Tag Archives: Rosberg

Toto Wolff: “The best Nico Rosberg I have ever seen…”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says that Nico Rosberg’s drive to victory in Singapore was the best the German has produced so far.

Rosberg took pole, left Lewis Hamilton far behind in the race, and then held on to defeat a charging Daniel Ricciardo in the closing laps.

“I’ve known Nico since 2013 and that is the best Nico Rosberg I have ever seen throughout a weekend since then,” said Wolff.

“We have the tendency of saying that Lewis has an awesome pace, and this is what we have seen with Nico this weekend – he was just blindingly fast. He was sixth tenths quicker than P2 in qualifying in Singapore – something we are not used to seeing at all here.

“And in the same way he drove the race. He had a great start, controlled the pace and on the contrary, Lewis didn’t have a clean weekend, he was lacking laps in order to find the right set-up so he couldn’t really choose the direction and from then on went backwards.

“Spa wasn’t a real good opportunity for him because of the engine penalty and here it just started on the wrong foot. And he couldn’t recover. In Singapore if you are lacking laps in free practice and lacking direction on where to take the set-up, it is a vicious circle and confidence is key around Singapore and if your team mate gets out of the block in the way Nico did this weekend it becomes very difficult. Lewis is the first one to acknowledge that.

Regarding the change of momentum in the title battle he said: “We have the tendency of talking one up and the other one down. We have had this since three years, since the two of them have been fighting for the championship, you have seen those waves.

“I remember talking about Lewis’ momentum a couple of weeks ago and suddenly we have this mega Nico weekend, and in two weeks we will see if that changes or stays the same in Malaysia.”

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Nico Rosberg: “I didn’t expect Lewis to turn in…”

Nico Rosberg is adamant that he was not at fault in the last lap collision with Lewis Hamilton in Austria, despite the FIA stewards deciding otherwise.

Rosberg insisted that he had left enough space for his team mate, and that he was surprised when Lewis turned in.

So, I am on the inside, I have the right to defend,” said Rosberg. “I don’t need to take the ideal line and I have Lewis on the outside and I wanted to keep him there. Of course always leaving him track space, that‘s clear, that is always the intention. That‘s it.

It is a fact he had space. You can look at the on-board, and all the other cameras. Of course after the collision it may look like no, because I am airborne, and I lose grip, so of course it takes me further out of the track. And after that it may look like there was less space, but that‘s irrelevant because it was after a collision. I just want to repeat, at all times there was space, prior to the collision.

I am just extremely frustrated because for me I had the win in the bag, and even in the moment I was sure that I’m in a good position here to defend and win this even, just instances before the collision. Because the collision completely took me by surprise, I didn’t expect Lewis to turn in.”

Asked if he could apportion blame he said: “I can say that for sure I didn’t drive into anybody because I had the car fully under control at all times, I didn’t lock up or anything. Completely under control. And him turning in completely took me by surprise. He apparently said in a TV interview that I was in his blind spot, and so maybe that is why he turned in. Maybe that is a possible explanation.”

Rosberg insisted that he wasn’t thinking about longer term ramifications for his relationship with Hamilton,

I don’t think of a big picture like that. I am just thinking about today, I’m gutted, and that‘s it. Why think back or forward or whatever? I‘ve lost the race and he won it, I am the guy who suffered from the collision, and he didn’t. That is it. I was unlucky, he got lucky.”

Asked if he’d discussed it with Lewis he said: “I wanted to discuss it before but he didn’t feel the need to because I wanted to hear why he turned in.”

 

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Barcelona clash now history, Mercedes insists

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg insist that they have put their controversial Barcelona clash behind them.

Both Mercedes drivers and their boss Toto Wolff say that the matter is closed, and their focus is now on Monaco.

Barcelona was the worst feeling but, like I always say, the true test is how you get back up when you’ve been knocked down,” said Hamilton. “It was a tough moment for all of us after the race, but it’s now chapter closed and looking ahead to Monaco.”

I was gutted after what happened in Spain,” said Rosberg. “For myself, but mostly for the team. We’re in this together and I know how hard everybody works to make these amazing cars, so for us to leave them both in the gravel is the worst possible scenario. But we’ve talked it through and now it’s time to leave it in the past.”

Clearly, Barcelona was tough to take,” said Wolff. “We came away upset at an opportunity missed, but this is racing. The drivers know how we operate. The team is responsible for giving them the best possible cars and they are responsible for getting the best out of them, and for bringing them home. When we let them down, we apologise to the, and the same goes the other way. It’s a pretty normal culture – we deal with setbacks together and we move on.”

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Rosberg on the W07: “I felt at home straight away…”

The Mercedes W07 became the first 2016 F1 car to run any laps when it took to the track at Silverstone at 1015 this morning, in the hands of Nico Rosberg.

As has become a tradition Mercedes used one of its promotional or filming days to shake the car down on Pirelli ‘demo’ tyres, prior to the start of official testing at Barcelona on Monday.

Lewis Hamilton took over later in the day, and between them the drivers completed 98.2kms of running.

It’s been a special day, it’s always a great experience,” Rosberg told Sky TV’s tenacious Craig Slater, who had waited all day outside the track front gates. “I know so much about this car, but everything on paper – numbers, aerodynamic values, and what everybody has been telling me, and now to see it all come together last night in the factory.

They worked all night for the last I don’t know how many nights, and then how impressed everyone was with the details, all the mechanics got their first look at it, it was a great feeling. And then to take it around today in anger was very enjoyable, just to be out there on my own, just to feel this new machine, it was a good day.

