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Exclusive Nico Rosberg Q&A: Constructors' fight will be tough 31 Oct 2013

Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice, Suzuka, Japan, Friday, 11 October 2013 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Preparations, Friday, 25 October 2013 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates on the podium with the champagne.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Race Day, Sunday, 27 October 2013 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Preparations, Friday, 25 October 2013 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 and Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying, Saturday, 26 October 2013 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Preparations, Suzuka, Japan, Thursday, 10 October 2013 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Preparations, Friday, 25 October 2013 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Preparations, Saturday, 26 October 2013 Race winner Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Race Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Sunday, 26 May 2013 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 25 May 2013 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Korean Grand Prix, Practice, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 4 October 2013 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Race Day, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 22 September 2013

With two wins and three pole positions to his credit so far in 2013, there’s no doubt that Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg is enjoying the best season of his career. Now, with both titles settled in Red Bull’s favour, the 28-year-old German is hoping to cement the Silver Arrows' second place in the constructors’ championship standings, starting this coming weekend in Abu Dhabi…

Q: Nico, the championship has been decided; what do you make of the result - also in the light of Mercedes’ aspirations?
Nico Rosberg:
I think we can be pleased with where we are, considering where we were last year and the difficulties we had, we’ve made a huge step forward. Right now we are second in the constructors’ standings - the second best team out there after Red Bull - and I think we can be pleased with that! Of course our aspiration is to win - to be dominant in the sport. But we have to be realistic right now - the rest will come!

Q: Isn’t it a bit demoralising to see how far Red Bull are ahead?
NR:
Yes, it is. A bit.

Q: To know that you go into a race and whatever happens Red Bull win…
NR:
But remember, they haven’t been always that far ahead. We were able to beat them on several occasions from pure speed. They’ve done a great job towards the end of the season. They’ve found something, done a step better than anybody else, which is very impressive. That’s what we need to work on for next year. There is still room for improvement for us.

Q: Mercedes is still in a fight for P2 in the constructors’ championship. You have the advantage of sitting in P2 right now - but will you still be there at the end of the season?
NR:
It is going to be very tough. Ferrari, and now Lotus who are coming up strong from behind, will give us a tough challenge, but I am optimistic as we have a good car at the moment.

Q: A good car is one thing, but does Mercedes’ strength also lie in their drivers?
NR:
I think our driver line-up helps the situation. We work very well together, we are a strong pairing - in fact I think we are the strongest pairing right now.

Q: You’re having your best F1 season so far, with victory in Monaco the obvious highlight. What else has been a thumbs-up?
NR:
There have been many positives this season. Of course Monaco was the absolute highlight. It is my home Grand Prix and it is the most prestigious race on the calendar to win - and I’ve won it! That is very special and nothing comes close to that!

Q: And what about the low point of 2013?
NR:
Maybe Monza, where we had a great car and I just finished sixth. I was stuck behind Hulkenberg for the whole race because my car was broken in free practice so there was no time to get the car right for qualifying. But now the memory comes back: Bahrain - that was the absolute low point. I’ve tried to forget about it since. I was on pole position and then I was simply eaten up! I was nowhere in the race! That was a horror because the hope is always there when you’re on pole. ‘Maybe I manage this or that, maybe I manage to win, maybe it’s going to be a good race’ - and then to be eaten up by the others - one by one!

Q: You’ve spent the season alongside Lewis - how has it been and how different is it to being team mates with Michael Schumacher?
NR:
Different, completely different. The similarity is that it is a big challenge against either of them - in many different ways, not only speed on the track, but in everything. But the crucial difference is that one is a Haribo (sweets) lover and the other is a sports shoe enthusiast. (laughs)

Q: Ross said that it was absolutely no surprise for him that you can match Lewis - was that also clear to you?
NR:
I knew Lewis from go-karts - and we were fighting back then…

Q: …but your careers took very different turns - he got used to winning very soon into his F1 career and you had to chase your first win for quite some time…
NR:
But for all that time it was always my opinion that I was doing a great job - but how exactly that compares to your team mate that always depends. With him and me this year it’s been close at all times.

Q: Is he the strongest team mate you had so far?
NR:
I don’t want to label him the strongest. He is very strong and I don’t want to compare it too much. The situation is so different so I don’t want to compare. He is massively quick - one of the best out there at the moment in F1. It is very close between us. That is fine and good and that’s why I am here - for competition, even internally within the team! It really works well between us two.

Q: And chemistry-wise?
NR:
It is a healthy battle. That is very positive, as we also seen the opposite between two equal or close team mates in the past.

Q: India saw Mercedes bagging 26 points - more than any other team. Is that a good indicator for this Sunday?
NR:
Ha, it was finally a normal weekend for me. There have been so many weird things happening - my boss likes to call them black swan events - with wings falling off - something that had not happened in the last ten years - pit stops with wrong time, wrong place. Now finally we had a normal weekend. It was nice to be back on the podium…

Q: …but it was also a very good team result…
NR:
…yeah. But actually, no. It was a ‘good’ team result! A ‘very good’ result is finishing first and second.

Q: If that is so: when will it happen?
NR:
Not this year. Next year.

Q: You said that Abu Dhabi is one of your favourite tracks. Can you take us around in your imagination?
NR:
It is a lot of slow speed corners - braking, turn, left, right, left, right. It is a fun track.

Q: It also has a very colourful run-off areas and kerbs. As a driver, do you appreciate this?
NR:
No, no, the driver only sees the tarmac.

Q: So what can you do on the tarmac this weekend?
NR:
It could be similar to India. Podium is the target - being best of the rest. Best of the rest might include also Mark (Webber), depending on his fortune.

Q: So you expect Red Bull dominance here?
NR:
Yes, until the end of the season they will be difficult to beat. Sorry to say that!

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