By Alan Baldwin
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Nico Rosberg has blamed a strong gust of wind for the mistake that handed Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton his third Formula One world championship in Texas last Sunday.
Rosberg had been leading the race when he went wide at turn 16 seven laps from the finish in Austin, an error that allowed Hamilton to pass and take victory and the title.
The German had said afterwards that he was baffled by the mistake but he told reporters at the Mexican Grand Prix on Thursday that he now had an explanation.
"It was a gust of wind," he said. "A big one. I'm serious, actually.
"But everybody has it so you can't really use it as an excuse. It is still a mistake but I understand my mistake now and that's important.
"For me to understand it, that it was a very unusual scenario which happened just once in all those laps and everything... that helps me a lot moving forward."
If Rosberg had won in Austin, after starting on pole, the championship would have remained open until Mexico at least but the German is now fighting to finish second with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel still ahead.
Rosberg, whose team have also retained their constructors' title, said his approach for the last three races would not change.
"OK, the constructors' is done and the drivers' is done but I want to win, I'm sure Lewis wants to win, Vettel wants to win. So it's just going to be a battle pretty much as usual actually."
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)