Rosberg: Team had no idea what was going on
20 April 2014
Nico Rosberg admitted that he was delighted to have finished second in the Chinese Grand Prix after a weekend to forget for the F1 championship leader.
The German qualified only fourth after spinning on his final lap in Saturday's session, and then suffered contact with Valtteri Bottas at the start of the race, but his biggest concern was a lack of telemetry data that left him driving largely in the dark as he attempted to recover from sixth at the end of lap one.
“The whole weekend was really, really bad for me - it went just completely wrong in so many different respects,” he confirmed, “In the race, we had no telemetry, so there was no communication from car to pits and they had no idea what was going on on track. That was why the start was so bad, and a lot of things came together, so I'm pleased with second and look forward to a normal weekend in Barcelona and [going] full attack again.”
The telemetry problem was enough to hamper Rosberg's race, other than preventing him from getting a good start and leaving him with a lot more work to do to claim a podium, but it did have its annoying moments.
“I was completely on my own out there - the team doesn't see any information from the car, so I was having to do all things on my own. I was having to tell the team my fuel level so that they could tell me whether I was using too much fuel or if I was safe - and I was having to do that into turn one, which is a difficult enough corner anyway so I didn't enjoy that part. It's fine I guess, it was just reporting once in a while to the paddock. It wasn't every lap, just once in a while so they could place a few dots and see where [the fuel level] going – that's it. It wasn't a problem at all, I just didn't like where I had to do it.”
The contact with Bottas, meanwhile, came as Rosberg appeared focused on a similar first corner incident between Fernando Alonso and a fast-start Felipe Massa ahead of him, but apparently left the Mercedes with very little damage.
“[The first corner] was very close, cars all over the place,” he confirmed, “I just had a bit of contact there and its great that my car held on.”
Finishing second to Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton is not something Rosberg takes great pleasure in, and the pair now head to the first European race of 2014 separated by just four points after the Briton completed a hat-trick of victories. Rosberg, however, insists that he is ready to fight for his championship advantage.
“I'm not going to use the word 'still' [to describer being in the lead] as I plan to keep it that way,” he emphasised, “I'm definitely in the lead and that's great.
“It's really a pleasure to drive this car at the moment – it's incredible the car the team has built so thanks to the whole team - and Mercedes. This thing is so quick, it really increases the enjoyment level even further. Of course, I don't want to play catch up, but I was back there and playing catch-up was nice in this really fast car – it's a good weapon!
“Set-up-wise, it was a good team effort this weekend. It's a very unique track here, with understeer being the main problem on the front left tyre, so you have to change everything adapt to the needs of the track and I think we did well as a team.”
Although Mercedes is comfortably ahead in the constructors'' table – some 97 points ahead of Red Bull – Rosberg insisted that there would be no let up from the Brackley team between now and the next race.
“We want to go to Barcelona with an even bigger step – that's our ambition,” he warned, “Barcelona is a chance for us to extend the advantage that we have, and that's the approach we're going to have going there.”