From podium to pitlane pile-up - Nico Rosberg on 2008 to date 17 Jun 2008
Exclusive interview with Williams' Nico Rosberg
Nobody ever doubted Nico Rosberg has what it takes to be a serious player in Formula One. It was just a question of when he would get a car good enough to let him show his skill. At the season opener in Melbourne, the Williams FW30 was that car. Since then, reliability, good fortune and even his own judgment have at times deserted him. But the young German is determined to bounce back, safe in the knowledge that boss Frank Williams - a real racer at heart - will do all he can to give him the car he deserves
Q: Nico, you had a fulfilling start to the season with your podium in Melbourne, but since then luck has deserted you somewhat
Nico Rosberg: What a start Melbourne was! On that day in March everything came together perfectly. But from there on we started to struggle a little bit more at the normal high-speed tracks like Malaysia, Barcelona and Istanbul, where we havent been too strong. But we knew that before the season anyway - that under normal circumstances we would be behind the top six cars, and that wed be fighting for seventh or eighth place in order to get points. And thats what we did: we were eighth twice - so just behind the top teams - and that worked quite well. Since then weve lost out a little bit. Other teams have developed a little bit faster, so we have to be really careful for the next races.
Q: Fast forwarding to the last round in Canada, qualifying fifth was your best result since last years Belgian Grand Prix. The car must have been working well
NR: Yes, in Montreal - and also in Monaco - we definitely had a good car. I say good - good is a McLaren - but good for our situation. Unfortunately we didnt make the best of it - or me, rather. Lets put it that way: I didnt make the best of it. But both tracks are probably the most difficult in the season, where luck often defines the result - and unfortunately it didnt go my way. In Montreal I wasnt the only one, but that doesnt really help afterwards. Sure it was a huge disappointment because we had a very realistic chance of a good result. Now we have to look forward and try to improve on those quicker tracks.
Q: The pitlane incident in Canada. Can you give us your view of the situation as it happened?
NR: Until then everything was fantastic. I was very comfortable and we were beating a Ferrari, beating a McLaren, beating a BMW - there were only three cars ahead of me. I was very certain that I would score points. And then there was the pit stop. It didnt cross my mind that the pitlane would be red - and if you dont expect something then you can easily go wrong. The same goes for Lewis (Hamilton), but then again this doesnt help as there is no such saying in Formula One that a problem shared is a problem halved. It was a pity.
Q: You said that youd never came across a red light at the end of the pitlane. Was it really such a surprise?
NR: It was not such a surprise because its happened to a lot of people - or lets say a handful of people - who have already gone through the red light: Massa, Barrichello, Montoya. Its just so unexpected, but the fact is you should know by now. Then again youre in a racing situation and you must not underestimate that in a car there are so many things you have to do. The best explanation I have is that it slipped my mind.
Q: The stewards decision for you and Lewis is a ten-place relegation on the grid at this weekends French Grand Prix. What is your stance on that? Is it justified?
NR: Moving ten places back on the grid, thats really not very good for us as it probably destroys this race weekend too. And thats an even worse situation. But yes, I think its justified. If it had been me alone it wouldnt have been justified because then I wouldnt have destroyed anybody elses race. But in that situation, as it occurred, it is ok.
Q: And what does it mean for your race weekend and the teams strategy?
NR: What it means for my race weekend I cannot answer at this point. Ask me on Saturday after qualifying. And team strategy? It will be a normal race preparation. Very likely under these circumstances we will focus more on the fuel load - and hope for rain!
Q: Last weeks test was about getting the car fit for Magny-Cours. What were you concentrating on?
NR: We have made big progress as we learnt a lot - especially about how we can improve on tracks like Magny-Cours and Silverstone. We really found something strong, I think. We did introduce some new parts - aero parts, and also mechanical. More I cannot say.
Q: Kazuki Nakajima has had a very strong season so far, given his rookie status. He has seven points - only one shy of your total. Do you feel pressure from your team mate, as hes your first challenger?
NR: Yes, I agree, hes done relatively well - but that was expected of him as otherwise he wouldnt have been taken on by Williams. And I hope that he can continue to be of assistance to the team in the constructors championship. And as for your team mate being your first challenger, fact is there are 19 guys out there I have to come to terms with to succeed - its not only one!