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Nico Rosberg Q&A: I had expected to be on pole

28 May 2016

Mercedes' Nico Rosberg has won in Monaco for the past three years - and last year he proved he doesn't need to start from pole to do it. Can he overhaul Daniel Ricciardo and repeat the feat on Sunday? Rosberg admits that the Australian's supreme qualifying speed came as a surprise - but believes race pace could be a different matter...

Q: Nico, did the technical hiccups in the garage before Q3 have any impact on your preparations - or your program - for the final phase of qualifying?

Nico Rosberg: Probably the situation was a bit more demanding and stressful for everybody in the garage at that point in time, as there was a question mark as to when we would be able to get out - and how. But in the end it didn’t damage my two runs in any way. I was pretty thankful to get these two runs in!

Q: Do you have the feeling that pace-wise there was an improvement this afternoon in comparison to Daniel?

NR: Well, Red Bull have done a great job and Daniel deserved his first pole position of the season. My belief is that race pace-wise we do look better - and, of course, the start will be important! Maybe I can pass him at the start - to pay back how he ditched me in China because he was on a softer tyre than I was. I will try to make it a reversal tomorrow. It is no secret that the distance into Turn 1 is very short - so I will try, but don’t count on that too much! It is a long race and I will definitely keep the pressure on.

Q: What was missing in your performance in Q3 compared to Daniel’s?

NR: He was simply faster. I think the part where he found the most time was at the swimming pool - the new tarmac there.

Q: After your Barcelona experience on lap one, will you race against Daniel as aggressively as you have done in the past?

NR: Barcelona is past me and has nothing to do with tomorrow. I will fight for victory with everything I have and all means necessary. Then let’s find out what this actually means.

Q: If you don’t manage to pass Daniel into the first corner, Lewis won’t let you forget that he is right behind you…

NR: I only look forward - not back. I have to admit that I believed that I would get pole position today - now my only focus is to win the race.

Q: How much do you think Red Bull’s form is track specific? Do you expect them to also be right up there in Canada?

NR: Difficult to say. In Barcelona two weeks ago we were still significantly quicker, so yes, probably this is pretty race specific - but let’s wait until tomorrow. I have no answer to that right now. What I do expect is a good battle - not only here but also in the upcoming races.

Q: Looking at where Ferrari are right now compared to Red Bull, would you say that we will witness a change in the pecking order behind Mercedes?

NR: Could be. But in the end I think it is still too early to say that, as Monaco is so far away from the ‘normal’ track that any statement in that direction would be premature. But yes, as I just said, they’ve done a great job since China and now they’ve got the [Renault] engine upgrade on top, so I think not only Ferrari but also we must be cautious.

Q: This is usually a one-stop race. Do you see yourself stopping more than once?

NR: One stop should not be a problem. In the end I am not sure if it ever was Red Bull’s plan to start the race on the supersofts. Maybe I am wrong. But the fact that we are on different tyres could also open up a chance for us, as he starts the race on a much harder tyre. But that is all tea leaf reading! (laughs)