Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg leaves Sepang leading the 2014 Formula 1 World Championship standings after adding second place in the Malaysian grand Prix to his victory two weeks earlier in Australia, nonetheless helping the Silver Arrows to their first 0ne-two since the fifties. He spoke after the race.
That was a fantastically exciting moment at the start. Did you feel Sebastian on your shoulder? Because you took such a hard line on the right, you were like less than a foot away from the side.
Nico Rosberg: Thanks to my engineer we worked together well and we got a great start and that allowed me to go into second place. It was a bit ‘iffy’, Turn Three I got a bit sideways, saw plenty of action there but it worked out well and from then on I was trying to chase Lewis but he was a bit too quick today.
Well, you did fantastically well, it was a superb run…
NR: Just one more thing. Malaysia you can be proud because your company Petronas has taken us to the front of F1, so you can be really proud of that. Petronas has given us the best oil and fuel in F1, it’s brilliant.
You’re not only leading the World Championship but you’ve extended your lead today in the World Championship. But to take you back to earlier in the race, you seemed to have a few problems with the rear tyres, we were hearing over the radio, maybe you could tell us a bit about that – and also maybe a bit about the start as well.…
NR: First of all the start, I had a really good start, so I was happy about that because it’s not so easy this year. The rear tyres are harder and we have more torque. So it’s very difficult to get it right – but it felt great and got away well and then Sebastian, I thought he was going to put me right into the wall, but he stopped just before – so thank you for that! My heartbeat skipped a beat a little bit but I kept right on it, it was OK anyway, it wasn’t that bad. Then I had a bit of a moment in Turn Three, a bit of a tail, tank-slapper and that allowed them all to get another run on me, but it all worked out. And then I was just trying to chase Lewis but he was a bit too quick today. It was a bit difficult out there because the track was really poor, it seemed, sliding so much, and just struggling with the rear tyres especially. That made it a bit difficult out there.
Do you think that the three contenders [Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel] for the title are sitting up there today?
NR: That sounds very good already as it is but there’s a long way to go. I’m not thinking about that at the moment, I’m really just taking it race by race, just enjoying the moment, making the most of it, keeping on it, keeping to push. The best example is now Red Bull. The last day of testing was four weeks ago or something or three weeks ago and they were absolutely nowhere and now he (Vettel) was right in the back of me, pushing me. OK, I had some pace in hand so I could beat him in the end clearly but still, the way they’ve ramped up their pace, very impressive, so we need to keep on it to keep our advantage.
We’ve heard an awful lot about some extreme measures that drivers have taken to stay below weight this season with the car. Now Malaysia is always a punishing race because of the heat. Was it more difficult this year, especially as we had no rain, just the physical challenge?
NR: Yeah, it’s not nice that everything weight-wise is on the edge but that’s the way it is. It’s always a compromise between being light but still being able to perform at the highest of my abilities and I found my compromise and so I felt absolutely fine today. But of course, it is tough out there always. Malaysia is very, very hot.