Tag Archives: Rosberg

Rosberg unconcerned by Hamilton advantage in Austria

Nico Rosberg is unconcerned by a 0.4s deficit to Lewis Hamilton on supersoft tyres in FP2 today – and says that he was able to make up the difference when it counted in the last race in Canada.

“It was there in Montreal also,” said Rosberg of the gap. “When it was qualifying I was right where I needed to be.”

Rosberg admitted that he’d experienced a few problems today.

“We were just working through everything and trying to optimise everything for tomorrow. There were a few things that weren’t ideal. We were just really pushing on and trying to sort everything out.

“It’s a new track, so it’s always a learning process every lap. As I say there’s a few areas of the car, like braking and general balance, and it was bouncing a lot down the straight just now, and that goes into the braking zone this bouncing. It’s a very unusual feeling, so we need to try and look into that.”

Regarding the tyres he said: “Graining was a very big issue, my rear tyres were completely grained. But I think it’s the same for everybody, especially on the softer tyre. On the harder tyre it’s OK.”

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Nico Rosberg: “It’s me against him, and there’s nobody else…”

Nico Rosberg says that the tension with Lewis Hamilton is recent weeks is to be expected given that they are both fighting for the World Championship – and he adds that their relationship has has its ups and downs over the years.

“I didn’t see it as too unusual, we’ve always had periods when it was more difficult,” said Rosberg today. “We have that base respect that goes back 15 years, and that’s the important one, and as a result we always then discuss things and move on. And that’s how it’s been this time.

“It’s not changed in any way, it’s still the same as it used to be, so it’s not different. Of course, it’s more difficult, that’s clear. We’re fighting every single race weekend, it’s me against him, and there’s nobody else. That definitely makes it more difficult. There’s more at stake, there is the opportunity of winning the championship this year, and that’s the ultimate goal in racing. So there’s a lot at stake.”

Asked if he was surprised that there were flashpoints so early in the season, he said: “Am I surprised that we are having certain difficulties early on when we’re fighting for every race win? No. They’ve always been there, even back in go-karting we’ve had difficulties, because even then we were racing every time for the race wins. So I’m not surprised, no.”

He also admitted that the psychological aspect to their battle was important: “In sports the mental [side] is always a part, it’s always like that. It’s always there, and I do think about it. In sports that is a big factor, the mental side to it.”

Meanwhile Nico downplayed any comparisons with the Prost/Senna battle at McLaren.

“I have heard that, and in a way I’m honoured or whatever to hear those comparisons, because that was an extremely high level and big battle, leading the way at the time. But then I leave it at that. I don’t really compare myself at all to that era, I want to do my own thing and go my own way, and that’s it. I don’t read too much into it.”

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Lauda expects Rosberg to bounce back

Niki Lauda is confident that Nico Rosberg can bounce back despite losing out to team mate Lewis Hamilton in the last three races.

The Mercedes F1 boss compared the situation to his battle with Alain Prost at McLaren 30 years ago.

“Things happen, I had the same with Prost in the old days,” he told this writer. “No worries. He will work on himself, and improve. I’m not worried about him at all. He will come back.”

Lauda is adamant that there will be no team orders: “We don’t need to manage anything, just let them race. We only want to make sure there is no third guy involved. Then I’m happy. At the moment we are very well on the right track, but things can change.”

Meanwhile he’s delighted with the way Mercedes has started the season.

“It’s been a perfect operation, we can’t complain. Everything has worked out very well. But I have to say for a new start with new engines, new gearboxes and new cars for me the most outstanding thing is that all four races were won by Mercedes, three by Hamilton and one by Rosberg. This for me is the outstanding performance.

“If you are in a formula which is running for a while, and then you win a couple of races in a row, this is fine. But in this particular difficult year, this is the most outstanding job they did, the engine and car people.”

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Nico Rosberg: “It was a big thrill during the race…”

Nico Rosberg learned valuable lessons from the Bahrain GP, where he fought closely with team mate Lewis Hamilton – but ultimately lost out in their wheel-to-wheel fight.

“I’ve reviewed Bahrain, and just tried to learn from it, picked out the good things from it, what can I do better,” said Rosberg in China today. “The key lesson from Bahrain – for sure I learned about battling, definitely a lot about that, because it’s not so common, to have many corner battles and things like that. That was very good experience, I definitely picked up many things there.”

Asked if he expected the rest of the season to see similar battles, he said: “If I had a choice I would say preferably not, I would prefer just going into the distance in the front. But it’s more likely that it’s going to be continue to be a close fought battle, which is also OK. It was a big thrill during the race, not after the race, but during the race it was, and really enjoyable. That’s what racing is about.”

Rosberg said he had no problems with Lewis Hamilton’s driving other than the one time he mentioned it on the radio.

“That was the only example where I came on the radio which I thought was above the limits, all the other examples were really tough racing, but with the necessary respect.

