Formula 1 career win number four was not the hardest fought affair for Nico Rosberg, nevertheless he made the most of a strong car and firmly established himself and Mercedes as hot favourites for the 2014 World Championship titles, but perhaps more importantly victory in the Australian Grand Prix is historic by the virtue of being the first of the all new V6 turbo era. Rosberg spoke after his triumphant afternoon in Melbourne.
What a great start to the 2014 championship. A great start to the new era of Formula One.
Nico Rosberg: Yes, I mean, already it’s been an amazing time here in Melbourne. Thanks to all of you, you’ve made it all the more special, all your support has been fantastic this weekend. Even though Daniel got a little bit more support than us. Anyway that’s normal. It’s been an amazing day. I’m just over the moon really. It’s incredible, everybody has worked so hard over the winter and now to have such an amazing Silver Arrow to drive is just unreal. This thing was unbelievably quick today and the reliability was good also, so it was just the perfect start to the season. I’m really thankful to Mercedes, they have done an amazing job over the winter.
Well, all your hard work has paid off well and truly..?
NR: Yeah, for now yes. Today, definitely.
What are you going to do now between here and the next one?
NR: We’ll definitely evaluate everything that we’ve learned now from this weekend because for sure there’s some way to go. We still can improve a lot. We must, because our competitors aren’t going to be asleep. Definitely they are going to try to catch up quickly, So just try to learn as much as we can, improve the car, go on holiday a little bit next week and then get ready for Malaysia.
What a start, what a race, what a win..?
NR: Yeah, the start was just… off like a bullet – or off like a Silver Arrow – thanks to Evan he did a great job on my start – my engineer who’s responsible for that. And then after that the car was just really, really quick today and the whole team did such a good job on it. Engine: really good engine, not much of a problem with fuel consumption, didn’t have to worry much about that, pretty much as usual. It just all worked perfectly. Reliability was great. So, fantastic. I’m just so happy for everybody. They work so damn hard, I don’t think people can really imagine how hard everybody works in my team and I’m sure in other teams too – so that’s just the best reward possible. To dominate in such a way the first week, the first race out.
Big winning margin, obviously a lot of pace in the car and there was a lot of radio communication about extending that middle stint – which you seemed to be able to do quite comfortably?
NR: Yeah, got into a bit of a strange situation in that middle stint because I got graining on the front and then somehow I was losing temperature and somehow it started to get really difficult out there. So, I thought I was going to have to come in soon and they just said try to stay out, try to stay out and I did and then the graining cleared on my tyre and I was off, I was able to go again. It was a bit of a strange period but then it was fine again after that.
How does it feel to lead the championship for the first time in your life, and actually be the first Rosberg in front since Keke in 1982?
NR: Mr Statistics! It feels…I don’t think about that. I’m really just in the moment. I have an unbelievably quick car or I had an unbelievably quick car today. That gives me a lot of…you know, it’s such a pleasure to drive. It’s such a great feeling and I really look forward to the next races so much now, having this..it’s so fast, it’s great. Of course, it’s still going to be tough and reliability is not 100 percent sorted, there’s still lots of work we need to do and there’s a lot of work ahead of us but it’s a great start and I’m just excited about the result today and sharing it with the whole team. It’s just fantastic.
You talked about the reliability of your car but obviously a different story for your teammate in what happened to him in first practice and also at the start of the race today. Does that bring any concerns for Mercedes, for yourself going forward as well, that the car isn’t as bullet-proof as we perhaps saw during testing?
NR: Yeah, I’m not sure what happened to the other car but for sure it’s a fact that we’re not 100 percent sorted yet. We know that and the team did a great job to get my car working so well in the race today but there’s still work to be done. We have two weeks now. We need to identify all the things that we can still do better because even leading up to this weekend, there were still a lot of changes on the car and you don’t really want to be doing that just going to the first race. And also in testing there were still a couple of problems at the end there, so great job, but still things to get sorted.
That was the first start with a V6 turbo. Has it been any different to the starts you have been used to with the V8s?
NR: There are some small bits and pieces that are different, yeah, and then getting away, upshifting through the gears, getting that right, but in the end it’s not too far apart. I think my start was spectacular today, it felt great, felt like last year.
How difficult was it to manage the fuel during the race? Was it easy?
NR: Yeah, yeah, honestly our engine I think even there, they’ve just done a Power Unit not just engine, they’ve done a great job because it’s not much different than last year, a little bit more than last year but it’s really straightforward and quite easy and this being the most difficult track, it’s really impressive.
A certain Mr Ecclestone predicted that you would win this year’s championship. Do you think that favouritism is now justified by this result today?
NR: Of course I heard about that and I’m thankful for such a statement. It’s always a boost when it comes from Bernie but other than that, I don’t think about that too much at the moment. There’s a long way to go and it’s just been a great day today, great win, great start to the season and just leave it at that.
Malaysia is normally the next week after Australia. This time it’s two weeks away. Is it an advantage for you to have that two weeks or is it a disadvantage because it allows everyone a bit of extra time to get their cars closer to where you’re at?
NR: I don’t know whether it’s an advantage or disadvantage but for sure we’re going to use that time well to further improve our car, make it quicker, more reliable, so it’s going to be a very useful gap now in between the two races.
Today we saw you dancing a little bit to get lucky going to the drivers’ parade. It looks like you were really confident, in spite of having Lewis on pole position. I want to know if you’re going to dance a little bit more to get get lucky in every race?
NR: I was very optimistic for the race today because we just prepared really well for it and so I was confident that we could do well and so I looked forward to it and from the start it just all went fantastically.
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