims for third successive win at Austrian GP to increase his lead at the top
Spielberg (Austria): Nico Rosberg is out to confirm his renewed momentum in the title race by completing a hat-trick at one of his favourite circuits at this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix.
The German increased his lead in the drivers' world championship to 24 points ahead of his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton by winning the European Grand Prix in Baku after the Briton, again, suffered a series of setbacks.
Since the sharp, tight and relatively-short Red Bull Ring returned to the calendar in 2014, Rosberg has enjoyed a 100 per cent record and will hope for another successful weekend in the Styrian Alps to push him further clear.
Hamilton, however, knows that he has to respond quickly and will hope for plenty of unsettled and wet weather to maximise his hope of cutting that lead to a more manageable size.
Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff, mindful of the increasing challenge of Red Bull, on the team's 'home' circuit, and improved Ferrari, has made clear that his outfit have to push and push hard to stay on top through the mid-European section of the season.
"We didn't maximise our potential in Baku," said Wolff. "We left there a little disappointed. I think our package is as competitive as ever and we have seen that both drivers are pushing right to the limit — sometimes even beyond it — and that is what we want to see.
"It would be easy to get complacent or ease off the pedal after our recent success, but they are pushing themselves, each other and the team forward with every step.
"Our priority is to eliminate the small errors that have cost us points here and there...
"We need every weapon at our disposal operating at maximum capacity to fight off the opposition now."
1 Nico Rosberg 141 pts
2 Lewis Hamilton 117
3 Sebastian Vettel 96
4 Kimi Raikkonen 81
5 Daniel Ricciardo 78