Rosberg ‘baffled’ by lack of pace

2016 Monaco Grand Prix

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Nico Rosberg admits that he is at a loss to explain why he struggled so much for pace throughout the course of the Monaco Grand Prix where he finished in seventh place.

The championship leader was unable to match the performance of Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo in the early stages and dropped down to fifth after the mid-race switch to dry tyres.

“I was baffled by that lack of pace, initially,” explains Rosberg.

“Just no confidence in the car at the beginning on those Intermediates. And after that it just didn’t go my way in the pit stops. I had an issue at the pit stop and as a result of the issue, the pit stop was delayed and then I had traffic, so I had to hold the pit stop even more and cars just went by and once you’re behind in Monaco, that was it.”

Having started the race in second, Rosberg initially struggled in the wet conditions, losing 13 seconds to Ricciardo before Mercedes asked him to allow team mate Hamilton past – which he graciously obliged.

“It was pretty simple at the time,” says Rosberg.

“I was very far off the place and Lewis still had a chance to win the race, quite clearly, as he did. So it was quite straight forward for the team to give the other guy to win the race and it’s always been like that. So that was quite simple – of course painful, but it was quite simple decision at the time.”

Rosberg continued to lap off the pace of his team mate as the track turned dry, and lost sixth place to Nico Hulkenberg on the run to the line after rain fell on the final lap.

“He had soft tyres on, so he had a lot more rubber left,” explained Rosberg.

“I was on the ultra soft and the rubber was just finished at the end. As soon as it starts drizzling, my tyres cool down immediately and his keep the temperature so he just had more grip.

“At the moment, I’m just disappointed with today. I’m not looking at the gap – not before this weekend, not after this weekend. I’m just disappointed as I wanted to win this weekend. I wanted to win my home race and didn’t manage that, so that’s it.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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71 comments on “Rosberg ‘baffled’ by lack of pace”

  1. I know Nico doesn’t have many supporters. But today’s struggle is totally related to a bad set up and probably a brake issue as communicated early in the race. Im looking forward to see his performance in Montreal

    1. Nico doesn’t have many supporters because he doesn’t like Justin Beiber and doesn’t wear trendy shoes and doesn’t listen to dubstep or whatever.

      1. He doesn’t have WDC to his name yet.

      2. Monaco 2014. If ever wanted to be popular, which I’m sure isn’t his priority, that’s where it plummeted.

        Still, I think you’re making excuses for his driving today. He’s just not a great driver in the rain. Or basically in any situation requiring improvisation and raw talent.

        1. Yeah right and niko won 4 straight races in Monaco!!!! So yeah he probably forgot how to drive.

          1. Check your facts mate, he won 3 straight….

          2. @totota he won 3 straight Monaco GPs, not 4.

          3. totoa 3 Monaco’s, one by cheating in quali and was gifted the other by merc calling Lewis in. Please try to be accurate and transparent

        2. I can’t really remember bad race for Rosberg in changeable conditions apart from yesterday, he was running high in Korea 2010 before Webber colected him, same in China 2010, or Silverstone qualifying in 2014. Last year at Silverstone he was catching Hamilton on slicks but then the rain became too heavy.

          1. Suzuka 2014 – his mediocre pace led to Hamilton overtaking him for the win.

    2. Where did you here this ? Probably indicates a lack of fact

    3. I know what you mean, I kinda felt a bit sorry for him. Also TV director pretty much didn’t care for him after the last pits. I kinda feel that if it had been Hamilton scrapping back down the field (again), there would have been more coverage.

      On the flip side, it was good for the championship, and good for the drama with Hulk getting him on the run to the line.

      1. @eurobrun If it was Hamilton, It is due to swapping mechanics between the garage. Plain and simple.

      2. had it been Hamilton, surely that would have been due to inner team conspiracy to give the championship to Rosberg @eurobrun.

        But hey, its hard to focus on him when apparently Sky thought that Hamilton drove a race as great as Senna in Donnington ’93. So much for somewhat level headed reporting.

