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Rosberg challenges Ecclestone on 'boring' tag

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Oct 23, 2016; Austin, TX, USA; Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg (6) of Germany waves to the crowd after he comes in second place during the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 23, 2016; Austin, TX, USA; Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg (6) of Germany waves to the crowd after he comes in second place during the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

By Alan Baldwin

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Nico Rosberg has had words with Bernie Ecclestone after Formula One's commercial supremo indicated the German might make a boring world champion.

"I spoke to him personally and he said that's not exactly the way he said it," Rosberg told reporters at the Mexican Grand Prix, revealing a rare moment of sensitivity to what was being written about him.

"Anyway, it's not something that's important to me. For me, I focus on my thing and that's it."

Ecclestone had said at last weekend's U.S. Grand Prix that Rosberg's triple champion team mate Lewis Hamilton was doing a good job for the sport's image and profile with his jet-set celebrity lifestyle.

But he also indicated a change would be welcome.

"If Nico wins, it will be a new champion and he will hopefully be doing good things because I think if Lewis wins again he won’t do any different to what he’s doing now, probably less," Ecclestone had said.

He added, however, that "if Nico was British, you wouldn’t know what to write about him" and suggested Ferrari's famously taciturn 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen was "doing a better job" than Rosberg.

Rosberg, a family man with a dry sense of humour and far less publicity-seeking than Hamilton, is 26 points ahead of the Briton in the championship standings with three races remaining in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

If the German wins on Sunday, and Hamilton finishes 10th or lower, he will follow in his father Keke's footsteps as world champion.

While the numbers are always in the back of his mind, Rosberg has emphasised for weeks now that he is taking each grand prix at a time and concentrating only on winning the next race and nothing more.

He brushed aside a question about whether he felt it unfair of some people to suggest he was only leading the championship because Hamilton had lost points through engine failure and other reliability problems.

"You are talking a lot about what other people think and their opinions," he said.

"I am here to win races and not to please everybody that's out there. There's always going to be people who have opinions that will be going against me in some way or other. That is the nature of the business," added Rosberg.

"It is always going to be like that so I like to focus on the people who really support me."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)


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