Rosberg's perfect start gets better
Published 16/04/2016 | 02:30
Nico Rosberg beamed like a man on top of the world as he held court in Mercedes hospitality and had no shortage of reasons why.
Take your pick: he aims tomorrow in Shanghai to become only the fourth Formula One driver ever to win six races in a row, he leads the championship by 17 points from bitter rival Lewis Hamilton and he is expected to be offered a new deal with Mercedes to keep him at the all-conquering team.
The finer details of his new contract are yet to be ironed out, with Mercedes busy trying to keep a resurgent Ferrari at bay - the Italian team topped practice for the Chinese Grand Prix yesterday - but it is understood the outcome is a formality. Rosberg is almost certain to be offered the chance to continue his feud with Hamilton, and to try finally to overcome the three-time champion, from next year and beyond.
Mercedes are not prepared to promote any of the young drivers on their books or on their radar as soon as 2017, particularly given Rosberg's form, for fear of a pasting from Hamilton.
Rosberg is expected to bargain for improved terms after Hamilton signed a deal worth around £30m a year last May, with the German earning roughly half that. But having spent so much on keeping Hamilton, and given that Mercedes have the fastest car in the paddock, team boss Toto Wolff is in a strong position. Haggling over the exact salary is all that should hold up the deal.
Until then, the rest of the driver market will be on pause before a frenetic round of musical chairs.
Chinese Grand Prix, Live, Sky Sports F1, tomorrow, 7.00am