Mike Stevens | Aug 18, 2010

Nico Rosberg is "as good as Sebastian Vettel", but Adrian Sutil has been "a real surprise" of the season. Those are the opinions of Gerhard Berger, given during an interview with Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

The Austrian and ten-time Grand Prix winner, 50, acknowledged the highly-rated skills of Vettel, with whom he worked as a rookie at Toro Rosso in 2008.

"He is incredibly mature," Berger said. "It is true he is still making mistakes, but I put that in the category of lacking experience.

"His biggest problem is that he probably underestimated Mark Webber."

Berger's most flattering comments are reserved for Rosberg, who has surprised many observers this year by looking more competitive than his illustrious Mercedes teammate Michael Schumacher.

"For me, Nico is on par with Vettel. He just needs the right car now to begin winning.

"He has shown this year that he makes very few mistakes, that his setup is usually right, and that he is mostly ahead of Michael Schumacher.

"If Rosberg and Vettel were sitting in identical cars, I would not know who to put my money on," the former McLaren and Ferrari driver said.

Berger is also impressed with Sutil, who has driven for F1's Silverstone based team - as Spyker and now Force India - since 2007.

"Last year I was laughing at him," Berger said.

"I would never have believed he has this much potential. His speed is tremendous, and his mistakes have reduced dramatically.

"For me, with Rosberg, he is the surprise of the season."

Less impressive, according to Berger, is Nico Hulkenberg, but he is willing to give the Williams rookie some more time to prove himself.

"He is in a learning phase. He makes many more mistakes than Vettel and Rosberg did when they began, but Sutil was the same.

"I think Hulkenberg's mistakes are normal for a first year. If everything goes right, he is almost at the level of Barrichello -- and that's a compliment.

"Barrichello is certainly the best man of the second league, and with his vast experience he doesn't make mistakes," Berger added.

(GMM)

 

Ducati Moves Rossi Closer To F1: Father

Valentino Rossi's switch of MotoGP teams has moved him closer to Formula One, according to his father.

The flamboyant motorcycle rider will move from Yamaha, his team for the past seven years, to the Italian marque Ducati for 2011 and 2012.

And his father Graziano, also a former motorcycle world championship rider, thinks the switch moves his son closer to F1.

"Valentino is not yet able to stop with the motorcycles," Rossi Snr told Italy's Sky Sport.

"But if in three or four years he will get into Formula One, then what better road than with Ducati?" Graziano added. "This seems like a big step forward."

Ducati and Ferrari share a common sponsor in Marlboro, traditionally appearing together for the start-of-season Madonna di Campiglio media event.

Rossi has tested Ferrari's F1 cars on several occasions, and figures in the Maranello based team's push to contest grands prix with three cars.

(GMM)

 

Red Bull To 'Lose Out' On Spa Straights: Horner

Christian Horner is concerned that F1's forthcoming rounds at Spa-Francorchamps and Monza could be tough challenges for the 2010 Red Bull car.

The RB6 was utterly dominant on the tight curves of Hungary recently, but the famous Belgian and Italian circuits - featuring long stretches that favour the strongest engines - could not be more different.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said the Red Bull's advantage is most noticeable at circuits that require high levels of downforce.

But at Spa, only moderate aerodynamic grip is required.

"It is in the twisty second sector that we will have to make up time," team boss Horner said.

"Down the hill to Eau Rouge, and on the long straight and then back to the finish, we will lose out," he said.

After winning in Hungary at the end of a dominant weekend for Red Bull, Mark Webber insisted that the team cannot be complacent about the next races.

"You get the same amount of points for all of them, but they will provide different challenges for us as a team and technically for the cars," he said.

He said the main weakness of the Red Bull package at the lower downforce circuits is the Renault engine.

"We know we don't have the most powerful engine," Webber said.

(GMM)

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