Nico Rosberg Q&A: It’s now or never!

nico rosberg q&a

Nico Rosberg might head into the 2014 Formula One finale with a 17-point deficit to Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton, but he remains very optimistic he can overhaul his title rival and clinch a first world championship crown.

On the eve of the Grand Prix, Rosberg says he will maintain his normal approach even for the biggest moment of his career – and insists he can influence Hamilton’s race, in part because having nothing to lose might give him a crucial psychological edge…

Q: Nico, how are you going about this weekend? For you, is this a ‘state of emergency’ race?
Nico Rosberg:
Such an attitude would not be good for me. I want to proceed where I left off in Brazil: to win. It is crucial that I win this race. Of course this moment means the peak of my Formula One career – to be fighting for the title. It is indeed a really cool feeling to be here knowing that I could capture the title. That makes the next couple of days and hours feel very intense.

Q: So you do believe that you can still make it?
Yes, I do believe in it. Yes, I am very optimistic.

Q: Are you considering that things could go in a different direction? In past finales things have suddenly and dramatically changed – that might also happen on Sunday…
Of course you think about these things. In sport you can never bank on a sure result. So yes, these thoughts are there, but there is also always a certain amount of luck needed…

Q: What was the key to your victory in Brazil?
I raised my game. To control the pace and not overdo it – and always keep the gap. And to never give him [Hamilton] the chance to attack. That didn’t work in Austin, but it worked in Brazil.

Q: How do you manage that, never giving a rival the chance to attack?
You have to get more out of the tyres – and cut back again when you see that they haven’t managed to come into the DRS window. But that is racing and not a fixed process – so it is always depending on the situation. In Austin I was not prepared for an attack – in Brazil I handled the situation better.

Q: Psychologically, Lewis has more to lose than you – is that an advantage?
Yes, it is. He has everything to lose and I have everything to win. That can make all the difference.

Q: How disturbing is it that you are not the master of your own destiny on Sunday – that you cannot control his race and have to bank on the help of others?
I think I can influence his race. If I hadn’t been in that position in Brazil he wouldn’t have spun…

Q: …but is Abu Dhabi a track that suits you?
That is no criteria this season. I have won at tracks this year where I have never done particularly well in the past – so this season compares with nothing in the past! With the car that I have this year – and the will – I can win at every track.

Q: If you think back to Lewis’s performance here last year, then you clearly have the upper hand…
…yes, that’s true. Abu Dhabi was one of his least good races last season.

Q: You try to persuade yourself that this is just another race, but is that possible when there is so much at stake?
Yes, it is. You keep the same procedures as at all the other races this season, and blank out the fact it is this race that decides between the title or being empty-handed.

Q: You don’t always run the same set-up as Lewis. Will you have a brief look at his, to get an idea of what his probable plan for the race is?
Probably yes – because this is the race where it could give me an advantage choosing a different direction. It’s here or never! So I definitely will have a look.

Q: Is there a chance that he won’t notice what you’re doing?
No, but he might have the feeling that it is not the right direction.

Q: Does Lewis have an advantage because he has fought for the championship on several occasions before?
No, I don’t see that. Every situation is so different that comparing doesn’t get you anywhere.

Q: What scenario has to happen so that you can turn things around again? Can you paint that picture?
How could I do that? Bring me somebody who can – he would be very welcome!

Q: Would you welcome a retirement for Hamilton?
No. Or to be more precise: if he causes it himself, that’s another matter.

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