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Nico Rosberg Q&A: Mercedes 'very quick' this year 24 Mar 2011

Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 24 March 2011 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W02.
Formula One Testing, Day 5, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 12 March 2011 (L to R): Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP with Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 24 March 2011 (L to R): Ross Brawn (GBR) Mercedes GP Team Principal with Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP; Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP; and Norbert Haug (GER) Mercedes Sporting Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 24 March 2011 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 24 March 2011

In his debut seasons of Formula BMW, Formula Three Euroseries and GP2, Mercedes GP’s Nico Rosberg notched up podiums, victories and even championships. Over five Formula One seasons, he has scored five podium places and 217.5 world championship points, but a Grand Prix win remains elusive. This season, however, is already looking like the German’s best chance yet, as he explained exclusively to Formula1.com…

Q: Nico, the time for tactical games is over. This weekend Mercedes has to show its true colours. What will they look like?
Nico Rosberg:
You are right, this time is over. I think that we can be where we have been in testing, and that was very quick. Sure, we were not the quickest car, but we should be close to the front. And this is good. We should be able to achieve our target, which is to be better than last year and this could be possible.

Q: Your team mate Michael Schumacher’s fastest lap time in Barcelona received a lot of hype, even though Sebastian Vettel argued that it was set with an extremely light car. Was it just a morale booster or are you really as good as that time suggests? Couldn’t you show that pace before?
NR:
We could not show this in the tests before, simply because our car was slow back then. At the Barcelona tests the car was much quicker, even though the car was light on fuel. We basically know how much fuel the other teams are running on, and taking this into consideration, we can assume where we are and we think that we are very quick this year.

Q: And why did you then back pedal? Was it so you didn’t send expectations soaring?
NR:
We set the quickest time of the weekend, but we know that we are not the quickest car in the field. So of course the result was a bit exaggerated and did not 100 percent show where we are realistically. So the back-pedalling was more of a statement about where we really are, and this is still looking good.

Q: Massive upgrades were promised for Melbourne. What are they?
NR:
They are mainly aerodynamic upgrades, and also various exhaust changes. Still, in Barcelona we were already running the Melbourne car. We just carried out some fine-tuning, and there were also some bits and pieces missing that we now have in place.

Q: Schumacher said that he hopes there could be some wins waiting in the wings for him. What about you?
NR:
Of course I do hope to win my first race. For now we have to be a little lucky and also have a good strategy in place. The races are quite a complicated matter, and since we have good strategists in the team, like Ross Brawn, we can hope and then we have to wait and see. Strategically we have a very good standing.

Q: Melbourne has always been good to you. From five starts here you’ve been in the points four times, mostly with inferior cars. Do you have a love affair with this track?
NR:
This track really suits me well, so from that point of view it should be a good weekend.

Q: There are still lots of question marks hanging over the Pirelli tyres. This weekend you’ll have an extra set. Did you welcome this move? How do you find the tyres?
NR:
I like the Pirellis a lot, and I think that they can help create an exiting race. To have the additional set of tyres for the weekend will benefit not only us, but also the fans.

Q: During the tests and at the European rounds you lodge in your own motorhome. Do you like to feel at home when you are not at home? Is it a pain to be in a hotel here in Australia?
NR:
Of course I have got used to this fact, but with the hotels there are always these things with the traffic, and so forth. I prefer staying in my motorhome, as I think it is easier. But here in Melbourne I have to say that the hotel is fantastic.

Q: Last year when he was asked who is the prettiest woman in the paddock Sebastian Vettel jokingly mentioned you. Who do you think has the loosest tongue in the paddock?
NR:
Being loose tongued is normally not a very good thing to be, but I would say that Bernie (Ecclestone) is the one with the loosest tongue, and in his case this is very good, as someone in his position must be quick-witted.

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