After finishing the runner-up in the previous four races, Nico Rosberg regained the high ground in the 2014 world title chase by winning the Monaco Grand Prix, which he considers his home race, but this appears to have come at the expense of a long term friendship with Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton as the pair slug it out on track and psychologically. Rosberg reflects on his important victory in Monte Carlo – his second of the season and second in a row on ‘home’ turf.
A home win for the home boy. How did it feel? You had Lewis very, very close to you all the race but you held on to your lead. How was it?
Nico Rosberg: A very, very special day for sure. Lewis drove really, really well and pushed me massively hard, so the pressure was on all the way. But I kept it cool and, yeah, was able to win, in the end pulling a bit of a gap because I had the fresher tyres. So, fantastic and I’m very, very happy for the whole team, it’s an amazing car they’ve built and given us this year.
A two-time Monaco Grand Prix winner, only a handful of drivers have ever done that before. Fifth consecutive one-two finish for the Mercedes team and you are back on top of the drivers’ standings. Can you sum up what this win means for you today in the context of tyhe4 battle with Lewis for the championship?
NR: Yeah, it’s a special win, definitely, because Lewis has had the momentum with the results and everything and I really needed to try to break that momentum and somewhat I managed to do that this weekend. Of course taking the leading again in the world championship and winning here in Monaco, yeah, all in all really, really cool.
We have seen that there is a pretty tense situation between the two of you and we also heard comments from Lauda saying that you did not want to talk and apologise. Are you going to have a pizza together, a dinner, to sort the problems, talk about it and try to get the situation back to normal.
NR: It’s fine. We’ve had discussions and the benefit we have is that we’ve known each other for so long. We always sit down and discuss it and then move on and that’s what we’re doing this weekend also.
You were being told to back-off and coast with fuel. How critical was your fuel?
NR: Yeah, the fuel was very critical and caught me off-guard a little bit because it was a major change that I had to make and especially with Lewis being so close behind, it was a tough moment because I had to change the driving style completely, use different gears, different lifting and coasting, everything different. But, again, the team managed that well and got me to do what I needed to do. And then, once I got into the groove again, it was OK and everything…it was no problem them. But it was still difficult.
Your father Keke won here 31 years ago , today you are double Monaco winning. Which do you think is prouder at the moment: you or your Dad?
NR: I don’t know. I hope…of course my father is proud today and that makes me very happy, that I’m able to make my parents proud. Hopefully even my friends, for example, who all were here also this weekend and that makes it all the more special to have family, friends, everybody I know lives here and is at the track watching the race and that’s even nicer.
You said that you had to break the momentum, since Lewis is coming from four consecutive wins. Is this your most important victory so far?
NR: I don’t know about the most important. For sure it was very, very important, yes, today because Lewis had the result momentum and I needed to try and bring that to an end and managed to do that today, so that’s great but, y’know, it’s still early days and for sure it’s going to continue to be a very, very tough battle.
Have you been surprised that the team didn’t call you in right after the crash of Sutil?
NR: No. Surprised? No, not really, because I don’t think about that too much. I know I can rely on them to make the right call at all times so it’s not something that I’m thinking too much about, the strategy and should I be boxing now or not, because I know that they’re going to make the right call.
Do you think it was fair what Lewis said about you not being hungry as him because you were growing with boats and jets and all that stuff?
NR: I didn’t hear Lewis say that and so I’m not going to comment because it’s easy for you to just invent something and so I’m not going to comment on that, and even if something like that was written – which I don’t know because I don’t read the media – then still, between what Lewis says and what’s written, so much can turn around so it’s better I don’t say anything and I know that Lewis wouldn’t say something like that, especially not to the press, maybe to me if he feels like it but not to the press.
You may give the same answer to this question then, because there were some comments from yourself in a few of the German newspapers where you remarked that when Lewis goes through a difficult period that he can crack. Do you think that that’s what happened this weekend, that maybe Lewis did crack?
NR: Again, that is definitely very very far from anything that I’ve ever said and ever would say. Definitely not and I’ve known Lewis for many many years and he’s always been strong, among other things mentally, so I’m definitely not expecting him to crack any time soon, that’s for sure. It’s going to be a tough battle which is going to be ongoing, but I would never say something like that anyways.
What racing gives you, is it freedom of expression, a way to express yourself, adrenalin?
NR: First of all, we’re here to entertain and hopefully give people a great time and a spectacle to watch, and especially in Monaco, it’s very obviously because everybody’s there on boats and houses and everything, and I just hope that we’re able to put on a great show, that our sport is seen as the best sport in the world, the most fun sport in the world, the most exciting sport in the world and so that’s a special feeling as such. And then of course driving my car through the streets of Monaco on the limit, battling everybody else, trying to win and then of course the win itself is the most special moment.
Subbed by AJN.