    4. There was np “brake issue” other than the fact that Nico was not going fast enough to get heat into his brakes!

    5. LH had the same brake issues according to Toto? Monaco is a track that brings out the cream drivers in a team…

      1. Is that then the reason why Rosberg has won so many times before in Monaco?

        According to post race interviews with Rosberg and Mercedes leads, Rosberg had suffered from lack of temperature in the tyres all this weekend. With the rain and wet track it all became just worse. So something on their mechanical setup of the Rosberg car did simply not work this race weekend. Rosberg said in one of the interviews (with German Autosport I think) that his tires had turned stone cold behind the safety car start and they remained totally cold throughout. So absolute no mechanical grip and would have ended up in the wall if trying to go any faster. Cudos also to Rosberg to let Hamilton pass. Essentially giving Hamilton the chance to win.

        1. Rosberg started 2nd and finished 7th.

        2. Sure, Rosberg making way for Hamilton was the mark of a team player and pure class. I’m a Hamilton fan, and I can recognize and salute this.
          Take note Felipe Nasr!

          1. Well indeed it was a team play but he was in contract negotiations and just had a horrible moment previews GP week. Could he afford to play hard ball with the team?

  2. losing 13 seconds to Ricciardo before Mercedes asked him to allow team mate Hamilton past – which he graciously obliged.

    Hmmm, 6 laps at 2s each. Did the team really wait that long to ask? I don’t suppose we’ll ever find out unless FOM include it in the radio transcript, but that was far too long. It would have been game over but for the Red Bull pitstop.

    1. +1, they waited far too long, if Nico’s story is right. I was sure he had a technical issue, with too little power output.

      1. I’ve had a busy day so I saw the race but couldn’t see the interviews afterwards. I suggest LH would have made us aware if NR had delayed after getting the call. Did he?

        1. Sketchy @robbie. I don’t think Lewis mentioned it one way or the other, even if he knew about radio to Nico. Let’s see if it shows up in the transcript.

          1. Oh I see on F1i Toto saying it was the team who waited and Nico complied promptly, fair play.

  3. Totally the right call, he was strugling as hell. And we all know if Nico da drive struggles he’s around 0.5s off Lewis pace.

    But when setup is majorly wrong, as in tires not warming up properly, breaks overheating – as in to much tape on fronts… Then potentially this can happen.

    Pace should be baffling, especially if both cars used same setup. Maybe Lewis got on with his car more, getting more heat in to his tires… But 2 second difference must be something else.

    It is again a small hint, after Singapore, Mercedes do an amazing job on tires usually. Keeping them in perfect window, when they get it wrong boom 1s off pace. Certainly in Monaco they had second best chassis and tires were their problem all weekend.

    1. That’s the case today LOL. Every time there was a virtual safety car when Lewis was leading, I was saying: “Oh no. His tyres will lose temperature and Daniel will overtake”. Luckily, it was not too bad except for the one at the chicane. But, this is track nature because Monaco has probably the lowest tyre degradation along with Sochi.

      1. If it was any other track, Lewis would lost the lead easily. But he didn’t. Absolutley a stolen victory. There will be lots of head scratching in the debrief.

        1. If it was another track, it would have been another race. What a stupid statement!

          1. Haha, so true!

        2. Unlike his strategy crew, Hamilton used the nature of the track to his advantage; well played, though obviously he wouldn’t have won if Red Bull hadn’t botched that pit stop.

        3. @jureo huh if any other track Ham be down to road. You will see in Canada. Ham was the only guy at Ric level when got past Ros and it is not like Ric was glued to him at finish on better tyres. Put it this way Ham was as fast in wet.

        4. @jureo

          Not really, Red Bull were only quick because of the track nature. And I am expecting them to comeback in Hungary and Singapore. Even so, Lewis might have taken pole yesterday and might have been the fastest driver of the weekend. It’s debatable because of Mercedes’ tyre warming issues but it was between him and Daniel. Just imagine if Lewis didn’t have any problems yesterday and his qualifying went normally, he would have qualified on pole or 2nd, and then they would have absolutely destroyed the field today. However, Red Bull completely messed up Daniel’s race. With a normal pit stop, he would have come out ahead because as Lewis said: When I came out after the 1st stop, it was like driving on ice.
          If this was any other track, Lewis and Nico would have probably been ahead or even normal service, Mercedes, Ferrari, RB/Williams.

