Nico Rosberg Q&A: Tyres making Mercedes life tough 23 Mar 2012
After promising winter testing and a strong Melbourne qualifying session, the Australian Grand Prix was ultimately a big disappointment for Nico Rosberg and Mercedes. Nevertheless, he and his team are confident that theyve discovered the shortcomings of the season opener and have reacted to them. Fridays times at Sepang did indeed suggest they have moved in the right direction, even though Rosberg admits tyre wear is still a big concern
Q: Nico, what is your impression of the car here in Malaysia?
Nico Rosberg: It is very difficult on the track, as the tyres overheat so fast due to the high ambient temperature. Every corner you have to be so very careful, and considering qualifying it also will be very tough to maintain the tyres for that one single fast lap that you need to make a good grid position. Thinking about the race, I predict that it will be enormously interesting for all of us. You have to be as careful with the car as if you were running the 24 hours of Le Mans.
Q: Today we have seen you fourth in FP2 and your team mate Michael Schumacher second. Is that a real reflection of your status, or will you lose a few more spots to other competitors?
NR: In Melbourne we have already been quite strong, although I suspect that we might not be as strong in the race as in the free practice sessions. The McLarens might have been on the harder compound tyres, but I am not sure yet, so we will analyse this to get a clearer picture of our competition. In general, I see us in a fairly good position in both qualifying and the race, as we did a few long runs today and were actually very happy with the results.
Q: How are you personally coping with the heat here in Sepang?
NR: I did a lot of training during the winter and that has helped a lot, as I do not feel as overheated as I had remembered it to be. Also, we have a drink in the car that helps us stay hydrated. Of course this drink is not really cold, as the hot air comes streaming through car, which doesnt help the drink stay cool.
Q: Looking back at the Australian Grand Prix last weekend, were you happy about the result?
NR: It was actually a little bit disappointing ending up in only P12, as we thought through our long runs in the winter that we would be better. Compared to our competitors I would say that it was us that have suffered the most. Now we know a few answers, but still there are few things that we will need to get a clearer picture on. Generally, I am sure that we will be able to improve significantly. During the winter tests we had a few issues with the tyre degradation, but did not think that this would be such a big problem. But for the moment it is.
Q: In Melbourne qualifying looked promising, but then during the race you lost places. How do you see things here, if you had to make a prediction?
NR: I think here it will be even tougher, so I would assume that we will make a bigger compromise with the set-up for qualifying compared to the race than we did in Melbourne. The reason for this is that we have been very quick in qualifying, but lost pace on race day, and we want to find a balance there. During the race we had problems with the tyres, regardless of which compound we were on. So the result was that we were tough on the tyres during the race, and that caused big degradation and we were struggling to keep the car on the track.
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