As he strode into the media pen to face the press after last night's qualifying session, Nico Rosberg heard his name being called out.
"Excuse me, Mr Rosberg?" asked a little boy who had wandered into the pen, holding a cap and a marker.
The Mercedes driver obliged, scrawling an autograph on the cap.
"Thank you," Rosberg responded with just a wry smile.
How could he be happy, after last night's results?
The 30-year-old German could qualify only fifth with a best lap time of 1:45.415, more than 1.5 seconds off quickest qualifier Sebastian Vettel of Ferarri (1:43.885).
Rosberg is desperately trying to close the 53-point gap between teammate Lewis Hamilton and himself for the world drivers' title, but will start tonight's Formula 1 Singpore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix one place behind his rival on the grid.
Rosberg made no attempt to hide his disappointment.
"Very frustrating, it's incredible," he said.
"To be so far back, off the pace... Unbelievable.
"I can't remember the last time I was 1.50sec off the pace. It must have been years ago."
Despite Hamilton blaming tyres for the team's uncharacteristic poor performance last night, Rosberg said the team had not got to the bottom of the problem, although he admitted "for sure, I'm lacking a lot of grip".
"It's really frustrating when you don't understand," he said.
"It's incredible how it can go in a sport that we dominate everywhere, and then we come to Singapore...
"Yeah, it's a very different track, but then to be so slow all of a sudden, relatively of course, is quite incredible."
What, then, would be the best the German can hope for tonight?
"The best scenario? To beat Lewis is important for me of course, to get close on points."
This article was first published on Sept 20, 2015.
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