          Red Bull clearly blew this. Their next chance is probably Silverstone or Hungary then Singapore, unless they can find huge amount of performance from that newly upgraded engine as here in Monaco it’s not representative, though Ricciardo was matching Hamilton and Rosberg at the speed traps in qualifying. But, yes, the speed trap is just at the end of the tunnel which means that fast acceleration is the one being looked there. The way it looked like, Red Bull probably found a few pace with that engine, but we should wait until Canada to judge…

          1. Both Mercedes and Red Bull did a lot of “Blewing”, like you said. But Lewis was nowhere near Riciardo in quali and the race. Riciardo did two pit stops, and one very poor at that… And was still on Hamiltons trail for entire dry part of the race.

            Ultimatley through Red Bull fail, Hamilton was in position to grab victory.

            But it was Red Bulls initially.

          2. @jureo I see where you’re coming from, but you can’t say that Hamilton stole this victory. Driving and strategy wise, He and his team were spot on. They saved a pit stop to gain track position and played to be in the best position possible given their cards. Then Red Bull failed in the pits and Mercedes won. The smarter won, not necessarily the fastest and that’s part of the game.

          3. @x303 well yes. Stole as in it was theirs to loose and he made good on their mistake. Granted nobody else was even close to win, he did have to work for it.

            Even 1s slower and Daniel would still win.

        5. If it was any other track Hamilton wouldnt have had a 12 second deficit to Ricciardo in the first place. Swings and roundabouts mate

  4. Very nice move by the other Nico at the checkered flag to steal 6th place from Rosberg!

    1. Because both of them are Nico’s, so it was confusing at first..

  5. I dunno. Nico did a good job keeping up with the leader after he was 24-26 seconds behind. I thought Merc were covering off gap so Lewis could finish in 1st place today. Nico might not have ‘had the pace’ today, but he did Lewis wonders by keeping the gap the way he did. RBR sealed the deal with the bad pit stop, Lewis drove a great race, but he needed everything to go right today to stay in front of the quicker RB.

    Kind of strange that Nico didn’t get any credit for helping Lewis twice today, hope Merc can get Lewis’ starts and reliability so both of those guys can challenge each other properly.

    1. He did get credit, Toto praised him, so did CEO, and entire pit crew gave him a triple hurrah.

      1. i said “credit for helping Lewis twice today”.

  6. Rosberg never shone at Monaco, he won simply by luck and was literally handed the last two wins 14 and 15, now that he is on his own he is simply nowhere, in 2015 he smashed by lewis only to lose by strategic error.

    1. Yeah right, he won 4 straight race in Monaco.

      1. You keep saying that but it’s not true. Nico only has 3 Monaco wins, and last year’s was handed to him by a Mercedes screwup after Hamilton completely dominated him.

    2. Well 3 in a row is not exactly bad. He is good there, just that Hamilton has a slight quali edge. Good thing to have in Monaco.

      Except he didnt have that(for various reasons.

      1. @jureo having won 3 times is a fact, but lets face it and be honest with ourselves he did not win by merit in 2014 and in 2015, Lewis got pole those two years and he lost to Rosberg by “luck”, just look at his miserable lap times this week end and you’ll understand.

        1. Sure, but he still won. There are no poor winners.

          Lewis today wasnt on pole, wasnt fastest, yet he still won.

          Whole point of Nico and Monaco is slower guy can win aswell.

        2. @abdelilah
          Apart from the fact that Rosberg took pole in 2014, was faster than Lewis on his banker lap in Q3 as well in equal conditions.

      2. You’re trying to hide the fact that Hamilton was leading Rosberg by over 20 seconds in the same car last year in the dry normal race conditions, and won in 2014 because of a ‘botched’ qualifying lap.

        1. “leading Rosberg by over 20 seconds in the same car last year in the dry normal race conditions”

          He was able to pull that gap mainly due to backmarkers impeding him less than Rosberg.

