I’ve learned from Austin defeat – Rosberg

2014 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Nico Rosberg is determined to avoid a repeat of United States Grand Prix defeat in tomorrow’s race.

He starts from pole position in Brazil but is wary of the threat from team mate and championship rival Lewis Hamilton, who starts second.

Rosberg was quickest in all three practice sessions and all three stages of qualifying, which he described as a “perfect job – only if it works out tomorrow”.

“Unfortunately – up to now of course it’s been going well and it’s the best place to be in tomorrow – but of course I need to make it happen in the race unlike Austin, for example,” he added.

Rosberg shrugged off the pressure of the championship-deciding final races saying the pressure he feels is “pretty much similar”.

“The adrenaline is there, the tension, the excitement. It’s not been changing that much. I’m just here, I’m going for it, trying to push myself to stay optimistic all the time – naturally I am optimistic also.

“Learn from Austin, I know what I need to do better, so from that point of view good to go for tomorrow.”

2014 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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28 comments on “I’ve learned from Austin defeat – Rosberg”

  1. Should’ve learned from Monza, a little too late maybe?

  2. Good for you Nico. Now you need to learn from your Brazil defeat!

  3. As usual, he’ll likely waste his great pole effort.

  4. The problem for Nico is that the issue he had in Austin was the same issue he has been having all year and is looking set to cost him a world championship: a dislike of Pirelli’s 2014 medium and hard compound tyres. It is difficult to decipher weather it is a merely stylistic issue early in the stint, i.e. not being able to quickly adapt to the new balances of the prime over the option and find a rhythm, as Nico claimed post race at Austin, or whether it is a Button-esque temperature issue. The tempting conclusion is that Lewis’ acrobatic style allows him the temperature early enough in the stint to have a margin on Nico immediately after the stops; but why then during qualifying, a discipline all about flaring up a tyre for one all or nothing lap, has Nico been so strong?

    The irritating reality is the answer to the question “Why does a Rosberg pole more commonly result in a Hamilton win than a Rosberg win?” is all too faceted for anyone other than team insiders to work out and certainly not “just because Lewis is faster”, albeit Lewis’ implied greater versatility theoretically makes him better at developing driving solutions to new balances that arise through variations in fuel load and tyre life/compound.

    1. I think you have, very eloquently, answered your question yourself. I think Lewis handles the variations better than Nico. Lewis also is much more comfortable chasing and I believe that Lewis’s car positioning is a lot better than Nico’s as is his race craft.

      1. @freebird78 Well in order for racecraft to be necessary you must first have a pace advantage, so I guess the real question is why does Lewis have a race pace advantage. The “versatile Lewis” argument is an enticing one with reference to his dominance in the Saturday deluge and the Sunday sun at Sepang, but at Sochi, where the track was consistent and the tyres didn’t degrade at all, the lack of variables still didn’t help Nico. And yet at Monaco, certainly the most dynamic track of the season, Nico claims pole, albeit controversially, and wins the race. The infinite number of empirical clashes confirm the complexity of the debate, and although “versatile Lewis” is a tempting line, it fails to explain every scenario this season.

        1. @countrygent DRS helped Hamilton in some races I think. Without DRS he would have had a very difficult time getting as close as he did in the USA GP, Japanese GP and maybe even the Canadian GP. The problem Rosberg has is, when he is passed, he is almost always unable to get back in DRS range (like Austin) and they just race at a very similar pace for the remainder of the race.

          1. @gdewilde DRS admittedly reduces the additional pace required to overtake the car ahead, but that doesn’t change the fact that in a duel between two identical cars in clear air the advantage in pace must be substantial to overtake; assuming the cars have similar wing levels.

          2. Lewis was able to easily close the gap to Nico even when he was out if drs range

        2. Monaco is a poor example. Hamilton would probably have got pole and won the race had Rosberg not deliberately ruined his rival’s lap.

