Rosberg confident heading into European season


Nico Rosberg has enjoyed a dream start to the 2016 Formula One season and there is no reason why he should not feel confident of extending his winning record at the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday. 

The Mercedes driver has won the first four races of the season, adding to his three consecutive victories at the back end of the 2015 campaign to set a 43-point lead over team-mate reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton in the drivers' standings.

Rosberg started from pole to claim the win in Catalunya last year ahead of Hamilton, but the Brit will be determined to turn his nightmare start to 2016 around as the European F1 season gets underway.

Hamilton has finished on the podium three times so far this season but has failed to trouble Rosberg for the top step on the podium, plagued by mechanical woes and unlucky race incidents.

Ferrari duo Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen have a second-place finish each and, like Hamilton, will be looking to turn their early-season problems around in Spain. 



Only Nigel Mansell (1992) and Michael Schumacher (2004) have won the first five races of an F1 season, and a win in Catalunya would see Rosberg join some esteemed company. 

Mansell and Schumacher both went on to win the world championship by comfortable margins in those respective seasons, giving Rosberg a massive confidence boost early in the campaign.  

"It's not something I could have expected - winning the first four races of the year," the German said.

"It's been a great start but I'm just enjoying the moment and the form I'm in, doing my best to keep it going and hoping I can carry it through to the end of the season. Sport is all about ups and downs and being mentally prepared to bounce back stronger when they come. 

"With a season this long you have to just take things race by race. There are 425 points still up for grabs - and anything can happen yet."



One of the biggest talking points since the last race has been the switch between Daniil Kvyat and Max Verstappen, and both will be eager to impress in Montmelo.

A poor start to the season - combined with an incident with Vettel in Russia - saw Kvyat demoted to the Toro Rosso outfit, with Verstappen moving in the opposite direction to Red Bull. 

The drastic decision divided opinion among the F1 paddock, but both drivers know they have to let their results do the talking when they take to the grid on the weekend. 

"I'm very excited for the opportunity to drive for Red Bull Racing and I can't wait to jump in the car in Barcelona," 18-year-old Verstappen said.

"I have a lot of work to do ahead of the race, lots of data to study but luckily it''s a track I know well because we have driven there so much."



The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has featured on the F1 calendar since 1991 after taking over from Jerez, which hosted the race between 1986 and 1990. It is the eighth-shortest track of the season at 4.655-kilometres. The end of the one kilometre DRS-assisted pit straight is the best location on the circuit to overtake, along with turn 10. 



Dry and sunny weather is forecast for Sunday's race, but rain on Friday and Saturday could affect preparations in free practice and qualifying. 



The orange-marked hard compound, the white-marked medium and the yellow-marked softs are the choices offered by Pirelli for the high-energy Catalunya circuit. 

Rosberg and Hamilton have elected for one set of the hard-compound tyres, as well as Vettel and Raikkonen, but the Ferrari duo selected an extra set of softs over the mediums.