Rosberg rues second row start despite “better tyres”

2015 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2015Nico Rosberg admitted he should not have sacrificed his qualifying performance to be quicker in the race after Sebastian Vettel knocked him off the front row of the grid.

Rosberg did not run at his maximum pace in Q2 as he wanted to avoid taking too much life out of the set of tyres he will start the race on.

However when it came to the final runs Rosberg found he wasn’t able to get the most out of his tyres and as well as failing to beat team mate Lewis Hamilton he also fell behind Vettel’s Ferrari.

“I didn’t push enough in qualifying and I thought too much about the race,” Rosberg told reporters after qualifying. “That would have been fine if I’d finished second to Lewis but not finishing third.”

“Finishing third, definitely, I didn’t see that coming. I didn’t see Sebastian being that quick and I didn’t think I would struggle that much as well.”

Rosberg agreed he “definitely has better tyres than everybody else for tomorrow’s race, but I’m too much on the back foot being third.”

“I have better tyres but it’s a small thing, not a big difference,” he explained. “Third place on the grid is definitely not good.”

Ferrari “were quicker than us” in Friday practice, Rosberg believes, “but we worked on the car a lot Friday night and I think we’ve improved it a lot.”

“It was to do with the cold conditions – it’s really cold in the evenings and the tyres aren’t really working properly so we have to work on that. We’re confident we’ve improved things so we may go a bit quicker – at least on a par with Ferrari – and therefore the start is going to be very important.”

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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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    49 comments on “Rosberg rues second row start despite “better tyres””

    1. “I didn’t push enough in qualifying and I thought too much about the race”

      Have I missed an e-mail? They do start the race on their Q2 tyres right?

      1. @xtwl I believe he said that being conservative in Q3 affected the way he drove in Q3 as he was lacking the same levels of confidence of those around him.

        1. You meant “being conservative in Q2 affected the way he drove in Q3” I suppose?

          Anyway, that’s bull… if you ask me. Drive the car as fast as possible Nico, that’s all we ask.

          1. @paeschii Drive th car as fast as possible regardless of strategy?

            1. @davidnotcoulthard

              Well, given Rosberg isn’t any smarter than his rivals as he has shown today, I think he should let the team make his decisions.
              Strategy is for the race, quali is about being the fastest. He will be lucky if he finishes second tomorrow.

            2. @paeschli Yeah…though in all fairness maybe there was a decision that came from above in Team Brackley’s hierarchy that decided that splitting strategies was a good idea.

              And maybe, just maybe, it was a good idea – we won’t really, really know until the end of the race.

              to be honset though I don’t think I can entirely believe ROS since I do recall someone saying that you either do a fast lap or you save tyres, which if true blows ROS’s words out of the water a bit.

      2. Bingo! Indeed they do. He’s just looking for a reason other than the blindingly obvious one, which is that Hamilton is just better than him. I guess he has to keep his hopes up, stay positive.

      3. #xtwl

        His reasoning was that he didn’t push hard on his Q2 lap to save the tires. Then the first run in Q3 was on used tires. So he never got into a rhythm from having a run on soft tires where he really pushed before his final run.

    2. Awesome picture, too bad it’s Nico and not Lewis. :/

    3. “admitted he should not have sacrificed his qualifying performance to be quicker in the race”

      This seems to be at the heart of Rosberg’s issues. He settles for going slower in the hopes of something better. But in racing, you really need to go fast when you have the chance to.

      1. @uan Didn’t work out very well last year. So he is right in trying something different. But go too focussed on that to do the job on hand, being as close to Hamilton as possible.

        Not a disaster by any chance. He is on the clean side. Needs to work on his starts and be brave for a change.

        1. @evered7

          “be brave for a change”

          exactly my point. Rosberg’s approach to Qualy shows that he’s not racing Lewis for the win, rather he’s racing not to loose to Vettel. If Ferrari is better on the tires over the race distance, I’d say it will be Vet/Ham/Rai, and if the Merc has the upper hand, it’ll be Ham/Vet/Rai (or Rai/Vet). With Rosberg in 4th bemoaning what could’ve been.

      2. @uan

        But in racing, you really need to go fast when you have the chance to.

        ……and run out of tyres and fuel?

        1. @davidnotcoulthard

          Nico’s going to run out tires and fuels in Qualy?

          As for the race, if you noticed I said “when you have the chance”. Yes, definitely there are times you preserve tires and fuels. Then again there are times when track position is king.

          He should know that he needed to do a full speed run in Q2 to be in rhythm for Q3. So going slow didn’t actually help him.

          Saving some minor percentage of tire life by not running hard in Q2 isn’t going to translate into 3 or 4 laps extra distance over Lewis.

