Nico Rosberg admits he was ‘scared’ by Sebastian Vettel’s debut victory for Ferrari in last weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix which caught the German’s Mercedes rivals by surprise.
Vettel stunned Mercedes’ world champion Lewis Hamilton on Sunday at the Sepang International circuit with an audacious victory, his first behind the wheel of a Ferrari.
The win shook up a season which Mercedes had threatened to dominate after Hamilton’s commanding victory in the season’s opener in Australia, with Rosberg second, as Mercedes dominated.
Vettel, a four-time world champion, now has 40 career wins, but it was his first with Ferrari which broke a dry spell stretching back to his last victory with Red Bull in 2013.
Rosberg said Ferrari have clearly improved their car and Vettel’s handling of it in the intense heat of Malaysia ‘scared’ his Mercedes rival.
“After our double victory in Australia, I said that I wanted to see a better show and hoped Ferrari would challenge us, but I certainly didn’t want to lose to them,” Rosberg wrote in his weekly column for German daily Bild.
“I really didn’t expect that much from Sebastian and Ferrari. That was a total surprise.
“Sebastian drove really well, so congratulations from us!
“Now we have to sit down as a team and see what is going on.
“Regardless of whether we took the wrong strategy, Sebastian would have won the race regardless.
“The Ferrari handled much better in the heat with those tyres and that scared me.
“Sebastian was just too fast, the Ferrari engine is really much better on the straight than it was last year.”
The Formula One season resumes on April 12 at the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai. – Agence France-Presse