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Exclusive Nico Rosberg Q&A: I'd do anything to win at home

17 Jul 2014

At the last race in Great Britain, Nico Rosberg saw his 100 percent finishing record expire along with his gearbox, but worse than that he saw his world championship lead over Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton sliced from 29 points to just four.

But the weeks since have been much better for the German driver - not only has he signed a new contract with the Silver Arrows, but he also got married to his long-term girlfriend, and as a result he arrives at his home Grand Prix both happy and determined to return to winning ways…

Q: Nico, less than a week ago you married your teenage sweetheart Vivian, and two days ago you walked away with a new multi-million Euro contract. With so much luck, who needs a title?

Nico Rosberg: More important than multi-millions is the fact that it is the best car on the grid and that it is the ‘silver arrow’, that I am with my dream team and I can win races.

Q: But there’s no doubt that you seem to be on a lucky streak - so who needs a title?

NR: Luck? Simply some nice events have happened recently. Why luck? Sure luck is always a part of it, but only luck will not do. It’s a nice time for me and I am looking forward to the future. And the near future is that my home race is here. It’s my second home race as I am fortunate enough to have two - Monaco and here - and I hope I can win also here. That would be great.

Q: What does the contract with Mercedes mean to you?

NR: Stability - that’s a nice one! Now I’ve ticked it off and can forget about it - I can enjoy it and am happy about it. I have the trust from all the people in charge in the team and I couldn’t think of a better place to be.

Q: But you don’t get such a contract without Mercedes expecting something from you. What is that? To be champion?

NR: I don’t know what they expect - but for sure it is that I drive well. That’s why they kept me on board. And I expect a good car - that is why I stayed. I think our aspiration is to dominate - both of us.

Q: You’ve always had stability in your private life and this is your fifth season with Mercedes. How important would you rate continuity generally as a success factor?

NR: To be honest: I don’t think about it too much in that way. It has come naturally in my life that there are things that have stayed for a while. I didn’t go through too many changes, and I like it that way. Continuity is probably a big factor in my life and I like to approach it from that side as I think many of these ‘stable’ things help my performance on the track.

Q: Success can change ones view on things and can changes the perception of your surroundings. How true is that for you now?

NR: The surroundings perception I respect - but I don’t put too much effort into that. That’s the way in life: when you’re winning more people say ‘hi’ to you. But I am the same person and I am doing the same thing as before.

Q: Has success ever carried you away?

NR: It influences me, yes. But it also makes me question where I want to be and who I want to be. So from that point of view, success on a race track will never change me to suddenly be a different person. My friends will confirm that.

Q: So who do you want to be?

NR: Right now Nico Rosberg!

Q: What comes with Nico Rosberg?

NR: Taking care of family and friends, for example. Dedication to my job, taking enjoyment out of life…

Q: Enjoying what? Reading? Going to the movies? Listening to music?

NR: I’m very sporty. Lots of sport.

Q: The last race must have been a bitter pill to swallow - watching from the sidelines as your points margin melted away in the British Summer…

NR: I didn’t see it that way - not with the points - but it was a pity that I lost a win, and that is not the same. That was really bad but I try not to put energy into things that I cannot influence. So I moved on very quickly to this race - and the other things that happened in between.

Q: How do you divide your emotions between your personal pursuit for success and that of the team? They had a winner on the podium…

NR: The team is very good at that. They are not happy - they are not ecstatic when one guy wins and the other breaks down - they are only ecstatic when it is a 1-2 win, and then it doesn’t matter which way. As I said before: the team handles that well.

Q: There is a lot in the media about your relationship with Lewis - some even go so far as to call it ‘star wars’! What is reality? And how much is that media hype a distraction?

NR: I don’t read the media, so it isn’t a distraction to me. But of course I hear what is going on around me, and that’s fine. It adds some spice to the whole thing, and yes, there is spice sometimes! It’s not like there is not - we are fighting for race wins every two weekends! So it is normal that there are times with glitches - but also easier times. So stay tuned!

Q: ‘Star wars’ sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it?

NR: Ha, I can see your opinion - but I don’t agree with it!

Q: But you have seen the Star Wars movies?

NR: Of course. Who am I? I want to be Darth Vader!

Q: What about Luke Skywalker - the straight, honest, dedicated guy?

NR: Ok, I am Luke Skywalker.

Q: And your team mate probably Han Solo?

NR: All I know is that I’m Luke Skywalker! (laughs)

Q: You and Lewis have known each other since childhood and Lewis has spoken recently about how different your upbringings were. Did you ever suspect that there was a bit of envy on Lewis’ side when it came to your background? Having a dad who was an F1 champion, having been the kid with the best equipment, the best schooling?

NR: Envy is the wrong word. I think he said that it was an inspiration. Yes, I was very fortunate growing up like I did - and having been connected to the F1 environment early on - but don’t forget Lewis was a McLaren driver from the age of twelve. That is quite something!

Q: You are known to be a hard worker - sitting for hours with your engineers to get to the bottom of things. Is that just a necessity or is there also some pleasure involved?

NR: I enjoy it as it is such an interesting aspect of racing. I have that ‘technological beast’ in me, and if I can tune it to my liking and perfection with my engineers, it becomes all the more enjoyable on track.

Q: Has it become more difficult this year?

NR: No, it is always difficult. There are so many layers to these machines.

Q: Your dad (1982 world champion Keke Rosberg) was racing relative simple cars back in his day. Is he interested in the development the F1 cars have taken since then?

NR: No. In Monaco he put the headsets on and said ‘are you crazy?’ because there is so much stuff going on. He said that we - all the drivers - are completely crazy. How can we ever concentrate on driving with all this stuff going on!

Q: Lewis is considered by some as the driver with more natural talent - and you the one with probably the stronger focus. What will win out in the end?

NR: First of all: that is the opinion of others and I do not necessarily agree with all of that. I try to make the most of my situation and don’t want to speak about advantages on any side of the garage.

Q: It is no secret that many drivers seem to have been ‘jinxed’ at their home race over the years. Now Lewis is sailing on the tailwind of his home race win…

NR: I have won my home race twice! In Monaco - my one home race. This is my other one…

Q: Can you counter - at this other home race of yours?

NR: Of course it would be very special to win here. Believe me: I will do anything to counter!

Q: For quite some time many drivers have preferred to reside in comfortable motorhomes on the European leg of the calendar. But you are definitely the king of ‘glamping’…

NR: Ha, but believe me: everybody is a king of glamping at this level!

Q: But your motorhome was styled by your new wife Vivian…

NR: Yes, it was. It is incredible - it looks like an apartment inside. It is my home around Europe - it gives me comfort, and - here you go again - continuity. I really enjoy living in my own things.

Q: So what is the best thing on your glamper?

NR: I have a golden lamp with a machine gun from Philippe Starck. It is a drop-dead cool thing - really big. It’s the only golden thing in there so it stands out.

Q: If that doesn’t make you the king of glamping - what will?

NR: Ha, yep, it’s looking good for me!