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Nico Rosberg Q&A: Mercedes have taken a step forward 16 Apr 2011

Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 16 April 2011 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Shanghai, China, Friday, 15 April 2011 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 16 April 2011 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 16 April 2011 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Shanghai, China, Friday, 15 April 2011

So far this season, Mercedes driver Nico Robserg has had very little to smile about. But after qualifying fourth on the grid for Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix, it looks like his MGP W02 has improved. Rosberg discusses his performance on Saturday in Shanghai…

Q: Nico, you must be very pleased with how you performed...
Nico Rosberg:
Absolutely! It was a very positive day for us today. The last few weeks have been very difficult for us, so today is really making up for it a bit. It’s clear we have improved the car with simple, basic things, and of course a lot of hard work too. It is nice to see, even though we’re not where we want to be yet. But clearly we have been able to get close to the McLarens and way ahead of Ferrari…today at least. Even the race pace is definitely better so there is a good chance that I can have a good race.

Q: So how would you compare your race pace to the guys in front?
NR:
I guess I can put some pressure on them. It will be difficult, but believe me I will do everything to make them sweat.

Q: It is the best qualifying result for Mercedes in a long time…
NR:
That shows that we made a significant step forward and that is a really satisfying feeling. I hope that I can stay in the position from where I will start the race.

Q: Starting from P4, a podium must be a possibility. Is that what you are aiming for in the race?
NR:
Okay, when you start from P4, a podium is never out of the question. It is probably a bit optimistic, but then, why not? I think it is important not to get carried away. P4 was down to luck because of Mark Webber’s mishap. I want to have a good race tomorrow, and with a good race pace, let’s wait and see where it will get me.

Q: What made a difference?
NR:
It’s quite something. To improve within days, and without being able to test anything, shows that sometimes all it takes is the engineers to put their heads together and start to think things over. That’s what happened over the last few days and it clearly turned things around for the better.

Q: What did you change?
NR:
We’ve carried out some set-up changes. The rear wing works much better and that’s probably done the trick. If you look at the result - the McLarens are two tenths ahead of me but Ferrari are five tenths behind me. It definitely looks like a good step forward. But we still have to move forward to get where we want to be.

Q: Can you talk us through the changes? Suddenly Mercedes appear to be the third power on the grid…
NR:
Let’s be careful when we talk about the pecking order. Yes, when you look at today’s result, we are the third power on the grid. We looked at some very basic things. This car is quite different to last year’s. We probably went down a less successful path, so we’ve simply gone back a few development steps. And wow, it works better. We have changed very simple things, like going back to a basic set-up, and it really worked.

Q: After Q2 restarted, following Vitaly Petrov’s issues in the Renault, you had about two minutes to set a lap. How worried were you that you would fail to make it through to Q3?
NR:
I was quite worried because I was behind (Sergio) Perez and (Kamui) Kobayashi and could basically just do their lap time. For a few moments I thought that it wouldn’t be enough. It was pretty close, and if I hadn’t made it then we would have never known that the car is good enough for the second row on the grid.

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