15 March 2015
F1 Australian Grand Prix: Rosberg: It wasn’t possible to get close to Lewis
Nico Rosberg accepts that he needed fate to tackle Mercedes F1 team-mate Lewis Hamilton if he was to win back-to-back Australian grands prix.
Nico Rosberg has admitted that second place was as good as his Australian Grand Prix was going to get given the imperious form of his Mercedes team-mate – and reigning world champion – Lewis Hamilton.
Despite having held the upper hand through Friday practice at Albert Park, Rosberg was pushed back into P2 by Hamilton on Saturday and, starting behind the Briton on the grid, was forced to play a chasing role as Mercedes claimed another 1-2. Although he was able to post fastest laps throughout the 58-lap encounter, Rosberg always saw his efforts countered by Hamilton, and the gap between them rarely dipped below 1.5secs.
“The attack was definitely there - maybe you didn't see it, but it was there for sure inside the cockpit!” the German insisted, “It was just that Lewis made no mistakes and it wasn't possible to get closer than that, let alone try some attempt to overtake.”
Rosberg was asked by his team to try and save fuel during the middle part of the race and, when he was denied information on his team-mate's fuel situation because of the regulation on team-driver communications, was left to monitor his own pace in a bid to hunt down the world champion.
“I put the question because I wanted to know exactly where Lewis was, but they're not allowed to tell me, so I never got the answer!” he grimaced, “I hadn't thought about that at the time but, obviously, it was not good because I thought, if I knew he was down or something, it would be really motivating, but I had no idea and it's not great in that situation, not really helpful. All I could do is push like hell and hope that he had less... which wasn't the case!
“It was a matter of saving a little bit of fuel in the middle of the race to then be able to go full-on at the end of the race, but I think Lewis did a very similar thing - as soon as I saved a little bit, he saved as well, so that, in the end, he could also push and that didn't really help me really.”
With more than half a minute separating Rosberg from countryman Sebastian Vettel in third place, there are already suggestions that 2015 could be another cakewalk for Mercedes, but the German admitted that having some opposition from anywhere other than Brackley would only improve his season.
“I hope we can have a good fight - that would be awesome!” he said when asked to discuss Ferrari's improvement, “I think, in the next couple of races, we're going to be leading the way for sure - and we are going to try and keep it that way - but it would be good if they could come a bit closer. Just not too close!”
While Vettel interpreted the reply as an invitation to a Mercedes open house in Malaysia – 'debrief, I'll be there,' the four-time champion noted to the delight of the assembled media – Rosberg insisted that closer competition could only be good for the sport.
“I hope they give us a challenge because it's important for the sport and for the fans,” he pointed out, “I do think about the show and I want to give people a great time watching at home on TV and here at the track so, if you do come a bit closer, that would be awesome!
The fans looked like they had an awesome time today so that was great to see - they were going crazy on the start-finish line and under the podium, which was nice – but, of course, we need to keep reinventing this sport and keep moving forward and adapting. The process is in place but it's a normal thing - there are ups and downs, but you just need to ride the wave and push on to keep improving the show as things change in the world.”
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