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Nico Rosberg Q&A: Lewis has everything to lose

22 Nov 2014

Nico Rosberg knows that despite taking pole position in Abu Dhabi, he will need a major slice of good fortune on Sunday if he is to prevent Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton becoming world champion. Hence, Rosberg’s strategy is simple: put as much pressure as possible on his rival - and hope that he cracks…

Q: Nico, whatever happens tomorrow, what do you take from the 2014 season, considering that it’s your first time fighting for the championship?

Nico Rosberg: Ah, it’s been a great season. I can say that already now. Yes, tomorrow is a great chance, a great opportunity, and I will try to grab it with both hands.

Q: The saying is that winning is a mind game. How is your mind on the eve of tomorrow’s decisive race? How do you try to read the mind of your rival?

NR: The situation is intense, yes, but it’s a great moment at the same time. I try to focus on that great moment and enjoy it, to have that opportunity. That is very special. I look at it this way: Lewis has everything to lose and I have everything to gain. So, for sure, the pressure is on him. That is part of my opportunity. My opportunity is to put as much pressure on him as possible - and maybe he makes a mistake. We did see that in Brazil. In Brazil I tried to keep the level of pressure as high as possible and forced him to push beyond the limit.

Q: How nerve racking is the situation for yourself?

NR: As I just said, it is very intense but it is not nerve racking. Not much more than at other times.

Q: Lewis seemed to have made some mistakes in qualifying. Is that the strategy of intensifying the pressure?

NR: I can’t answer if that was the case this afternoon, but yes, it is in my hands to put as much pressure on him as possible. He’s made several mistakes lately - and these signs give me hope. I keep learning from that.

Q: You made a mistake in Austin. Have you learned from that?

NR: Yes, it was the racing that I needed to work on in the later part of the season - the area I had to work on most. But that is not something that you can transport overnight from one situation to the other. That takes time - and analysing. Brazil was a step in the right direction - and there is more to come. Maybe we’ll see tomorrow. I am sure it will be a great battle again.

Q: Was anything surprising or special for you in this qualifying?

NR: Maybe that the gap was bigger than I had expected in Q3. In Q2 I pushed the wrong two buttons in the wrong order - and had to pay the price in Turn 8 after the straight. Simply the wrong button! These are such small details - and thankfully I got them right when it really counted!

Q: You said that you would need help tomorrow. What kind of scenarios do you have in mind?

NR: First, if someone has a good start then it is almost impossible to overtake him. So overtaking I rather dismiss. For example, you cannot overtake a Williams on track - only in the pit lane. That is a chance. In free practice I tried to play out an overtaking scenario: I was behind a Ferrari - a car significantly slower than the Williams - and it was impossible for me to pass. Maybe he’ll make a mistake? That could be a chance as well - who knows?

Q: But would it be within ‘team rules’ to try and slow down Lewis to give one of the Williams the chance to pass?

NR: That is a question that touches internal agreements, so no answer to that one.

Q: How was the debriefing today? Frayed nerves?

NR: It was intense. But we never miss out on cheers for having the front row. That is standard. That is what we do every time we occupy the front row - and we want to keep that procedure.

Q: On Thursday you were talking about out-psyching Lewis…

NR: …out-psyching is not what I’ve used. I simply want to raise the pressure on him - and keep the pressure level high. In Brazil it partly worked - and something like that is what I have in mind.