“[It was] the rate at which he was pushing me out, because the if the rate is too fast I will struggle to avoid the accident. If you’re on the inside you’re the boss, it’s your corner, as long as you’re in front. As soon as the other guy gets in front – and it was centimetres from me being in front in Turn 4 sometimes – but I just didn’t manage to get those 5-10cms in front, it was just even, and as long as you’re even it’s still the inside that has the say. So it’s the rate, and I found the rate above the limit, which is why I said it on the radio.”

Rosberg said he didn’t feel he had to be more aggressive in their next battle.

“I attacked quite a lot and went for it, even when I was not even close to being in a position, I just dived down the inside and give a go. I thought my attacking mode was pretty much there, anything more on more than one occasion meant that we don’t finish the race! Of course it was something I’ll keep adapting and keep reviewing, if there’s more battles like that.”

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Lowe not stressed about allowing Merc drivers to race

Paddy Lowe says he wasn’t worried about allowing Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg to race each other in Bahrain as he was confident they would be responsible.

Lowe came on the radio during the safety car period and told both men that the priority was to bring the cars home – but that was not a coded message to hold station, as they subsequently proved.

“To be honest I didn’t get overly stressed about it,” said Lowe. “Because I know they’re great professionals, they’re experienced drivers, they know what it takes. I gave them a little bit of a reminder during the safety car, just remember it’s all about bringing the car home. But that didn’t mean don’t race, it just meant there’s a line not to cross, which is where you endanger the car. They did a perfect job with that.”

Lowe agreed that Mercedes had a duty to allow the drivers to race, and put on a show.

“I would say, yes. Imagine if we had imposed team orders from lap two or something. What a terrible thing that would be for F1, and the philosophy of Mercedes in motor sport. It’s something we owe to ourselves and owe to the sport, and owe to the drivers. They’re great drivers. They’re professionals, and you want to give them the opportunity to race, which is what they do.

“Theoretically there may come a point in the season where one driver is clearly not in contention for the championship, and the other one is. That situation is normally so evident that the other driver volunteers to assist the cause.”

The drivers ran different strategies in the race, with Rosberg taking on the medium tyre in the middle stint to give him better pace on the soft at the end, when Lewis was on the medium.

“We split the strategy in order to give a chance for an overtake on Lewis. That strategy was quite evenly matched relative to the option option prime. Then of course with the safety car that created a situation where two cars which ordinarily would have had a gap suddenly close up, with the car behind on the option. In terms of entertainment, you couldn’t have set it up better.

“The difference in the tyres appeared lower than we predicted and we’d seen in the practice sessions it was somewhere between three to five tenths, as it turned out. Nevertheless Lewis did a great job to keep Nico behind with that delta.”

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Video: Nico Rosberg on his Australian win

Here’s what a very happy Nico Rosberg has to say about his Australian GP victory.

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Nico Rosberg: “I have an unbelievably quick car…”

Nico Rosberg got his 2014 season off to a perfect start as Mercedes fulfilled the promise it showed in winter testing,

The German jumped Daniel Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton at the start, and when the latter retired almost immediately with engine issues, Rosberg won as he pleased.

“The car was just really, really quick today and the whole team did such a good job on it,” said Rosberg. “A really good engine, not much of a problem with fuel consumption, I didn’t have to worry much about that, pretty much as usual. It just all worked perfectly. Reliability was great. So, fantastic. I’m just so happy for everybody. They work so damn hard, I don’t think people can really imagine how hard everybody works in my team and I’m sure in other teams too – so that’s just the best reward possible. To dominate in such a way the first week, the first race out.”

Rosberg’s only problem was a tyre issue: “I got into a bit of a strange situation in that middle stint because I got graining on the front, and then somehow I was losing temperature, and somehow it started to get really difficult out there. So, I thought I was going to have to come in soon and they just said try to stay out, try to stay out and I did, and then the graining cleared on my tyre and I was off, I was able to go again. It was a bit of a strange period but then it was fine again after that.”

Nico said he wasn’t thinking about leading the championship.

“I don’t think about that. I’m really just in the moment. I have an unbelievably quick car or I had an unbelievably quick car today. It’s such a pleasure to drive. It’s such a great feeling, and I really look forward to the next races so much now, having this.. It’s so fast, it’s great. Of course, it’s still going to be tough and reliability is not 100 percent sorted, there’s still lots of work we need to do and there’s a lot of work ahead of us but it’s a great start and I’m just excited about the result today and sharing it with the whole team. It’s just fantastic.”

He admitted that reliability could still be a weakness.

“I’m not sure what happened to the other car, but for sure it’s a fact that we’re not 100 percent sorted yet. We know that, and the team did a great job to get my car working so well in the race today, but there’s still work to be done. We have two weeks now. We need to identify all the things that we can still do better because even leading up to this weekend, there were still a lot of changes on the car and you don’t really want to be doing that just going to the first race. And also in testing there were still a couple of problems at the end there, so great job, but still things to get sorted.”

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Nico Rosberg: “There will be battles between Lewis and I…”

In all likelihood the Australian GP will quickly develop into a battle between Mercedes team mates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, which begs the question will they be allowed to race?

Given the potential challenges of fuel consumption, tyre durability and of course reliability a team boss could be forgiven for imposing orders, especially when his cars have such a big advantage over the rest. Why waste a guaranteed one-two when the cars are still potentially fragile by risking retirement?

