Nico Rosberg extended his lead in the Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship with a hard fought win at the Austrian Grand Prix. Starting from third on the grid he capitalised on smart strategy to take the lead of the race after the first stops and thereafter spent his time keeping tabs on hard charging Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton who pushed him until the chequered flag. But in the end Rosberg did enough to claim his third win of the season, here is his story;
Another dominant one-two victory for Mercedes and very special for you again…
Nico Rosberg: Yeah, it wasn’t the easiest of races – trying to manage certain things that were a bit on the limit on the car. But in the end I had a very, very fast car again, so it was fantastic to win today. It’s great also to get a one-two here in Austria and it’s great to come back here to Austria. I mean Austria for sure deserves a race. The fans have been amazing, the atmosphere has been spectacular this weekend, so thank you very much for that and yeah it’s been awesome.
A 29-point lead, off to Silverstone, a track that you know well; a track that I tried to catch you on in the last few laps last year but you’ve had a couple of good wins there and you’re very strong at Silverstone, Lewis’ home track, so the battle continues. Looking forward to that race; home race obviously for Mercedes as well. So how’s the feeling for that one?
NR: Yeah, for sure, looking forward to the next one; home race, so it would be awesome to do another one-two there, that would be great to give something back to all of our colleagues back in the factory. So I’m looking forward to that.
Mercedes sixth one-two finish of this season, your third victory and you’ve now extended your championship lead, as we’ve heard, to 29 points. Clearly strategy was an important part of the story today – but did the race turn out as you had expected it to when you were sitting on the grid?
NR: To be honest yes it did. Pretty much exactly like we were trying to make it work. OK, I thought I would get Valtteri at the start and I did – but then they’re quick on the straights and he just went flying straight by me again, which was not good. But I knew pre-race that even if I am third after the start, the chances are still very good to make it and win the race because we have just a little bit more pace and less tyre degradation than the Williams – we expected to have less at least – so we could go aggressive on the stops and that’s what we did and it really worked out well and so I’m, yeah, extremely happy with that result. Also, great to extend the championship lead, which was really my goal coming into Austria.
Can you tell us more about the final five laps…
NR: Well, I generally felt comfortable in the last few laps. I thought that I could keep a nice gap and just on the last lap my tyres dropped away a little bit but as soon as they got past the first couple of hairpins, I knew that I was going to be fine so it wasn’t as close as maybe some other races have been recently.
Now there is 29 points difference between you and Lewis…
NR: Well 29 points, yeah, for sure it’s a nice gap but it’s still so early in the season. I really like to concentrate on each weekend and keep on trying to make the most of them and enjoying the moment, also with the car that we have. It’s so great to come to the next race at Silverstone, our home race, with the best, knowing that if I do a good job I can do pole and win the race. So I’m more taking it step-by-step and every weekend my aim is to extend the championship lead which I managed to do this weekend.
If you will win the championship this year, will you . . . grow a moustache like your father?
NR: Maybe. Yup.
You were pretty sure that you would win the race in yesterday’s Qualifying press conference. What made you so confident in the result?
NR: Because generally I still believe that we have the fastest car and we had very good long run pace on Friday, that’s the race practice. We were quick there and I didn’t get the best out of it in Qualifying, so I was pretty confident that the chance would be very good. Of course, you never know how to overtake and things like that, but it all worked out well.