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Nico Rosberg Q&A: Pole a serious advantage at Catalunya

09 May 2015

After playing second fiddle so far in 2015 to team mate Lewis Hamilton, everyone said Nico Rosberg needed to up his game in Spain this weekend. And on Saturday that is exactly what Rosberg did, taking a commanding pole position at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, a track where it is notoriously difficult to overtake. On top of that the German believes a new Mercedes clutch system should boost his chances of making an excellent start to Sunday’s race…

Q: Nico, how does it feel to finally hold pole position again - after a long drought?

Nico Rosberg: It was a perfect day in my office! (laughs) It is fantastic to be on pole position here because on this track it really makes a difference. It is very difficult to overtake, so when you have a break over others that is a very welcome situation. It is a real advantage for tomorrow.

Q: Can you explain the peculiarities of this track this very weekend? All of you know this circuit probably better than any other, and yet still there have been unusual issues…

NR: Yes, it’s funny, isn’t it? But I can confirm that the car felt different from one corner to the other. The balance is just so different, so it has been a quite difficult weekend in that sense. Also to get the set-up right. You have to take the best possible average to get the set-up right for all corners, which is unusual. You had to make compromises to make the set-up work for the entire lap.

Q: You just said how difficult it is here to get the set-up right. Have Lewis and you got the same set-up?
There are differences - minimal ones. But they can have an effect, of course. In the end both of us went our own ways the whole weekend, but are not so far apart when you look at the times. So we used different routes to almost come to the same result.

Q: You’ve always been very open in admitting when you’ve got something wrong in qualifying. Is this the first qualifying of the season where you’ve got everything right?
No. China was also a good one. But yes, as I just said it was a very positive day and things went according to plan.

Q: How important psychologically is it for you to be on pole?
It feels better than to be second, that is for sure. And as it makes a difference here it gives that extra bit of a comfy feeling.

Q: In Bahrain you effectively lost your shot at pole in Q2. Have you learned from your mistake there?

NR: Yes, I’ve learned from my mistake in Bahrain and really got myself into the rhythm in Q2 - and from then on I wasn’t catchable any more. That approach really helped me today so I’ve learned my lesson from Bahrain. Of course you cannot transform one experience to all situations, but today it was the way to do it.

Q: You also had a brake issue in Bahrain. Was it possible to sort that out as well?

NR: Yes, we did get the brakes a bit wrong in Bahrain. We pushed the limits too far. But here it is a totally different story. Here we are trying to cool the tyres rather than put more temperature in them, so it’s a completely different story. Hopefully we are looking good at that. We understood the brake problem. It was not one thing - it was a couple of things coming together - and we understood all of them and have found good solutions for that, hopefully. As you practise for the race on Friday and our pace was good then I am confident for tomorrow.

Q: You are on pole. That makes things easier, but how happy have you been with your four starts so far in 2015?

NR: To be honest they’ve all been rather mediocre. But we’ve a new clutch - a different one - and that gives me hope as all the starts I’ve done in the last two days felt really good.

Q: Next stop on the European F1 calendar will be Monaco. It’s sort of your home Grand Prix - and you’ve won there twice. Looking forward with high hopes?

NR: I am looking forward with high hopes for tomorrow! But of course I am always looking forward to Monaco. It’s been a good place for me in the last couple of years. And with the car that we have now it should be great again.