Nico Rosberg was one of the unsung heroes of the Canadian GP, despite starting a modest 10th and dropping even further back when delayed by the Massa/Liuzzi incident at the start.
From a lowly 14th, he was able to get back to sixth place by the flag. He also set the third fastest lap, which actually equated to the second best lap, because Robert Kubica took new supersoft tyres with an extra stop 11 laps from home. In effect only Lewis Hamilton was quicker on a similar strategy, and only by 0.026s.
“I’m pleased because I had disastrous qualifying and disastrous first lap,” said Rosberg after the flag. “I was just unlucky, because I had a big mess in front of me the whole time. And then from then on I picked up the positions and could push well. I was pretty quick I think at times. The tyres finally worked a little bit better on our car, because they were really struggling all weekend. So, sixth place is a good result for me.”
Nico admitted that managing the tyres to the flag over a 43-lap stint was a huge challenge.
“It’s really, really difficult. First of all you have a lot of settings in your cockpit, so you can put down the front wing, change the differential settings and all this to help. Then you have to take it very easy. For 30 laps towards the end for the whole 30 laps I never had one wheelspin, never one oversteer, I just drove so smoothly, and that just helps.
“But even then, even though I was driving smoothly I kept looking in my mirrors, and each lap the tyres started breaking a little bit more and a little bit more, and if it breaks completely I know that I am in trouble, especially when trying to race Kubica. But it held on, so it was good.”
Rosberg denies that Mercedes has experienced a drop-off in form recently, and says the team’s problems in Canada related solely to struggles with tyres in qualifying.
“It’s not the case. For the first few races we benefited from doing a better job than we actually deserved, because of weather conditions and things like that.
“Our car is on a similar level still now, and this weekend one really can’t look at, because out tyres weren’t working and other people could get their tyres to work, so you couldn’t even see the performance of our car. So you can’t take it very seriously, this weekend. You need to wait to see where we are in Valencia.”