        3. There may also be a secret element here that Hamilton is focusing more on the race than pole. Why? Because he knows he can get past and stay past Rosberg on track. Pole makes it easier, but being second has proven to be in most cases a non-issue. Undoubtedly drivers love racking up the pole wins, but Hamilton has been very, very clearly set on doing everything possible to win the championship. It will be a travesty if he fails to do so because of a random incident at the double point final – and because he rival took him out ‘with intent’ at Spa.

    2. @countrygent I do think it’s worth pointing out that before the entire rule changes on radio communication neither Mercedes driver had overtaken the other on track. Since then Rosberg has been overtaken in Suzuka and Austin. Perhaps that only adds to what you said, Rosberg needs more intel to get everything working whilst in a Q lap he has a outlap to prepare everything. I think we will see more of the same tomorrow.

      1. @xtwl Whilst empirically that is correct, I excluded the point about team radio from my analysis purely because we know so very little about its true effects and any statements about the ban’s effect would be conjecture. It is certainly tempting, with reference to the “versatile Lewis” argument I discuss with @freebird78 above, to suggest that a driving advice ban would infringe upon Nico’s ability to mirror Lewis’ “natural” modulations in style during the race. However on the occasions that Nico has been faster either in qualifying trim or a long run, Lewis would be mad not to utilise that information, and just because prior to the ban FOM more commonly played clips of Rosberg asking for advice, it doesn’t mean Hamilton wasn’t asking as frequently. If think we just have to be cautious about making overtly bold suggestions on sketchy evidence.

        However we do know that the driving advice ban has increased the importance of telemtric data for performance. With Rosberg having often laid down a superior race run in practice to Lewis, is Hamilton just better at gaining knowledge from the data? Yes, that conclusion doesn’t fit the established character profiles of the Mercedes drivers, but it is important not to be constrained by the public perception of drivers when analysing their performance. Certainly, I’ve noticed, as I have also noticed this evening (I’m at the circuit), that Hamilton tends leave the paddock after Nico.

      2. @countrygent I ment something more in the line of Lewis has it easier to adapt to driving the car more on himself where as Nico relies more on feedback from his engineer to solve his problems in a race about brakes, tyres, etc… For example Lewis has worked out how to get the tyres working through working with his engineers and can replicate that on raceday where as Nico has more trouble doing those things on his own in the car. But as you said, we don’t know the eact limitations of the radio ban so it is mere speculation.

    3. @countrygent I reckon it’s that ever since he was ripped off in Monaco Lewis has been overdriving qualifying. Then the race is a different thing and he doesn’t overdrive it.

      1. @lockup @countrygent Without the obvious outliers, Hamilton is a tenth quicker than Rosberg in qualifying on average this season – which is what would be predicted by an analysis of their F1 results up till now.

        Over a race distance, that works out to about a 6 second pace advantage to Hamilton, on average, and most of this year’s results have probably followed that trend line, whether Lewis wins by a small amount, or fights up through the field to be that far behind.

      2. Excellent data to contribute to the debate @fastiesty! @lockup I would advise you not to cry “error” the moment Lewis is outqualified, albeit that is admittedly the case today; Nico is a seriously brilliant qualifier, and second best only to Lewis. Rosberg has qualified brilliantly throughout his career, with particular reference to his first pole in Shanghai: perhaps the most perfect lap I’ve seen in thirty years of following F1. His decisive style and progressive steering inputs is an asset to him when there isn’t fuel onboard to settle the balance down and very Schumacher-esque. Nico has no answer in the race, but over a lap the guy is immense.

        1. @countrygent I would advise you to consider the data rather than try to pigeonhole me pretending my observation is some fanboy extreme. Some of us have been following F1 for more than a mere 30 years ;)

          Before Monaco it was 4:1 to Hamilton, since when he’s made several overdriving errors. Last year Lewis was 0.15 quicker too. I’d say Nico is extremely quick, rather than brilliant. Too quick for anyone to beat every weekend, but still I think Monaco and Spa have coloured Lewis’ approach.

