Smooth and precise, with minimal steering input mated to just the right amount of power application, the very embodiment of sprezzatura, Nico Rosberg glides past, his Mercedes machine swooshing serenely on its way with minimal fuss…
A picture of calmness, the German is on a roll.
Rolling out of the F1 paddock at well past Sunday midnight, Nico, race winner’s trophy in hand, casually pedals his bicycle into the night with impeccable souplesse.
The picture - if only I had a camera to hand! - is perfect. A top-level sportsman comfortable with life, happy in his world, and content with a weekend’s work well done.
As Nico disappears out of sight I must admit to being impressed, fascinated even. Rosberg has obviously thought long and hard about his approach to achieving his goal of winning an F1 drivers’ title, and right now his plans are coming good.
How best to beat the best?
Stay focused, keep level-headed, remain calm, employ a positive mental attitude, and take each day as it comes. Rosberg displays an impressive arsenal of attributes, all powerful weapons employed in his pursuit of success.
Of course none of these will pay dirt if they’re not backed up with some race-winning ability… No fear, the German is delivering there too.
Coming in to Singapore ’16 the expectation was that Lewis Hamilton would be the man to beat. Delighting in the tight confines of this glittering race track, the Englishman would surely bring his A-game. Wrong.
Erratic in his driving, consistent in his inconsistency and ultimately way off the pace, Hamilton seemed distracted and well out of sorts all weekend long.
While Rosberg laughed and joked with journalists and photographers alike, Hamilton turned away. Filling the humid air with a truculent and tetchy mood, demanding that photographers stop photographing, turning his back, and even - so I’m told - requesting that the garage door be closed when he got in the car.
Clouding his mind with unnecessary bitterness towards those of us only concerned with making him look good, it’s no wonder that Hamilton took to the track with a less than ideal mindset.
Laying down a stunning marker with the pole-position-winning lap of his life, Nico Rosberg hardly helped improve the champion’s mood.
Perhaps it’s the result of fatherhood, and the revelatory realisation of what life is all about, that’s so helped Nico take a step up. Perhaps not. Most racing drivers, when they hear the patter of little feet, become more aware of their own fragility and what could be lost. Understandably a smidgen of speed is lost and that vital race and title-winning edge is lost.
Only Nico knows.
Come season’s end, Rosberg’s 2016 art of war will deliver or it won’t.
Whichever way it goes, I’m sure his perspective will stay true, mindful of what really matters, content with the fight he fought, and ultimately comfortable in the knowledge of who’s the better man.
A job well done.