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Nico Rosberg Q&A: ‘I am faster now - period’

26 Nov 2015

Nico Rosberg goes into this weekend’s 2015 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in search of a third consecutive race win. So to what does he attribute his upswing in form? Not to changes in Mercedes’ F1 W06 Hybrid since Singapore, as suggested in some quarters. No: as he explained to journalists in Yas Marina on Thursday, Rosberg believes it’s simply down to his speed…

Q: Nico, how much momentum from your strong end to the season can you take into 2016?

Nico Rosberg: For sure what you learn now you also learn for next year, but in the end momentum is nothing that you can conserve over weeks and months. And next year we will have a pretty new car over the winter, so many things change. But, of course, it is nice to end a season on a high. Who would doubt that?

Q: If you look back at the whole season, how would you rate yourself on a scale from one to ten?

NR: Seven? Seven and a half? The other guy for sure has a higher number! But that is okay for me.

Q: If you win on Sunday it would be a hat-trick. How important is that for you?

NR: The hat-trick is not important. It is important for me to win the race - and then give my engineers and mechanics a hell of an end-of-season party! And, of course, I want to put on a great show for the fans here.

Q: You just acknowledged that Lewis was driving better - but have you also been driving better than last year?

NR: That is difficult to compare, but I am sure that I have improved as a driver.

Q: Back in Singapore Lewis demanded some changes on the car that raised his comfort level, but have you also recognized some differences that have made you feel more at home?

NR: There is no big change in the feel of the car. The two of us have always been very close all season - right now it is just swinging the other way, my way. Remember last year I was always quick in qualifying - and then in the first half of this season I was not - and now I am again… These are little things that swing both ways.

Q: But everybody is wondering why things are swinging particularly your way lately…

NR: What’s there to wonder? As I just said, last year I was faster in qualifying…

Q: …but there are people who believe that you now deal better with the higher tyre pressures, or with the brakes etc. Is there something to it, or is it pure crystal ball reading?

NR: Pure crystal ball reading. It’s very simple: I am faster now. Period.

Q: So there is no new gadgetry that is helping you?

NR: No, only work is behind it. No other reason.

Q: Has Lewis taken on board some of your findings about the car after your two wins?

NR: That is an opportunity.

Q: Have you copied his set-up findings in the past?

NR: I have never copied something. I do my own thing. But, of course, you can adopt some things.

Q: You two talk these things over openly?

NR: No talking, but it is open - so if I search I can find these things. But it is not so that everything is really put on the table…

Q: Do you expect the changes over the winter will also swing things your way?

NR: There are always little bits and pieces that I try to get changed, but that also benefits the other driver, so it is in no way that this only helps me and not Lewis. We are simply pushing on all levels. But some things take so long - like the brakes. This is still an ongoing process.

Q: So has the brakes issue not been sorted out?

NR: No. Just imagine that you start your braking process with brakes that have zero degrees and end it with brakes that have one thousand degrees - and in that course the error rate can be very high. It takes six months to bake one brake, so it is a long-term project. But we are working on it very intensely.

Q: This track always gave you mixed feelings - especially last year…

NR: Yes, it did. But as far as I remember I have been on the podium in 2013. So in the end no hard feelings. (laughs)