          1. Can I just clarify @lockup, you are being adversarial because you failed to properly express yourself in your initial comment? It does certainly appear that you were suggesting that were always detrimental circumstances when Hamilton fails to get pole when in reality Rosberg has simply beaten Lewis on pace in both 2013 and 2014. We are essentially agreeing with each other, Hamilton is a marginally better qualifier than Rosberg. Frankly, how can a driver that averages anything close to Lewis’ standards be categorised as anything other than excellent? So yes, whilst some of us have been watching F1 for more than thirty years, not all of us have the necessary cogent eloquence to have been professionally writing about it for the past decade.

          2. @countrygent Yes we do basically agree. Rosberg is excellent, aka extremely quick. I think if you go back to your original reply to me you will see it lacked a little respect, is all.

            I’m not gonna be drawn on the cogency of your eloquence. It’s good not to split your infinitives tho :)) Looking forward to the race :)

          3. I am not quite so sure a debating blog is for you @lockup if you inferred adversarial intentions from a completely benign post intended to further a debate I was really enjoying. Because you appear to have such a detailed knowledge of syntax and semantics in the English language (albeit the fact that “cogent” is an adjective and “eloquence” is a noun technically makes my terminology linguistically sound) you will notice that I use the past tense to describe my enjoyment of the debate.

          4. @countrygent There is no need for us to fall out. I said ‘since he was ripped off in Monaco Lewis has been overdriving qualifying’, from which you inferred that I needed advising ‘not to cry “error” the moment Lewis is outqualified’.

            Then I failed to resist the temptation to tease you a little bit, I’m sorry.

            Let us enjoy our shared hopes for the race :)

        2. @countrygent That was a great lap indeed.. Nico got out and knew he had pole.. Schumi just answered ‘Wow’!

          Today, Lewis locked up in T10, but Nico had time spare if it was needed (better overall splits). I was right in selecting Nico for pole, but without that lock-up, Lewis might have nicked it by putting the lap together better. Vettel did very well, a perfect lap in fact, to beat a McLaren.

          @lockup I would agree that Lewis just outdoes Nico on consistency, which, in the end, is what defines who is the greatest, when several drivers are close to being the best. Alonso is now the king of consistency.

          1. @fastiesty
            Fun Fact: On his way to pole at China, Rosberg braked a full twenty metres later than Schumacher into the hairpin and set the longitudinal gravitational force record in F1 at 6.2G! I think Webber might have since broken it during qualifying at Austin.

            Regarding today, Lewis could not have been happier with that result, because frankly all he needs is a front row to win the race at a track so conducive to overtaking. Further down the grid Button is giving further reasons for fans to cry when he announces his inevitable exit from F1 and Vettel appeared to find a trace of his 2013 steel as he turned around an initially woeful qualifying session. Plenty of skill, commitment and talent on show today: just as it should be.

          2. @countrygent “I think Webber might have since broken it during qualifying at Austin.”

            I can’t follow on this one?

          3. I think Webber set a lateral G force record with the double-diffuser exhaust-blown f-ducted Bridgestone-shoed 18000rpm-V8 RB6 late in 2010. Those were the days….

          4. @xtwl – A colleague of mine was writing a piece on falling 2014 downforce levels versus previous G-forces in F1 and was exploring the highest forces seen excluding crashes and contact. When I was chatting to him about it I remember him saying that Rosberg had broken 6G for the first time at the hairpin on his way to his first pole, but that Webber currently held the longitudinal record. As Alex says Mark also holds the lateral record which was set by taking Campsa flat on his way to pole at Barcelona in 2010. He works for The Times so if you are interested and if you have a subscription to their online services, you could look in their archives, albeit a lot of the search tools of newspaper archives leave a lot to be desired.

          5. @fastiesty Hmmm well I don’t know if Nando is more consistent than Lewis. The hype around ‘the most complete driver’ is hard to penetrate sometimes. People instantly wipe his mistakes from their memory banks! Lewis is extremely consistent too, I agree. I like both of them, anyway. Lewis is a lot better politically, that’s the biggest difference between them I reckon.

            Anyway if I were Nico I’d be nervous that Lewis was so curiously happy about missing pole. I’d be afraid Lewis had enjoyed hunting me down in Austin and was pretty confident about a repeat. Can Nico really look after his fronts as well? His rears? Then when they switch to primes and Lewis can lean on them…

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