          In some ways, his qualifying here is a huge giveaway. He’s not even going to try and beat Lewis on pace. The problem is, he’s not going to make his tires last longer than Lewis either.

          His whole mentality is off. He’s not a racer. There are times to go fast, such as at the start of the race or after an SC restart. Look at Malaysia, Vettel muscles him out of the corner at T1. Vettel stays within a second of Lewis in the first couple of laps. Vettel knows to win he needs to take Hamilton in the DRS zone. Hamilton is also going fast to try and get out of DRS range. Where’s Rosberg? He’s already 2 or more seconds behind.

          Rosberg is also tentative on his passing. His mindset is the waiting game and ultimately that makes him slow. Look at Kimi at the start in China, he forced himself past the Williams cars. He knew he couldn’t afford to get stuck there. This is what makes Alonso so good at the start, he knows it’s the best place to make up space on cars.

          The most telling thing Rosberg said this year was in response to Vettel after the race in Aus. Vettel said he was disappointed that Kimi didn’t finish. Rosberg was surprised and though Vettel would be happy to get points on his teammate. This shows that Rosberg’s mind is that he needs his teammate to have issues for him to score. Vettel just has the belief that he can beat his teammate in a straight up race.

          1. @uan

            As for the race, if you noticed I said “when you have the chance”

            I took that to mean “whenever it’s scientifically possible” which seems to not have been how your use of that was supposed to mean!

            Sorry about that.

            1. @davidnotcoulthard

              no worries, I could have stated it more clearly. Can’t wait for the race today to see how some of this all plays out.

      3. Hey, Fox vs the Hare, slow and steady wins the race … It’s not Nico’s fault that Lewis skipped reading Aesop’s fables!


    4. I find it kind of funny that he was putting so much importance on tyre performance for the race when last year, when he was gifted a race between himself and Hamilton, he failed to win with an overwhelming advantage on newer, softer tyres.

      1. It seems he learned from last season that going all out on getting pole didn’t do him any favors either. Hamilton would have a better setup for the race and would still win. Now Rosberg is apparently trying to do what Lewis did last year. We’ll have to see if it actually pays off in the race.

        1. odds on Kim will pass Rosb as well and that will not make Toto happy,
          if he cant lift his game then bring in Alonso, or Ricc, either would blow Rosb away. they are hungry to win, or at least do as good as their team mate.

          1. Bring in the Hulk, Perez, kyvat or verstappen. Seems F1 drivers need an off year after getting married with a kid on the way. They seem fine after though (witness Kimi, Seb, Roman)

      2. …failed to win with an overwhelming advantage on newer, softer tyres, @colossal-squid on one of perhaps only two weekends in 2014 where he had an answer for Lewis’ race pace (Spain being the other).

        I feel sorry for Rosberg, he and the world expected him to be fighting for the title, but Lewis looks to have taken himself out of Nico’s range. I am seeing that look of mystified depression on Rosberg’s face, a look I have seen on the face of Webber, Massa, Fisichella, Coulthard and especially Montoya over the years: it is the face of a driver that has exhausted his talent arsenal, a driver realizing their championship dream is over and that they have no answer for one of the sport’s best. In my professional capacity I have seen a wide ranging display of this profound realization, and in reference to the accuracy of your preseason comparison between 2015-spec Rosberg and 2011-spec Webber, I am particularly looking forward to my appointment with Nico in Brackley a week from now.

        1. Does feel like such a mountain to climb, yet, there’s still the race and many others. Let’s see if Nico can make this ‘new’ strategy work, and at least bolster himself with a good battle and pass on SV. What a shame the tires have come to this.

          1. whats the bet Kimi will blow Rosb socks off?
            Rosb is not going to get better unless Ham falls off a clif.
            its all excuses from here on in i am afraid, the writings on the wall…

    5. Any more of this and I will actually start feeling a bit sorry for Rosberg.

      1. I won’t. I remember his arrogant behavior last year when he seemed to be on form (& don’t appreciate his entitled attitude this year either). A form that was exaggerated by his teammate’s telemetry laid bare for him & constant coaching during races about speed, braking points, corner entry etc. based on what said teammate was doing. I know some won’t agree, but ever since the ban on driver coaching, Nico Rosberg has looked positively pedestrian, & repeatedly asks for help the pitwall can’t give… it’s seems calling for help is normal for him, so he can’t quite adjust to not having that option. I gotta say if Mercedes were doing the same thing when Schumacher was with them, it explains a lot of why Nico got the better of him. His ability to assimilate, It’s a skill… definitely, & a neat trick to have in his arsenal, but on his own without the Merc brain trust in his ear, there aren’t enough tricks in his bag for him to run with the top dogs, IMO.

