It is now or never for Nico Rosberg as he enters the last year of his Mercedes contract with the German manufacturer not rushing to resolve the issue.
In the five years that Rosberg has been with the team – four years alongside Lewis Hamilton – he has achieved 22 pole positions and 14 wins, but he has had to settle for second best as his British team-mate has notched up back-to-back championships.
However, the German remains upbeat and expects to stay at Mercedes for some time to come.
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After winning three successive Grand Prix races at the end of last season he certainly has reasons to be cheerful.
He said recently: "I feel comfortable here, I really enjoy being part of the team, we've achieved so much, and there's even more to achieve in the future."
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After out-qualifying Hamilton many times last year he was finally able to convert his pole positions into convincing victories and silence those critics who claim that he is too nice to be a champion.
The number one rule in Formula 1 for a driver is to beat your teammate, but Rosberg has not been the first driver to find it impossible to beat Hamilton. The Briton himself admitted that he does not make it easy for the guy on the other side of the garage.
But with the contract extension he signed two years ago expiring in December, now is the time for Rosberg to continue where he left off at the end of last season and take the fight to Hamilton.
He insisted: "I look forward to going up against Lewis again. He's been driving at an extremely high level and that's the sort of battle I relish - that's why I do sport for and compete for."
However, the animosity between the two drivers is clearly what is making Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff cautious about extending Rosberg’s contract once more.
Asked recently about Rosberg's future, Wolff replied: "But it's early days to discuss that [Rosberg's contract]. I want to see how the season pans out. There are areas we want to develop altogether as a team, and let's see how that goes.
"We've seen teams in the past where there is a competition being created that is not good for the dynamics within the team."
Formula 1 has a rich history of dueling team-mates and with his boss’ words ringing in his ears, Rosberg certainly does not have anything to lose and could easily be thinking that it is now or never if he is to win his maiden driver’s championship.
Strap yourselves in.
Will Rosberg be able to beat Lewis Hamilton for the Championship? Give us your opinion in the comment box below!
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