Asked what he needed for success this weekend, Nico Rosberg’s jovial answer might have raised eyebrows within his Mercedes team garage.
“A Red Bull,” laughed the German.
“The car, not the drink,” added Rosberg, musing the dominance of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber at Suzuka so far while his own W01 looks at least a second off the pace.
Williams’ Rubens Barrichello also predicts an easy margin for the Adrian Newey-inked RB6 car.
“For me, the Red Bulls will be a good half a second in front,” said the Brazilian.
If Ferrari and McLaren are unable to keep up in Japan, pole and victory is therefore likely to be contested by the two Red Bull drivers.
“I find what’s happening incomprehensible,” said Webber’s manager Flavio Briatore in the Italian press, angry that Red Bull is not ordering Vettel to play a Felipe Massa-style supporting role.
Australian Webber’s own needle is more subtle, quietly questioning his teammate’s decision to use a new white helmet livery this weekend.
“He always has bad luck when he uses a new helmet,” Webber joked.
But so far, the 2009 Suzuka pole sitter and winner is once again obviously enjoying the Japanese layout.
“I was running around the track and I thought ‘Why can’t they all be like this?'” smiled Vettel.
© RIF | GMM