It was a good feeling to start with for sure. I felt at home straight away. I could push as if I raced Abu Dhabi yesterday. A good beginning, but of course I look forward to Barcelona testing now.”

The car will be unveiled on Monday morning in Barcelona, although images will be released this weekend.

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Nico Rosberg: “I don’t have an exact explanation…”

Nico Rosberg’s second straight victory in Brazil was further confirmation that the German has turned his season around – albeit too late to impact the battle for the World Championship.

Rosberg, who has now taken the last five pole positions, continues to admit he had no explanation for the improvement in form.

It feels great to win the races, for sure,” said Rosberg. “Two in a row now, with pole positions as well. It’s just going a lot better at the moment, which I’m happy about that. I don’t have an exact explanation unfortunately, otherwise it would make it all a lot more simple. But of course I’ve been working at it a lot, because Lewis had the upper hand for the first part of the season and so I’m pleased that it’s turned around at the moment.”

One of the talking points of the race was Lewis Hamilton’s request to be put on a different strategy, something the team could not accommodate as it tries to balance the interests of both drivers.

Of course it’s been a discussion that we’ve had many times. In advance you can only go by what you think the computer tells you, which strategy is best, and it wouldn’t really be fair for the guy who is running second to go for the other strategy and then for it to turn out that it was massively the quicker strategy in hindsight, after the race. And as a result, he won the race just because of luck, of the other strategy being so much quicker, and that’s the big problem in there and that’s why it doesn’t make sense in the battle when we’re just battling us two.

Because it should be just me against Lewis and that’s it and no luck involved from one strategy being a bit better than the other, and that’s the reason behind it.”

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Mercedes still perplexed by reliability issues

The ongoing reliability problems at Mercedes have given the team a lot of cause for concern, and team boss Toto Wolff insists that everything is being done that could be done to address the issues.

Mercedes has a group of engineers focussed on improving reliability, and Wolff has faith in their ability.

“We have a great reliability team,” he said. “This is a group of people who are really dedicated to quality, and I’m really proud of their department. Considering that fact it’s even more astonishing that we keep continuing to have those issues.

“If we could make anything more to stop the DNFs, we would do it, I would break my arm again in order to stop the reliability issues! We just have to get on top of the problems.”

Inevitably Mercedes is concerned about how the eventual championship will be perceived, especially if one of the drivers suffers another critical retirement.

“We don’t want to have the spin in there that the championship was decided because one car let the driver down, so we need to refocus, and keep our heads down, and keep concentrating and finding out what we can, what the utmost is which can be done to prevent DNFs and reliability problems.”

Regarding his pep talk with Rosberg he said: “I told him that I was sorry for having let him down. We are doing this in both directions, you need to be just open and have that philosophy in the team that whoever f***s up, you need to take that on you, and he was OK. But there’s not a lot you can do in that moment. It was just important as a team member you shouldn’t be over the moon following the other car that’s in the lead, and one breaks down, you don’t want to have that. You want to balance that.”

Rosberg’s problem in Singapore could not be solved by changing steering wheels.

“It looks like it was a broken loom within the steering column, a loom that was within the duty cycle, it was not something which was going towards the end of its life cycle. It just shut the whole thing down. The only thing which functioned was the gearchange, and then the radio came back. There was no hybrid energy any more.

“When we called him in we changed the steering wheel, tried to get it going, but it wouldn’t. The only way of getting it going would have been to put first gear and high revs, and this is when I said stop. We didn’t want to have a jack flying out of the rear of the car and hurting somebody.”

“The whole thing is going out of the car, it’s going with us to the UK tonight, and we are trying to analyse it in a really forensic way to try to understand where our problems started and why it appeared when he went in the car and was just about to leave the garage.”

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Nico Rosberg: “It was just all over the place…”

Nico Rosberg’s Singapore GP was ruined by an electrical loom problem in the steering column that in effect meant that the controls on the wheel were not communicating with the rest of the car.

After starting from the pit lane and running some slow laps at the back of the field he retired at his first pit stop.

“The toughest day for me this year, definitely the case, even worse than Silverstone, for example,” he said. “It was probably a connection in the steering column, between the steering wheel and car, but not at the steering wheel, so even changing the steering wheel didn’t make a difference. None of the steering wheel functions worked, I had no hybrid power, no DRS. The gear paddles sort of worked, which was strange, but they would always upshift two gears at a time, so I had no fourth gear, I had no sixth gear, it was just all over the place. And that’s why I was also very, very slow.

“And my brake balance was completely in the wrong place, because I couldn’t brake properly, and I couldn’t change that. Even coming into the pit stop I didn’t have the pit limiter, I couldn’t go into neutral, I couldn’t do anything. So they were going to jack me up, I have to go full speed, and then they drop the car and I go sort of thing. Then they decided it was too dangerous, I don’t know what, and we called it a day.”

The frustrating thing for Nico was that when the car was warmed up with a mechanic in the cockpit, there was no sign of a problem.

“[It started] as I got in the car in the garage. They’d sat in the car five times just before I got in, doing all sorts of checks, everything was OK, then I got in the car, and it didn’t work any more. Which is crazy.”

Rosberg was off in the pace in the few laps he did, but said he hadn’t given up: “Even then I still had hope, because if all of a sudden things had come alive, then even then I still I had a race, with safety cars and everything. Until they switched my car off and pushed it in the garage I still believed in doing a good race.”

Rosberg admitted he was disappointed with reliability: “From a team perspective reliability is our weakness, and we need to get to the bottom of today, and just keep on pushing and try and improve on that. That’s the key thing for us.

“It’s clear that that is the point that we need to focus most on, because the performance is there, again in the race today, very strong, it’s just reliability that needs to be improved.”

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