Tag Archives: Nico Rosberg

Toto Wolff: “We have to stay with both feet on the ground…”

Mercedes F1 chief Toto Wolff insists that the team has to keep its feet on the ground despite its flying start to the season.

Wolff pointed to the fact that Nico Rosberg had to work hard to get up to second place in China after dropping as low as seventh on the first lap.

“It was not easy in the first stint, in terms of performance, the cars were different,” said Wolff when asked by this writer. “Nico lost the telemetry before the formation lap, so you’re basically blind in the car. The way he handled the situation was really good. In the first stint it wasn’t easy for him to overtake cars, and he was following Ricciardo, and there was just no way even on the straight to get past him.

“It just shows you need to get things right, and you have to qualify well. Then at the end strategy-wise we took the right decisions. We were pushing the second stint quite long because we knew that at the end he had to manage the tyres, and this is I guess why Alonso had to back off at a certain stage, because he knew he was not going to finish the race on that pace.”

Regarding the opposition, he said: “We have to be cautious. They’re coming, you saw Alonso today, you saw Ricciardo, last stint again times to our cars. It is quite interesting because what you saw also in the last couple of races that you have situations in the race on worn tyres where suddenly the times seem to be much more closed up.

“As I mentioned Ricciardo was matching Lewis’s times and Nico’s times. In the second stint it wasn’t the case, Lewis was holding but Nico was struggling behind Ricciardo. So we have to find out the way our competitors supply the energy and how the efficiency and fuel consumption works, because it looks like sometimes they go faster and then they don’t seem to manage it until the end of the race.”

Wolf admits the start to the season was better than expected, despite the clear hints from testing.

“Yes it is better. I think you cannot go into a season with these new regulations and think we’re going to make four wins in a row. And I guess that also in a couple of years we’ll look back at the statistics and say, wow, that was a run. You can’t take it for granted. You spot yourself looking… We have one car leading and the other car is fifth or sixth, and you say that’s not good. We have to stay with both feet on the ground and keep the development curve steep and keep pushing, because no doubt it’s going to close up.”

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Video: Nico Rosberg on third place in Abu Dhabi

Nico Rosberg logged another podium with third place in Abu Dhabi, having run second in the first part of the race until he lost out to Mark Webber. Here’s what he has to say about his weekend.

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Nico Rosberg: “The sport is still massively exciting…”

Nico Rosberg doesn’t go along with suggestions that F1 is boring – and says that he always thinks he has a chance of beating Sebastian Vettel.

“I go into it with that belief,” he said today. “Even Singapore it was not even a tenth of a second in qualifying. He’s not that far away, and things can always go such that I get a shot.

“They’re doing a great job, Red Bull and Sebastian, both of them together are fantastic. And it’s very difficult to beat them, for sure. But I find still that the sport is still massively exciting, even with his domination, because if you look at Korea I’m sure nine out of 10 people will say it was a great race. And next year there’s a big rule change coming, the chances are that it’s going to mix things up again and just keep things interesting. That’s my point of view. Of course I would like to end the dominance, personally!”

Meanwhile Rosberg says it’s hard to gauge the potential of Mercedes heading into the Japanese GP, but he believes that the fast nature of Suzuka will play to the strengths of the W04.

“It’s difficult to say at the moment which tracks suit our car and which not. Because if you look at Singapore we were also quick, except for Red Bull. I was the second quickest car except for Vettel. You can’t say our traction is a disaster, because Singapore is traction. I’m not so sure, but if anything maybe my tendency would be to say that high speed corners are even better for us, so this should be a good track for us.”

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Nico Rosberg: “I think a great result is possible…”

Nico Rosberg proved to be the closest challenger to the dominant Sebastian Vettel in Singapore GP qualiying, and the Mercedes driver will start alongside his fellow German in Sunday’s race.

Vettel stood on his time from his first run and left Rosberg and others to attack it with their second runs, and Nico missed stealing pole by just 0.091s.

Unfortunately Sebastian especially has been really quick the whole weekend but it was very, very close in the end,” said Rosberg. “A pity, because one tenth more, with the way they gambled in the last qualifying – one tenth more would have been possible somehow. That would have been great, but anyway, second place is still a good result. And it gives me a good position to start the race tomorrow and I’m also very confident about our race pace. It’s looking OK, so I think a great result is possible.”

Rosberg, who won in Monaco this year, has been quick in Singapore in the past.

I really like street tracks generally. Always been quick on them and again today I felt comfortable with the car. Really the whole weekend, the progress has been nice. Starting on Friday, I wasn’t very happy with the car and everything, wasn’t feeling very good.

We just worked through it, and really optimised it and it was just perfect in qualifying then. It’s just everybody together: me with my engineers, the mechanics, everybody working together well. I’m pleased with second. I think Sebastian was out of reach this weekend, all weekend, so second is OK. And with a good race pace, should be good tomorrow.”

Asked about the chances of beating Vettel he said: “I’ll give it a go. For sure, he’s quicker on race pace, we saw that on Friday so if I can get by, then it’s possible that I can stay in front but it’s all down to the start. I think the left hand side has a little bit less grip than the right hand side on this track at the start but we will see. It’s possible.”

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Tyres still the key for Mercedes at Monaco, says Brawn

Ross Brawn has stressed that tyres will still be the key factor for Mercedes in Monaco, despite the unusual nature of the track.

Mercedes had a strong package in 2012, when Michael Schumacher took pole and Nico Rosberg finished a close second.

“Monaco is a not usually a race to which teams bring many updates because the track conditions change so much across the weekend,” said Brawn. “The priority is always to get the drivers comfortable with the unique challenge the circuit presents, and to give them a set-up they feel confident pushing to the limit.

“Both Nico and Lewis have historically been incredibly competitive in Monaco and this weekend will certainly allow their talent to shine. The engineering team will be focused on getting the most from our car on the slow, bumpy layout and there will of course be particular emphasis on achieving tyre consistency and durability.

“Meanwhile, our work continues back at Brackley and Brixworth to fully understand the reasons for our below-par race performance in Barcelona, in order to develop the right solutions for the upcoming circuits where high tyre usage could once again be a limitation for us.”

Meanwhile Toto Wolff added: “It is clear to everybody in the team that, while we have a strong car right now, we are not able to use that performance properly on Sunday afternoon. Although overtaking in Monaco is difficult, we cannot afford to be complacent in terms of tyre management and we will need to do significantly better than we managed in Barcelona in order to score a strong result.

“We have only scored points with one of our cars at the past three races and this is something we must improve quickly, beginning next weekend in Monte Carlo.”

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