Nico Rosberg benefited from the misfortune that befell his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel at the British Grand Prix to take his second victory of the season, at Silverstone, but despite the good fortune, he was still made to work hard for the victory at his team’s home race. He spoke afterwards.
Nico, you’ve kept your cool when all around you were losing theirs. There were tyres going off, there were cars breaking down. Tell me, how do you feel to have won the British Grand Prix?
Nico Rosberg: Fantastic! It’s a very, very special day and I think what makes it more special is that our factory is so close, and our team has done such a fantastic job to come through during the season. We have such momentum going at the moment, progressing all the time. Really, really massively quick in qualifying, also getting faster and faster in the race. I think today we had equally the fastest race car as well. So, it’s a very special day for me. And this goes out…this is for all of my team colleagues working in the factory. I hope many of them have been in the grandstands watching. This one is for all of you out there. Thank you very much.
It was a dramatic race. You had two guys in the front who you had to beat. We lost Lewis Hamilton early in the race, that was a big disappointment to the British fans and then you were charging, you were chasing after Sebastian and then the leader of the World Championship, his car failed right here. What did you feel when that happened?
NR: With Lewis, definitely I feel sorry for all the British fans. It would have been a great race for Lewis here in front of his home crowd – that’s always a massive disappointment, but that’s racing sometimes. When Sebastian stopped, to be honest, I won’t lie, I wasn’t disappointed by that one. And then from then it was a great race to win.
Now you’re heading to Germany. Second grand prix victory this season and you have a German manufacturer in Mercedes. It’s going to be a fantastic event in Germany isn’t it, next week?
NR: Yeah, for sure. Going from the team’s home grand prix here to my second home grand prix – I already had one – fortunately for me I have two home grands prix, I managed to win that in Monaco. Second one coming up at Nürburgring. And it’s very special. I’m very proud to be German, driving a Silver Arrow, going to the Nürburgring, the history there, and having that great car that I have at the moment, really looking forward to that.
The tide’s going to change a little bit, isn’t it? You seem to have a car that’s competitive during the race. The tyre degradation wasn’t nearly as bad. Is there any chance, do you think, that this championship could be turning a tide here against Red Bull?
NR: Well, I wouldn’t talk about that just yet but definitely the team has done such a good job during the season. Already in the winter, to come up with such a quick car, which we’ve had all year in qualifying, and now also progressing with tyre management and getting that better and better to allow us to win races now, that’s fantastic to see and really gives me…yeah, just very exciting.
Where you happy to continue racing when you were told about the tyre issue?
NR: It’s definitely something that needs to be looked into, yeah? Because too much of that today, that’s for sure. I had one too – but got a bit lucky there with the safety car so that worked out great.
Great win for Mercedes, based just a few kilometres down the road from this Silverstone circuit. What does this win mean to you, and to them?
NR: Yeah, fantastic day definitely, and it’s very special because it’s the home grand prix of the team and the factory is ten minutes away. A lot of people, a lot of my fellow team members and colleagues are in the grandstands, watching today and it’s very, very nice that I was able to give them such a great race and such a great result. They really deserve it – you really deserve it because you’ve worked so well all season. It’s great to see the momentum we have in the team at the moment.
There was obviously some brilliant driving, some brilliant overtaking but no doubt the big story coming out of this obviously is the situation with the tyres. Your thoughts on what we’ve seen today.
NR: Definitely that’s a problem. Too many tyre failures and they must look into that and see what can be done.
Early in the race, after the first three rear tyre failures, there was some radio contact on the television advising drivers to stay off the kerbs, but it seems subsequently that wasn’t really heeded; just talk us through the thought process of that, why you subsequently decided to take the risk?
NR: Are you saying we were still taking the risks of going on the kerbs? Well, for myself I wasn’t, I was staying off the kerbs and I got a tyre problem myself, but it worked out well, I was able to pit before it broke apart because the safety car came out. I was a bit lucky there. And then after that, when Mark was chasing me, it was a compromise between how fast is he coming at me and how much am I going to take out of the tyres, so I was staying off the kerbs, taking it easy in the high speed where the most damage is done. Then I had to pick up the pace a little bit towards the end as he was getting quite close so that was really difficult to judge.
Nurburgring is not like Silverstone in terms of fast corners and all of that, but if somebody tells you that the same thing is going to happen, that the tyres could explode there, would you race or would you tell the people that’s enough?
NR: Well, we shouldn’t get into that situation. We need to do what needs to be done to sort it out and make the tyres last.
Before Sebastian’s stoppage, the gap between Sebastian and you had remained quite constant. Do you think you would have been able to catch him if he hadn’t have had the retirement?
NR: I was trying, I was pushing hard trying to stay with him but it wouldn’t have been possible. No, I would have been close all race but to catch him and pass, I didn’t have enough speed unfortunately. But I think pace-wise, possibly I was a little bit quicker, yeah, because very often I was able to come back to him once I started pushing again before the pit stops and when you’re in the dirty air from the guy in front, your tyres wear a little bit more and you lose out. I think I had good pace in the race today.
Do you think that without the Montmelo test Mercedes could be winning races like now?
NR: For sure, yeah. Definitely. (FIA-Apex)
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