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Nico Rosberg Q&A: I thought Red Bull would be quicker

25 Jul 2014

Mercedes retained their now familiar advantage over the opposition in Friday’s two opening practice sessions in Hungary, despite the tight nature of the circuit and the removal of FRIC suspension having led many to predict a closer fight at the front. Nico Rosberg was surprised to be so far head too, though he is not writing off Red Bull’s Budapest challenge just yet…

Q: Nico, last year Hungary was not a happy place for you - you left here with zero points. But what a difference a year can make? Now you are the championship leader and Hungarian points must be on your agenda…

Nico Rosberg: Yes, we should do well here. The track suits our car - we’ve shown that this afternoon. The car felt fantastic and moves through the corners incredibly fast. I will work with my engineers on the set-up choices for tomorrow as qualifying is quite important here, as overtaking is one of the tougher things on this track. I think with the tailwind of the German win, it should make an interesting race on Sunday.

Q: If somebody had told you at the beginning of the season that after ten races you would be leader of the pack, having won both your ‘home races’ in Monaco and Germany, as well as Australia and Austria, what would you have said?

NR: I’ll take it! (laughs) Yes, it is much better than my wildest dreams - even if I was pretty sure that we would be strong this year. But that strong… that is something that you cannot foresee.

Q: There are rumours - and Red Bull’s motorsport consultant Helmut Marko was attributed with kicking this one off - that Sebastian Vettel has been made an offer by Mercedes. Strangely enough another rumour links him with McLaren. Anyway, what is your opinion?

NR: What should I say? Probably anything that I say will catch someone on the wrong foot, so I’d rather say nothing. I respect Sebastian very much as a driver and like to race against him on the track. And we are speaking about 2016 and beyond. That’s a good question in one year. That’s all I want to say on this matter right now.

Q: How is your relationship with Lewis right now? There seems to be some sort of truce in place at the moment…

NR: It comes and goes. Right now it’s neutral. There have been some more difficult periods. But all of that is normal. It is basically us two for the race win every weekend. So yes, there are some hairy moments, but then we sit down and discuss them - and it always worked out so far.

Q: Here’s a little statistic: you have never been in the top three in qualifying nor in the race here, whereas Lewis has four pole positions and four wins under his belt…

NR: I have never been a fan of statistics and I am confident that if I do a good job I can win the race. It is up to me to do a good job - I don’t see any bad fate that haunts me on this circuit.

Q: But with Lewis’s record here, will ‘doing a good job’ be tougher here than at other places?

NR: It’s just another race - and past success doesn’t automatically transform into present success. So when I deliver, a win should be within reach.

Q: Do you see the Red Bulls being a bit closer this weekend?

NR: The six-tenths that we’ve seen this afternoon speaks its for itself. But yes, to be honest I was a bit surprised that we had the fastest cars today. I had thought that they would have been a bit closer. Maybe they are, as it is always difficult to say on a Friday who is how fast. We will get the final answer tomorrow in qualifying. So stay tuned!

Q: At so many races this year we hear over the team radio drivers getting told that they have to save fuel, to conserve tyres - does that kill the racing instinct?

NR: To be honest, I don’t mind that. It’s a challenge to make the most of the tyres and the fuel load that you have. And believe me, it is hugely difficult out there and I always find difficult situations a great challenge. You have to sit down with your engineers and have your race strategy planned out - and if you get it right you can really have a huge advantage over other people.