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Exclusive Nico Rosberg Q&A: Schumacher’s not such a beast 30 Jul 2010

(L to R): Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP and Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Hungarian Grand Prix, Preparations, Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, 29 July 2010 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Budapest, Hungary, Friday, 30 July 2010 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP signs autographs for the fans.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, German Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Hockenheim, Germany, Saturday, 24 July 2010 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Budapest, Hungary, Friday, 30 July 2010 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Hungarian Grand Prix, Preparations, Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, 29 July 2010

Mercedes GP’s Nico Rosberg is in a perfect place. His first win might still be proving elusive, but his standing in the paddock has rocketed since he’s been outperforming seven-time champion team mate Michael Schumacher. So, with the pressure off, when that maiden victory finally comes his way, he’ll be ready for it…

Q: Nico, how surprised are you for about your season so far? It must be a confidence boost as it could have been quite different…
Nico Rosberg:
Well, the situation you’re referring to is obviously how I’ve compared to my team mate. I am very pleased with how it’s gone, but of course it was difficult to judge how difficult it would be for Michael to come back. There have been some difficult races, for sure, but lately it is closer than it probably looks from the outside. I still expect it to be a very demanding rivalry with him and that it will be difficult to beat him from time to time. And regarding my self-confidence, I feel good in the team, I have integrated very well, everybody is very respectful and we work very well as a team. Generally it’s a good situation that I’m in - and probably that shows!

Q: How much ‘ruthlessness’ have you had to develop to face the legend that is Schumacher?
NR:
He is not such a ‘beast’ as a lot of people say. It’s been good working with him and it’s a great experience for me from every angle. We work well together and it is almost amazing that we often have the same opinion about new developments. It helps a lot and welds us together.

Q: You signed with the reigning champions but they have obviously found it tough this year. Is it still preferable to having a super-fast car but always being outpaced by your team mate?
NR:
I would definitely prefer the super car and being outpaced by my team mate. Or to be precise, I would be able to fight for wins and if the team mate is quicker than me, so be it - that happens. It would not be the end of the world either if he’s the best of all time.

Q: Your team mate was the poster boy of the ‘team orders’ era. What’s your opinion on Ferrari’s tactics in Germany?
NR:
To start off, I am not saying that Ferrari used team orders. They say that they haven’t. From my point of view it was Felipe (Massa) who decided to let his team mate pass. It sure is a difficult situation and I find it impressive that he is such a team player towards his team mate. If something like that happened to me… well, it wouldn’t. Mercedes would never say that I should let my team mate pass.

Q: You are still to win a race. How much does the stigma of that bother you?
NR:
Well, I would like to win my first race soon. That has not changed. But that ‘stigma’ thing is what other people think. In the end it shouldn’t have such an importance. It was never an issue for me personally.

Q: Self-motivation obviously leads you to say that you’re still fighting for the championship. How disappointing is it that three podiums is the most you’ve achieved so far?
NR:
Ah, now I would relax that statement because it (the championship) is becoming rather unlikely. I think at the moment we are fourth in the team pecking order, but of course that’s not where we want to be so we are working very hard to change that.

Q: How is the vibe in the team?
NR:
Well, the vibe is really, really good. We have such a great leadership with Ross (Brawn) and Norbert (Haug). They are a very competent and impressive management team. The vibe is good even though we are not achieving right now what we aimed for, but everybody is committed and everybody believes that it will happen sooner or later. We have a big advantage for the future as we are already a team within the new regulations from 2011 on. Ferrari and McLaren for example still have that painful sinking process ahead of them. And for this season there are still some very important updates in the pipeline, so we should be stronger towards the end of the season.

Q: Last year you performed pretty strongly in the Williams, finishing in P4 here in Budapest. Will the car and track work well together again this weekend?
NR:
Well, today was not the perfect day and that shows in the timesheets. But over the course of the weekend I am confident that I will do better than I did last year. The podium is clearly my goal but that actually could be difficult. If it is not podium, then I want P4 - just like last year. But I am convinced that I will do better than in Hockenheim that is for sure.