Q&A with Williams Nico Rosberg 28 Mar 2009
After years of drought Nico Rosberg and Williams are ready for a high. And the odds never looked as good as during this Melbourne weekend, where a glimpse of the glory days of the past has returned to the Grove team. And of course it is a relief for Rosberg, who has been unable to show his true colours for some time. Now he is poised to end up on the podium
Q: Nico, are you satisfied with how the qualifying went for you?
Nico Rosberg: The good news is that I am dissatisfied with P5, because more would have been possible - and that is something that has not happened so often until now. But at the same time P5 is bad news because there was such a small time gap between the first 10 cars that more should have been possible. But what became visible is that we are the second power behind the Brawns here in Melbourne - if you take the performance from the practice sessions - and that is really sensational.
Q: So after dominating all three practice sessions you had appetite for more?
NR: Of course! We probably had less fuel than the others in remembrance of our experiences from last year, but nevertheless it felt like wow, now we have to jump at the opportunity!
Q: How did that immense performance increase happen? At the last tests you hadnt been overly optimistic
NR: That nobody knows. Neither I nor the team has a real explanation why we are suddenly holding P5 on the grid, why for example we are in front of the Ferraris, the Toyotas. We simply dont know at this very moment why we are so strong, so we have to be careful because Melbourne is not the standard track like Malaysia or Bahrain - it is a street track and there apply different rules.
Q: If you say more was possible, was it the car or you that stood in the way of a better grid position?
NR: I could not pinpoint it to anything because the car feels really good, it is well balanced, I can attack with it and I have a lot of confidence.
Q: Is there the thought in the back of your mind that you will start the season well - just like last year - and then the performance level will go down?
NR: Thats why I said that we have to be careful with this weekends experience as we also started last years season on high hopes. What is different to last year is that I didnt finish the three practice sessions at the top of the time sheet and did not qualify on P5. So there is a difference, but we have to be cautious to keep that momentum.
Q: What about the problem with the setting sun? Many drivers complained that they have a problem with it. Could that create dangerous situations?
NR: Well, it is true. In some moments the sun is so direct in your eyes that you almost cannot see the track. And yes, that can create dangerous moments. In such a case everyman would ease off the throttle - but that is what we are not supposed to do.
Q: How do you see the diffuser row? Have some got it right and others missed the trend?
NR: I dont know. The only thing I know is that our car is legal because it was thoroughly checked and declared to conform to the rules.
Q: How much advantage would you say this diffuser brings?
NR: I was speaking with the engineers and they said that they are sure that other teams have tried as well to go into that direction but have not been able to extract an advantage from it. So I dont think it is only that part but rather the concept of the whole car that makes the difference.
Q: All teams without such a diffuser are likely to have one by the Barcelona race. What advantage will that give you for those races until then?
NR: By Barcelona we will also have developed our car to a new stage so I would say that the teams who are behind now will have a difficult time to catch up.
Q: If you look at the results of qualifying they show that it was no disadvantage without KERS. Will that also be valid for the race?
NR: I would say that here in Melbourne KERS was not of any help. If it can make a little difference in the race I dont know.
Q: What about the tyres? Many drivers complained about the soft tyres
NR: These soft tyres fall apart like I have never seen before so strategy will play a big part in tomorrows race. My guess is that everybody will start on the harder ones which will be a very slippery affair - and extra care will be needed.
Q: Where do you see yourself at the chequered flag? On the podium?
NR: That is within reach, yes.