Mercedes has had some issues in the past, notably in Malaysia last year when Rosberg was told to sit behind a fuel saving Hamilton, but team boss Toto Wolff says his drivers won’t be reined in this year.

“They are completely free to race, because this is why we’re here,” said Wolff. “You need to establish rules if you have somebody in the car who doesn’t understand the concept maybe, or is just looking at himself. But I don’t think this is the case with Lewis and Nico. We’ve had some discussions about it, and I don’t think this going to be an issue or a problem.

“I think if you look back at Malaysia last year it was a bit of a perfect storm for us. We were caught out by surprise running third and fourth, then Lewis ran into a bit of a problem, and then Nico caught up, and we weren’t quite sure if Nico would run into a problem, and he got a call, which was quite a direct call, and maybe we would do it in a different way today. This is why it was a tricky and difficult situation to manage.”

Wolff insisted that the ground rules are flexible: “I think it’s very difficult to establish parameters and say that whoever has the first corner stays in front. We’re not doing this. We had a long discussion with Paddy and the boys. It was a very good discussion, and everybody gave his opinion on how we should proceed, and we defined that even if this is difficult to comprehend, where we came from as a team, our main competitors are the other teams. And then we need to make sure that as a team we are running strongly.

“And then it’s to be decided on a case-by-case what’s going in in the cars. I think it could go one race in one direction, and the other race in the other direction. I think pretty much all possible situations we have discussed and found a solution which is acceptable to Nico and to Lewis, and the team.”

Meanwhile Rosberg admitted that the key thing was that everything had been discussed and possible scenarios planned for.

“That is the main thing, yes, it’s to really have a clear picture of what’s going on. I can already, that’s important for the TV, for everybody, for us as a team. That’s exciting, that’s what we’re here for. But within certain limits. Of course you can’t go crazy as team mates because at the same time we’re both racing for Mercedes, we’re both here to have great success for Mercedes, and help bring Mercedes to the front of F1.

“At the same time we want to go racing, have a good time, and do some exciting stuff on track, so we need to find the fine line, and we have done so with preparing for it. We’ve really gone through it in detail, so we know what to expect, and that’s the most important thing. Once everybody knows what he has to do, you’re good to go.”

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No regrets on Mercedes strategy calls, says Wolff

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff admits that the team could have run a different strategy in Singapore – but insists that he has no regrets about that were made.

Both Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton stayed out under the safety car and made a late pit stop under green flag conditions, giving them fresh tyres and thus pace at the end of the race. They finished fourth and fifth.

“In retrospect it’s always easy to say we should have done this,” Wolff said when asked by this writer. “At that stage yes pitting Lewis behind Fernando, seeing that Fernando pits, would have been the right thing, but it also meant not beating Fernando on the strategy, and at that stage it was 35 laps to go, and we didn’t feel that we could do that.

“We didn’t feel that anybody else could do it. I feel that it was a bit of a gamble of the others. Kimi came from so far back that they needed to do it, and I think Stefano [Domenicali] said that they needed to take that gamble, and this time it worked out.”

Wolff admitted that the extended safety car period played into the hands of those who stopped: “It didn’t help us. But it was still a lot of laps. And you could see, I think it was just such a fine line between doing the right call, because if the race had gone three laps more everything could have changed. But then again the fact of being so much in traffic… As I said afterwards it’s easy to be the smart arse. But lots of people had to gamble, the McLarens had to gamble, the Saubers had to gamble and passing all those guys is tricky. Lots of lessons to be learned.”

Meanwhile Wolff was mightily impressed by Red Bull’s form in Singapore.

“The only thing today that you can probably say with guarantee is we have a deserved winner, the performance was absolutely stunning. They have made a major step over the summer, and hearing the comments of the drivers their car is just able to make the tyres work in a proper way.”

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Floor damage hampered Hamilton, says Brawn

Ross Brawn admits that Saturday in Italy was a tough day for Mercedes, as the team failed to get pole for the first time in three months.

Nico Rosberg didn’t quite get his set-up right after missing most of FP3, and had to settle for sixth.

Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton damaged his floor at the Ascari chicane in Q2, which contributed to his later trip over the gravel at Parabolica.

That meant he had everything to do on his final run, and the damage – plus getting caught behind Adrian Sutil – contributed to him getting stuck in 12th place.

“It definitely wasn’t a great day for all of us today,” said Brawn. “We had a reliability issue with Nico in the morning which meant he lost most of the session, and for me Monza is always about confidence for a driver, getting a balance fine tuned and being confident in the car and building up.

“It’s very low downforce, high speed braking, so I think losing that amount of time was always going to be difficult. It meant as a consequence we didn’t really have a great balance on Nico’s car during qualifying.

“Lewis was looking OK, and unfortunately caught a kerb and damaged the car underneath and broke the floor, and we didn’t realise the consequence of that until a bit later in the session. It was irreparable, so that was unfortunate as well.

“It just wasn’t our day, today. Some of it is the nature of motor racing, some of it like the reliability problem with Nico we have to try and do a better job.”

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