Nico Rosberg has admitted that his key focus now is on keeping the momentum going after registering his and Williams' best finish of the 2009 Formula 1 World Championship campaign to-date in the Turkish Grand Prix with fifth place in Istanbul.
Somewhat ironically, the result came off the back of the young German's equal lowest starting position of the season in ninth, but a lightning getaway when the lights went out saw him tear past both Ferraris, as well as the slow-starting Brawn GP of Rubens Barrichello and Renault's Fernando Alonso to slot into fifth place during the opening stint.
After leapfrogging the Toyota of Jarno Trulli in the first round of pit-stops, the inaugural GP2 Series Champion looked set for an excellent fourth place, but an early switch-over to the harder-compound Bridgestone rubber later on ultimately counted against him and enabled the Italian to regain the place, leaving Rosberg fifth at the chequered flag – but nonetheless pleased with his performance.
“I am happy with fifth place and happy for the team as well because this is a good result,” underlined the 23-year-old. “I had a great start, which I have to thank my engineers for as it went exactly as I'd hoped it would, and by the end of the first lap I'd managed to make up four positions.
“From there, I pushed hard to get past Trulli, and I thought I could because my pace was good, but he had a quicker car today. I hope we can keep up this momentum and score points at every race. At the moment, I would say we can consistently be in the top eight.”
Indeed, that much went for both Williams' in Istanbul, with Kazuki Nakajima in the sister FW31 reprising his impressive practice and early qualifying pace with a strong run during a long first stint that carried the Japanese ace as high as fourth position before pitting for the first time just shy of half-distance.
Sadly, a sticking wheel nut in his second pit-stop 17 laps later cost the 23-year-old crucial time, and dropped him from a likely seventh position – and his first points of the year – to a frustrated twelfth at the close, with the sixth-fastest lap time to his credit, more than two tenths quicker than Rosberg's best marker.
“I had a good start and a strong first lap,” Nakajima reported. “Everything was then going well until the second stop. What happened was a real shame, as I think that was probably the best race of my career so far. Pace-wise, we were competitive today, so thanks to the team for a good car and a solid strategy which allowed me to beat [Kimi] Raikkonen and [Fernando] Alonso on the track. We will just have to learn from the mistake in the pit-stop and hope for a better result next time.”
“It was good to score four points,” concluded the multiple former world championship-winning, Grove-based outfit's technical director Sam Michael. “Nico had a fantastic start and drove a strong race to fifth. It was a shame that we had the problem during the pit-stop on Kazuki's car when the front left wheel nut became stuck. If not for that, he would have finished in a well-deserved seventh place. To come away with four points, though, is a good day for the team.”