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?
NR:
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…
NR:
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?
NR:
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?
NR:
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?
NR:
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?
NR:
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?
NR:
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…
NR:
…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?
NR:
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?
NR:
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?
NR:
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?
NR:
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?
NR:
How could I do that? Bring me somebody who can – he would be very welcome!

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

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