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Nico Rosberg Q&A: Gap to Ferrari bigger than expected

14 Nov 2015

Given his recent qualifying form, it was perhaps no surprise to see Nico Rosberg take a fifth consecutive pole in Brazil on Saturday. More surprising, however, was the advantage Mercedes had over nearest rivals Ferrari. The Silver Arrows were half a second clear of their scarlet rivals - a big margin on a track as short as Interlagos…

Q: Nico, the fight between you and Lewis is as close as it has been all season. But the title is gone - has that changed anything for you?

Nico Rosberg: Yes, a little bit. Because my main goal is to fight for the championship - and that is over. But at the same time I come here and race to win. And if I have the chance to win I want to do it. I put every effort into it. And he does the same. So yes, it stays intense!

Q: It is your fifth consecutive pole position. It seems you have found the magic formula to qualifying, but the race is sometimes still letting you down…

NR: Seems my hard working on my qualifying mode has really paid off. Because in the past I have considered it one of my weaknesses and it was definitely one of the reasons why Lewis won the championship this year - because I have helped him a lot starting first all the time… So yes, I am pleased.

Q: Could it be that you are driving better now that the pressure is gone?

NR: No, not at all. And in the end the pressure was more on Lewis because he had everything to lose. I was hunting. So no, it doesn’t change.

Q. Then are you regretting that your qualifying form arrived so late, given what you just said about it being one of the decisive factors in this year’s title fight?

NR: I don’t regret anything because that’s how things were. F1 is much about permanent changes: the cars change permanently, so the driving styles have to change. It is an ongoing process, so you permanently have to re-adjust yourself.

Q: Lewis said in the press conference that qualifying - and even winning - here is not so important anymore because his main job for the season is already done…

NR: He’s a smart guy. So he will find good arguments when he needs them.

Q: Then coming back to qualifying, how do you explain the gap to the rest of the pack? It is quite significant - and that is rather unusual on a short track like Interlagos…

NR: Yes, it is really unusual as on this track the field is always much closer together. That we are so strong here - I would have never guessed. But seems we are really good uphill! (laughs) And we are really good on the aero side.

Q: Last year it was a three-stop race. What’s your guess for tomorrow? The same procedure?

NR: No, I would think we all will go for a two-stop.

Q: Why? Because the rear tyres are more stable?

NR: Not sure. But yes, they are lasting longer. A bit longer.

Q: Overtaking here is not the easiest thing, so pole position is a clear advantage…

NR: …the distance to corner one is not the biggest - so yes, it helps to start from P1.

Q: You’ve complained about the tarmac and said that you have to change your driving line. Has it become better in the course of two days’ running?

NR: Yes, I have adjusted my style to the conditions. It just needs a bit of creativity to find a new way. The downside is that there is much more tyre degradation as it is pretty aggressive. But it is something that can be handled in the race.

Watch: Rosberg on the prospects of a great battle on Sunday