        1. Actually I agree, since the ban on ‘race coaching’ Rosberg seems to have declined sharply.

    6. @keithcollantine Seeing so many of @willwood‘s articles, by which I mean good ones, using the picture you used in this article almost looked as if you were trying to show @willwood who’s the boss and top journalist of the site :)

      1. I’m delighted to see Will have so many articles, but Keith doesn’t need to assert any dominance. I’ve a feeling on the F1Fanatic team he has No. 1 status! ;)

        1. @davidnotcoulthard @colossal-squid Don’t worry. I already challenged Keith for the rights to run F1Fantic over a tequilla slamming competition in Jerez. Needless to say, I wasn’t victorious…

    7. Must admit I’ve thought for a while that an easy lap in Q2 was the smart thing to do.

      1. I still think it was a decent idea. !st place is no better than 10th in Q2 after all, and preserving his 1st set of race tires could definitely pay off. That said, I still can’t really wrap my head around how that Q2 strategy screwed him up for Q3. Sounds like he got in his own head!

      2. A shame though isn’t it? @lockup Such a tire chess match? @schooner Agreed

        1. Gotta say I love the tyres @robbie. I love how they demand extra finesse and give us undercuts and different numbers of stops, and racing like GP2 yesterday.

          The race today would be a lot less interesting if they were on the everlasting Bridgestones, cos Lewis would probably just drive 57 laps each 0.2s faster than Seb.

          I just wish FOM would tell us more about it with gps and telemetry.

          And yeah @schooner I think Rosberg was externalising his lack of pace.

      3. If I remember correctly both Ferrari’s have done the same.
        Yet they were driving fast laps in Q3.

    8. Monster lap by Lewis.

      Kimi not quite there with Seb yet again.

      Impressive run by Sainz and Hülkenberg.

      Poor Button, he really can’t catch a break this weekend… in FP1 he made it 1 lap in in FP2 barely 3… the only time he got some running he’s shown some serious pace… quite a bit faster than Fernando in FP3…
      Now he didn’t even make it on the track…
      I suspect he could have made the cut to Q3…Now he is starting from all the way back at the first race where finishing in the points could have seriously happened… eh..

      1. My bad… wrong article..

    9. Well, whether or not he considers it a mistake now, he might just get lucky with getting on the clean side of the grid.

      It’s a surprisingly non-factor nowadays when, presumably, the track workers just wash the dirty sides of the grids as clean as possible before the races, but with the high winds that blow over this particular area on this particular weekend, the grid spots off the line might just get dirty again – with sand.

    10. It is now certain that Hamilton is on top.
      Rosberg trying anything he can think of to fashion a tiny advantage.

      He didn’t think of the golden rule of qualifying… Its vital to go fast. Losing the rhythm by going deliberately slowly was a risk, but a roll of the dice by a man who felt he had to gamble. He felt that way because he knows he is beaten without an advantage of some sort. He doesn’t think his speed is enough, and he’s right.
      A lap worth of tyre can not make a difference if you aren’t at the front though. If Lewis leads into turn one and has the pace on the Ferrari, which is a big if, he can make that lap of tyre back. More certainly, Nico will lose that lap in traffic.
      Either way, the roll of the dice is pointless unless you then go and stick it on pole.

    11. Nico’s reasoning about his lack of pace in Q3 doesn’t make any sense.

      How his run in Q2 could affect his final performance in Q3?

      Looks like Nico is “oversmarting” the whole thing, and it’s sounding like poor excuse.

      The pattern emerging is that this new car just suit Lewis better, and maybe Lewis’ new racing engineer is doing a superb job – and this combo must be destroying Nico’s confidence, hence those kind of weird statement…

    12. Clean side of the grid, many are saying.
      Wasn’t he on the clean side of the grid last year?

      1. He was, but this year there are higher winds that blow more sand onto the track.


    13. Ham looking mighty. Vettel and Hamilton are putting their team mates in the shade at the moment.

    14. Nico Webber is looking weaker and weaker as the season goes on and he keeps an ever growing list of reasons why it’s not his fault…

    15. This has to be one of the best shots of the whole season. The fact that it looks like a well-placed Photoshop effect while it’s 100% real just beats everything else.

    16. He is “definitely” third….

    17. What is this business about not getting the rhythm? Everyone knows that the rhythm method simply does not work. In seriousness, it’s appalling to hear a guy driving the fastest F1 car on the grid say he got dusted by his teammate because he has to work up to the limit. Top drivers get straight on the limit. But you know the former karting manager of Lewis and Nico has said the same thing many times—both of them are ultimately about as quick, but Nico often has to tiptoe up to the limit, whereas Hamilton just senses it immediately.

    18. What is the most popular rationalization of this not being equivalent to Hamilton’s losing pole in Silverstone in 2014?

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