Nico Rosberg Q&A: Mercedes improving step-by-step 20 May 2011
Nico Rosberg is quickly turning into a leading force in Mercedes, with the capacity to push the development of his team forward. Still relatively young, its a real achievement, but when you consider Rosbergs team mate is Michael Schumacher, its startling. The German discusses his illustrious counterpart, the upgrades Mercedes have brought to Barcelona this weekend and why its critical they match their qualifying successes come race Sunday
Q: Nico, when it comes to the Mercedes team the expectations are always high. But are they higher here in Barcelona? The team did well here in the pre-season test sessions...
Nico Rosberg: Its not only here. Our own expectations are high at every track we go to. From the speed that we had at the last two races - and the upgrades that we have on the car here - we hope to do better, but miracles are not very likely to happen. The work to close the gap step-by-step is intense, but yes, I see the potential to come closer here.
Q: Barcelona is usually where teams introduce the first large-scale aero upgrades of the season. How big a suitcase of goodies did Mercedes bring here?
NR: It should be enough for a good step forward. But in reality it is difficult to say, as all others bring updates too. So its a question of who did the best homework - who got it right more than the rest?
Q: After the Turkish race many pundits have felt it necessary to pass judgment on the performance of your team mate Michael Schumacher. They say Schumacher is not so much slow, but that you are so much faster, especially in qualifying
NR: Of course it is nice to hear that others see it that way, as it shows how much I have developed. I am also pretty satisfied with the performance I have shown and I hope that together with the team it will be the beginning of something bigger. I hope that we will be able to translate our excellent qualifying performance into tangible race results, as this is what we still were lacking in Istanbul.
Q: But what are your thoughts on your team mate? You see everything at close range
NR: Due to the accident in Istanbul he was not able to show how fast he is. But let me tell you something - when I come to a track on a race weekend I also depend on things working perfectly and smoothly to keep me ahead of him. I come to every race track with the impression that he will be very strong. Naturally I am not too unhappy about how it is working out for me compared to my team mate.
Q: But you definitely dont think he is too old?
NR: Definitely not.
Q: After four races it should be a good point to reflect. What has caused you the most frustration?
NR: Well, I would say the whole team was a bit disappointed that we were not where we hoped we would be, which was at the very front. So being stuck somewhere in the middle was not the start we had anticipated. But it is good to see that step-by-step we are working our way to the front. But I have no illusions that its a bit of a rocky road, still.
Q: Coming back to February and the test session where Michael (Schumacher) clocked the fastest time. Where did you go wrong after that point?
NR: Its true, we were pretty fast in those days, but I also believe that the other teams, like Red Bull Racing, were holding back a bit. Add to that the fact we made some mistakes in set-up at the first races and then you have the situation weve been in. It took a bit of time until we understood the car and were able to get more and more out if it. And this weekend with the new parts we should be in a pretty good shape. We learnt a lot at the last race - that weve probably concentrated too much on qualifying and that the car was not that perfect in the race. We will definitely look at keeping a better balance of both this weekend.
Q: What upgrades have Mercedes brought here?
NR: The whole bodyshell is new, which we expect should give us some tenths per lap. The suspension is modified and a couple of minor things. All in all, it looks like a very competitively upgraded package.
Q: This weekend will probably be a tyre race again. Pirelli bring their new super hard tyres. What do you expect?
NR: We do have some experience with these tyres as weve been running them in some practice sessions this season. I dont expect a fundamentally different situation. We will see the race unfolding just as the previous races. Well have numerous pit stops. So far we have seen that this is improving the show, so I think it is all good.
Q: The Circuit de Catalunya is known to be one of the most challenging tracks of the season, especially aerodynamically. What has this track got that others dont have?
NR: This track has faster corners, which are interlinked, so aerodynamics will be a key issue this weekend. With our new bodyshell we should be in good shape and I would say that already from what was visible today our guys in the factory did a good job. Lets hope that we get the qualifying/race balance right.
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