Rosberg: I’ve grown up here and now to win at home is very special

Nico Rosberg celebrates with his Mercedes team after winning the Monaco GP
Nico Rosberg celebrates with his Mercedes team after winning the Monaco GP

Nico Rosberg doubled his Formula 1 career wins tally to two after a dominant win on the streets of Monaco and with it made history by becoming the first son of a former Monte Carlo winner (Keke Rosberg) to repeat the feat, also  adding to the allure is the fact that he grew up and went to school in the neighbourhood. The Mercedes driver spoke about his big day.

You controlled the race from pole position but you had to deal with two safety cars, a red flag, a lot of mental resets no doubt, but describe your feelings right now, you’re a Monaco Grand Prix winner?
Nico Rosberg: Yeah, amazing! This is my home, I’ve grown up here lived all my life here, I’ve gone to school here. So now to win at home is very special; a very special day for me. The whole weekend really went perfectly, qualifying [everything]. The start was very close. I had a terrible start! I was close to Sebastian and then with Lewis also, but then that worked out well. After that I could control the pace. The car was really good, the tyres held on ok, so that was really the key to the victory. So massive thanks to the team for having improved from Barcelona and I’m just ecstatic

First son of a former Monaco Grand Prix winner to repeat the feat. Thirty years on from your father Keke’s victory here at Monaco. Did that add a certain extra-special something to this win today.
NR: It is special to hear that, yes but honestly that’s not what I was thinking about when I was crossing the finishing line, definitely not. Just extremely happy to win this race. Also, we’ve had again such a difficult time behind us. In the last couple of races pole position and dropping back so much. There was always that a little bit in the back of my mind today in the race: ‘I hope that it’s going to last and I’ll be able to pull it off today and not drop back again.’ Because it’s not nice when you’re starting in front and dropping back. And then today the team gave me a great car. It’s really fantastic to see how they’ve been able to improve in such a short space of time. Little improvement here and there but on this track – this track suited us anyway – and so it was enough to make it happen.

What was it like to be in control of a race but then have to mentally reset each time? There was nothing straightforward about the way that race unfolded for you today.
NR: No, definitely not. It wasn’t very nice y’know? Because I was in a great rhythm on those prime tyres, trying to nurse them towards the end and then all of a sudden a race stoppage. It’s never nice to get out of that rhythm y’know? Because especially around Monaco it’s so easy to have a quick concentration error and then you’re in the tyre barrier and it’s the end of the race. So, it was really important today to remain concentrated and that didn’t make it easy, all those safety cars and the red flag and everything – but fortunately in the end it all worked out.

Did you think at any point about the school runs you used to do down these roads and the fact that you were actually going to be winning a race on the roads you used to go to school on?
NR: No! There was a lot of thoughts going through my mind, definitely, but not about the roads to school. Various things. Even, to be honest, winning Monaco in a silver arrow. I was thinking about that and that’s very special to me.

The two secret test days that you had in Barcelona. How helpful were those days for you?
NR: That you have to ask, you have to ask Pirelli about all this, about this issue. I’m not going to comment. I’m not going to comment on that. You have to ask Pirelli.

We often hear drivers say that the most exciting race to win other than their home Grand Prix is Monaco. Obviously this is both for you. Could you please give us a bit of a sense of the elation and euphoria you must be feeling? What was it like doing that slowing down lap?
NR: Unbelievable. If there’s maybe a childhood dream… when I was quite young, watching the race, always. First memories were of Ayrton Senna with his yellow helmet, red and white winning, a childhood dream to one day win the Grand Prix of Monaco, because it is my home and that’s the most special race for me to win, so the feeling was just incredible, it was unreal. That’s what’s so special about the sport: these emotions that you then get and that makes up for all the difficult moments that have gone before, those great moments of joy and winning. Amazing.

Now that everything is going well, what is the percentage of your chances of winning the title?
NR: I haven’t thought about that at all yet, because just two weeks we ago were seventy seconds away in the race and even today, tyre degradation was still an issue. I think we were in a better position, much better definitely, but it’s also a different track, very different track, different circumstances. I had the possibility of taking it easy and dictating the pace initially to save tyres, so we shouldn’t get over-excited now, for the next couple of races. We still have a bit of an issue with our race pace and that’s still what we need to work on, and also the development race. Everybody’s pushing forward, flat out, and we need to make sure to keep up with that as we have been doing at the moment, which is great to see, because that was one of our weaknesses last year, we dropped away mid-season. For now it’s going really well, so thanks to everybody back in the factory, doing a really cool job. But we have to wait and see. I’m definitely not thinking about the championship, I’m just thinking about today, winning Monaco.

Do you think this was maybe the final seal to get rid of the status of being Keke’s son, so that you have achieved everything by your own skills now?
NR: Don’t know, that’s for you to judge. I don’t think about that in that sense so you need to judge that for yourself. I can’t comment on that.

Have you at times, when you were younger or when you came into Formula One, did you feel any pressure from the fact that your father was so well known, being a World Champion, that sort of thing?
NR: I’ve always felt very fortunate to have had my father… what he achieved and everything… to have his support and extra pressure? It’s a normality for me you know, having my father World Champion. I grew up with that, started racing like that, so it’s not something where I feel any extra pressure because for me that’s normal.

What was the most difficult thing for your victory today, getting the pole yesterday, starting after the safety car, or the last lap with the emotion?
NR: Qualifying was difficult because of the conditions. The start was very difficult because I had a bad start. Those were the two keys. Once those two things were done, from then on it was OK. There were still some challenges with the safety car, because the tyres were very cold on those prime tyres, for example so there were other challenges but the main ones were qualifying and the start.