29 March 2015
F1 Malaysian Grand Prix: Rosberg 'closed eyes' and 'prayed' at start
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg finishes third in the F1 2015 Malaysian Grand Prix
Nico Rosberg says he had to “close his eyes” and “pray” at the start of the 2015 F1 Malaysian Grand Prix when he was blocked by Sebastian Vettel.
Rosberg made a good start from third in his Mercedes, but like last year and again against Vettel, he was squeezed against the pit wall and eventually had to slot back into third, the position he eventually finished in.
“He left enough space, so it is okay,” Rosberg told reporters after the race. “I closed my eyes and went for it. It was exactly the same last year. I expected him to leave the space again like he did last year and all I could do is pray he leaves some space and he did. It was enough, so it is okay. A centimetre more, however, would not have been okay...
“It was a good battle also into Turn 1. He squeezed me again onto the inside. I had to avoid a little bit or we would have touched.
“But okay, fair play.”
Vettel conceded the battle was "hard" and reminiscent of 2014: “I was surprised to see him again. Just like last year, yesterday it was déjà fu, a tenth behind Lewis [Hamilton] in qualifying and then side-by-side with Nico into Turn 1,” added the Ferrari driver.
“I really wanted to get that tow off of Lewis' car, so I was trying not to be squeezed too much to the left, but I had to give him room.
“Then in Turn 1 I obviously tried to stay ahead, it was crucial for our race. As he said it was hard, but I think, I hope, I just gave him enough room.”
Meanwhile, Rosberg added he felt the decision to stop early after the safety car was deployed did leave him on the “backfoot”.
“It was the plan from before the race if there is a safety car on that lap then we box," Rosberg revealed. "I think we didn't expect so many people to stay out probably and also I didn't expect to lose that much time in the pit stop waiting for people to go by because the pit lane is so wide. We thought we would be able to go alongside. So, those were the problems there.
“Then just getting through the pack afterwards was very difficult. It cost a lot of tyre degradation also. That [all] really put me on the backfoot.
“I tried to fight back as much as possible, but couldn't quite get back to Lewis. Although I lost a lot in that pit stop phase I am happy I got very close to Lewis [by the end], but not enough to attack or anything.”
Speaking moments earlier on the podium, Rosberg promised to fight back next time out in Shanghai.
“All I can say now on behalf of our team is, 'Game on Ferrari!'. It was quite complex out there today. I am sure we did a good job. Congrats to Ferrari, they did an awesome job and deserved to win. We will be back at the next race. China is a great track for me. I look forward to that and of course we are going for the win there,” he concluded.
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