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Nico Rosberg Q&A: Incident not a repeat of Schumacher 2006

24 May 2014

A controversial finish to qualifying in Monaco meant Nico Rosberg had to visit the stewards before his second consecutive pole in the Principality was confirmed, with some speculating that his Turn 5 off was a deliberately calculated move.

However, the German insists this was no repeat of Michael Schumacher's actions at Rascasse in 2006, apologising to Lewis Hamilton for the error - even as he plans how to beat his Mercedes team mate to victory on Sunday.

Q: Nico, that was a strange incident on the last lap of qualifying. Lewis thought that he was on for pole position…

Nico Rosberg: It definitely wasn't the way I wanted it to go. I honestly thought that it was over when I went off the track, so what happened definitely takes away some of the pleasure of it. But in the end first is first! So I am still very happy about my qualifying.

Q: Did you speak with Lewis in the immediate aftermath?

NR: Yes. I said that I was sorry for having been the cause of the yellow flags, which meant that he lost the opportunity to do his lap. This for sure was not ideal, and I said sorry.

Q: Did he give you the 'evil eye'?

NR: Of course not! But of course he was disappointed. He was on his fast lap and was also eying the pole.

Q: How did it all happen?

NR: My first lap in Q3 was really good, so I thought: let's try something in the next one, because my team mate got really close. Indeed it is a very difficult corner up there and I somehow missed the braking point. The tyres locked and my only thought was: don't damage your car - don't hit the tyre barrier, look for a safe exit. And that's what I managed to do.

Q: Monaco is always good for conspiracy theories, especially if there is a gain from one's own mistake. What's your answer to these kind of accusations?

NR: That I do understand these kind of theories; Monaco is the perfect backdrop for these kind of things. But I have to disappoint: the data is clear, as the stewards have also confirmed. (The data) is not different to my fastest lap or the lap before, I just missed the braking point - that's it. Of course it's far from perfect. But that's the way it is.

Q: You didn't get some inspiration from Michael Schumacher's actions during qualifying here in 2006 (Schumacher was found to have deliberately blocked the track during qualifying when he was on provisional pole)?

NR: Definitely not. And the data has shown that. As I said before, I missed the braking point, went over a bump, one front tyre locked - and the only thing I realistically could do was to find an exit.

Q: If we look at the racing, what did you do better than Lewis today?

NR: I felt comfortable in the car the whole afternoon and did an exceptionally good lap in Q3 - but I also knew that Lewis was right on my heels so I wanted to top my lap, and overdid it.

Q: There is a common understanding that starting from pole position in Monaco is a huge asset…

NR: …starting from P1 in Monaco - that's half the battle. It opens the door for much more. But it's one of the toughest races so keeping P1 into the first corner will be crucial, and that means [I need] to have an excellent start. Starts have been a bit the weakness for us as a team, so we have to get that right tomorrow.

Q: Will you also arrive in P1 at the finish?

NR: That's the plan - and if I get the start right it should be within reach.