Nico Rosberg admits he had safety concerns when he started experiencing throttle pedal problems early in the Russian GP.
The German was heard asking the team what would happen if the pedal struck open, but shortly afterwards the issue forced him to pit and retire, all but ending his title hopes.
“That was concerning,” he said when asked by this writer how worried he was. “A throttle [problem] is never a nice thing, especially when it was sticking. So I was definitely concerned. So that was why I asked the team what should I do if the throttle sticks, I am full on the brakes. They said there was an automatic fail safe on the car, which removes the throttle in that case when it sees a big overlap, brake and throttle – it will cut the throttle. So that was reassuring at that point.
“I had a throttle stick once in Monaco in a similar way actually, in a Williams in 2006. It brought back some memories of that a little bit.
“The change happened during the safety car already, so right after the start actually, and from then on I couldn’t come off throttle, so I was doing all the corners with throttle on and then eventually it the throttle on was so much that I couldn’t get around the corners any more.
“It was one big step on the safety car already as it came towards me, and just another small one afterwards which meant that it was the end of it. I was trying to take my leg off the pedal, but then the knee would come up and I couldn’t steer any more, and so it was different problems coming in there.”
Rosberg said that recent reliability problems at Mercedes have been frustrating.
“It is a strange one, this year it looked like we were looking so good on reliability. To then have still quite a few issues, it is surprising and it has gone worse and worse now through the season, especially in the last couple of months we had loads more issues and race stoppers and things like that. We must look into that again, and continue to improve that area. It seems we haven’t made as big steps as we thought.”
Rosberg conceded that his title chances are now remote: “You have to be realistic now. It is a lot of points. It doesn’t change my approach. I am still pushing to the maximum, and committed, and going for it mentally. So it doesn’t really change much. Disappointing in that respect today, because I was looking to close the gap today, and then anyways, going to the next race and I want to win there. That is the goal at the moment.
“It is tough. So much go into a weekend like that. The preparation starts at the beginning of the week with being at the factory, discussing everything and coming here, having an awesome weekend, qualifying, race start, first corners and everything really going to plan and then to lose it in such a way is very tough.”