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Nico Rosberg Q&A: I never let Lewis get within striking distance

09 Nov 2014

After losing out to title rival and Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton in the United States, Nico Rosberg was determined to win in Brazil - and the German did just that, cutting the Briton’s championship lead to 17 points in the process. Following the race, Rosberg spoke to reporters about keeping Hamilton at bay, and what the win means heading into the double-points season finale in Abu Dhabi…

Q: Nico, it was an enthralling race and not one for the faint-hearted. How much could you feel Lewis (Hamilton) breathing down your neck?

Nico Rosberg: Yes, it was sizzling. But it was not the race alone: I have felt very comfortable the whole weekend and I’ve had a great deal of self-confidence. I was convinced that I had learned from what I didn’t do so well in Austin - the little weakness that I had. And it makes me very happy to see that I have made real steps forward in that short time since the US Grand Prix. So when I reflect on the race, the start was super, and in the first stint I already saw that I was able to control the gap to Lewis. It was important to never let him get close enough to try a real attack. Then he made his mistake - and I used that situation as we were both very much at the limit with the tyres all the time. We really had to watch out to make it with three stops, so when he made his mistake and fell behind by something like six seconds that was also the moment when I could take it a bit easier to make sure that my tyres lasted until the last lap of my stint.

Q: What does victory here mean in terms of your title chances?

NR: Unfortunately it is one race too late to have it in my hands - only by four points. Sad but true! But now I need a little bit of help from somebody else as Lewis must not finish in P2 in Abu Dhabi - the maximum to keep my chances realistic is him finishing no higher than P3. Maybe (that will be) a Williams that you cannot pass on the straight!

Q: What went through your head when you heard over team radio that your team mate - and the leader in the standings - had made a mistake?

NR: I enjoyed it! (laughs) That was the moment when I knew that I could play it a bit easier and not have to push the tyres to the ultimate limit.

Q: After his mistake Lewis was able to close the gap again significantly - in the end it was only 1.4 seconds. How much were you in control?

NR: I felt good today and was pretty sure that I would not make a mistake today - that I had learned from Austin. So I tried to keep my rhythm and had a watchful eye never to let him get to within striking distance. And it worked - contrary to Austin. I draw much hope from today’s race for the shootout in Abu Dhabi.

Q: Mathematically, Lewis only has to finish in the same position that he did today in Abu Dhabi to take the title. But do you think he is chewing on today’s race and that you are probably in a better position than he is?

NR: Believe me, I would definitely prefer to be the hunted than the hunter. But these are the facts and Abu Dhabi will be a thriller - and a blockbuster for the fans. I have to win - at least that is the plan!

Q: How difficult is it to push all the championship permutations to one side and focus on pure racing? Abu Dhabi might be the biggest weekend of your career…

NR: Of course it is difficult. But since Austin I’ve known that I have to win the last two races - today I did that, and the plan is to do the same in Abu Dhabi. After today I feel that it will also work in Abu Dhabi.

Q: What are you going to do in the week between here and Abu Dhabi?

NR: Ha, I need to motivate Felipe Massa to have a very relaxing time and then to have a stunning weekend in Abu Dhabi so he comes in second and I win the race!