Hitting the ton - Q&A with Mercedes Nico Rosberg 28 Jul 2011
Notching up 100 Grand Prix starts - something Nico Rosberg will do this weekend - is an impressive achievement. One gets the impression, however, that for Rosberg any number of starts will be pretty meaningless until he translates one of them into victory. Could it happen at the Hungaroring on Sunday? Unlikely perhaps. But the German and his team are already targeting bigger and better things for 2012
Q: Are Mercedes now fighting with Force India for better results, or how do you predict the coming races, considering how things went at the Nurburgring?
Nico Rosberg: No, I do not think that we will be constantly fighting with the Force Indias, as I do hope that we can improve our performance. Considering the last race, it was very much due to my third stint in the race that I could not maintain my position against Adrian Sutil, as I had used these very tyres already three times - twice in qualifying, and at the beginning of the race itself. So we pretty much know why the third stint was that weak. And this is also the reason why you sometimes try saving tyres in qualifying, so that you have fresh ones for the race. We have to make sure now that this does not happen again, as we underestimated the fact that it can backfire that badly.
Q: Ferrari have made a big step forward to close the gap to the frontrunners. What is your perception of how Mercedes are doing, and what is the reason for the recently announced hiring programme?
NR: I personally think that we are moving in the right direction, but I do not see that we will be able to compete with any of the frontrunners this year. At the moment we are already concentrating on getting this years knowledge translated into next year. As the team has figured out that we are not able to compete for the world championship with the manpower of this season, it was decided to get more people onboard and strengthen the output. We know quite well as of now in which exact areas we need to get more manpower.
Q: If you were to compare your driving style with Michael Schumachers, how would you describe it?
NR: In principal very similar. Maybe I would need a more balanced car than him, but other than this we have a very similar way of driving.
Q: In what areas does the car need to improve for next year, to be competitive against the leading teams?
NR: I would not say that in our case you could divide this into areas. It is the basis of the car that needs to be much better, and this already starts with the teamwork within the team. We have to start working as one entity, and also have more creative input to become stronger.
Q: This will be your 100th Grand Prix. What does this number mean to you this weekend?
NR: In fact it does not affect me at all, except for getting asked about it quite a few times. And by getting asked these questions, of course you also come across some good memories. For example, my first podium in the silver arrow, which was in China, and then also in Malaysia. The only thing that it really reminds me of is that it makes me one of the more experienced drivers on the grid.
Q: Is the upcoming summer break helpful for recharging your batteries, and will the team come out stronger after this?
NR: I do not think that it will benefit us too much in our performance, as it is really a summer break, and the whole company will be shut down for that period of time, and this is the same for every team. For me personally it will be good, as I have planned to enjoy some beach and sun in Spain with my girlfriend.
Q: What are your expectations for this race, or is the only hope for weather that suits the car best?
NR: The weather is basically not a big issue. It is more the hope to find a good set-up, and to get or be closer to the leading teams. And if we put in enough effort then I think this can be possible. The Hungaroring itself suits me personally quite well, although I have to say that there are not many race tracks that I think I dont like. Generally speaking, I think that there will be a lot of action here in Hungary. The DRS will work very well on the long straight, so we will see a lot of overtaking. Also the degradation of the tyres will be quite high, and this also brings some good strategy work along, as there might be quite a lot of pit stops.
For Formula One and F1 team merchandise, click here.