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Published: 11:46 | 31/8/16

Rosberg ready for 'cup finals'


Nico Rosberg will treat the remaining eight races like a 'cup final' as he looks to overhaul Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the Formula 1 drivers' championship.

Rosberg won the first four races of the season to lead Hamilton in the standings but the reigning world champion has responded with six wins in the last eight races.

While Rosberg took victory in Belgium to reduce the gap to nine points, it was Hamilton who caught the eye at Spa-Francorchamps as he came from the last row of the grid to finish third behind his team-mate.

Hamilton won six of the final seven races last year to claim the title and Rosberg knows he will need a strong second half of the season if he is to deny the Briton a third successive title.

"It's great to add a classic circuit like Spa to the list of wins. It wasn't a straightforward weekend for us - but everybody did a fantastic job and the car kept improving with every session, so hopefully that puts us on a good curve as we head to another legendary track in Monza," Rosberg said in a team preview.

"This is a race I really enjoy and one I'd really love to master. The tifosi create such an incredible atmosphere every single time, no matter who wins the race.

"Last year obviously didn't end so well for me there (he was forced to retire due to an engine failure), so I'm hoping for a bit more luck and a little less fire this time...

"I'm really enjoying the battle out there right now. We've got several cars in the mix now which is exciting for us and also the fans. For me, I'm taking every race like a cup final. It's great to know you have the team and the car to just go out there and lay it on the line. I can't wait to make our Silver Arrow fly at Monza."

Hamilton took a grid penalty in Belgium in order to free him up for the remainder of the campaign and the 31-year-old is excited at the prospect of having a clear run in Monza.

"Spa was about as good as damage limitation can get, I think! It was a fantastic result for me and for the team," he said. "The guys deserved it so much after all that hard work, so I was massively pleased for them and proud of what we achieved together.

"Now we go to Monza - a track I know well from so many racing categories throughout my career and one it's impossible not to love. The speed, the history, the atmosphere... it's just so iconic in every way.

"Standing on that amazing podium, looking out over a sea of fans on the straight, has to be up there as one of the most incredible experiences a sportsman can have. I had a perfect weekend on track there last year.

"If I can repeat that it would be amazing but we'll see how we look when we get there. It's game on for me now with the penalties out of the way and fresh engines ready to use. I can't wait to get back out there."

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