Can Nico Rosberg return to his former glory in Japan?

Nico Rosberg (photo by Mercedes F1 team)We’re just days away from the Japanese Grand Prix, which is to be held at the Suzuka Circuit on 5th October.

The world’s most esteemed racers will take to the tracks once again as Formula One makes its return to Asia. Formula One has eluded the continent for five months now, but recently made the move back to Asia with the Singapore Grand Prix on 21st September.

The event will once again ignite the rivalry between Mercedes ‘team mates’ Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, who are neck and neck in the latest standings at just 22 points apart. German-born Rosberg currently takes the lead with 238 points while British superstar Lewis Hamilton is miles ahead of Daniel Ricciardo with 216 points to Ricciardo’s 166.

Despite the current standings, Australian Ricciardo recently won both the Hungarian and Belgian Grand Prix in July and August. On September 7th however, Hamilton managed to take the lead at the Italian Grand Prix, hoping to return to his former early season glory when he won four consecutive races between 30th March and 11th May.

This will do nothing to placate Nico Rosberg, particularly as Hamilton is the odds on favourite to take first place during the outing at Suzuka. After his controversial crash in Belgium, there was speculation that Mercedes chief Toto Wolff had issued orders to the German Drivers’ Championship leader to let Hamilton win.

Rosberg has not commented on the issue, but has instead chosen to voice his opinions on the recent Formula One rule changes. Drivers will now be banned from receiving radio advice and coded messages such as team orders. He said: “It might affect things because we are now on our own. Before the team will always tell us what to do, and now we just need to decide on our own and make the decisions ourselves. It’s going to be a new challenge.”

The change has come as welcome news to Hamilton, who told fans: “Having no team orders is fantastic. I actually think it’s okay, it doesn’t really change too much for me. The only real thing that I really have help with is when they tell us about the engine changes. That’s not a real big issue. I think it might affect others more than me.”

Whether or not that was a dig at Rosberg is anybody’s guess, but doubtless Rosberg will want to maintain his 22-point lead. With old rivalries and new rules, it should be a very exciting race in Japan.

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