    3. @abdelilah Yeah and todays race was pure hamilton inmense talent, this win in no way was handed over to him. I mean his teammate did not handed over his place and Redbull did not handed over the lead.

      1. Wait, you’re saying Red Bull did not want to win and gave it to Mercedes? Yes, sure, they did… @mijail

        1. In what part of my comment did i said that red bull did not wanted to win? Of course they wanted to, they just screwed up RIC pit stop so badly that they handed over the race.

          1. I misunderstood your comment, my bad. @mijail

    4. @abdelilah

      Rosberg never shone at Monaco, he won simply by luck and was literally handed the last two wins 14 and 15, now that he is on his own he is simply nowhere, in 2015 he smashed by lewis only to lose by strategic error.

      Nope, you are just clueless. Qualified 6th in a midfield car in 2008, very good race in 2009, had excellent pace in 2010 but was constantly stuck in traffic, good race in 2012 and a well deserved victory in 2013.

  7. Rosberg’s never been that strong in the wet, but I’m quite surprised at just how off the pace he was. He never looked like he could threaten anyone, not even Alonso. Though I am still surprised Mercedes asked him to move aside, even if it was the right call because that never seemed to be their style.

  8. Mercedes seems to have a real problem with heating the tyres during colder conditions. Last year in Silverstone, once the rain came, Hamilton lost tyre temperatures and started losing a lot of time to Rosberg. He couldn’t stop the bleeding until his pitstop. They were also out of pace in COTA. And today we saw it from Rosberg, and occasionally from Hamilton.

    On another note, who thinks, in the reverse scenario, Hamilton would have let Rosberg past? I dont think he would.

    1. “On another note, who thinks, in the reverse scenario, Hamilton would have let Rosberg past? I dont think he would.”

      If Hamilton had taken Rosberg out in the previous race and was in contract negotiations and only being offered a 1 year deal? ;]

    2. Hungary.

    3. One of the weaknesses of Mercedes is their performance on the softest compounds. For some reason, the softest compounds are most difficult tires to get up to temperature nowadays, so perhaps you are right. Maybe it’s the drawback of their response to make the car kinder on its tires after their tire issues in the early Pirelli era (2011-2013). The situation is by no means unique: for the last couple of years Williams have been struggling in the wet for example, while Ferrari couldn’t heat up the harder tire compounds in at least 2011. It’s quite difficult to get these Pirelli tires in their operating window and that’s probably why Rosberg was much faster than Hamilton in Silverstone last year. In the US Grand Prix they weren’t really slow in the wet, rather it was the Red Bull wet-weather setup that made them look slow. Once the track started to dry out, the Red Bulls lost out horribly. In today’s race the ultrasoft tires just didn’t heat up as fast as the supersofts did, which was similar to the situation in Mexico last year, when the harder compound also heated up faster than the softer compound. Hamilton and Rosberg were the only cars on ultrasofts in the top 6 today, so they were the most likely candidates to suffer from low tire temperatures. Why Mercedes decided to put both drivers on ultrasofts is beyond me.

  9. Ben (@scuderia29)
    29th May 2016, 23:32

    Absolutely no way that if I was rosberg I would just let my championship rival pass me, that’s just crazy

    1. In normal circumstances no one would, but Rosberg is trying to secure his seat for next year, and the Daimler big boys where at the race circuit.

  10. Yesterday after qualies, Rosberg was asked “where did pole get away from you?” His answer: “It was never with me…” By contrast, Hamilton felt pole was his for the taking. The resulting grid left Rosberg admitting he was elated to be second as that was his maximum, while Lewis was gutted to be third. Come race day, race gets under way, safety car comes in, Daniel takes off, and Rosberg slows down on 2nd to last corner, backing Hamilton into the Ferraris instead of taking off after RIC. Rosberg had no intention to fight for the win today. He had every intention to fight his teammate until told he was too slow.

    1. Disagree.

    2. Good one! Completely disagree though, of course!

    3. Is that you Professor Xavier?

  11. I still don’t understand why Rosberg let Hamilton through. Crazy decision by him to accept the team order. What if he loses the championship by the few points that Hamilton gained by winning in Monaco, rather than languishing behind him?

    All of the points count towards your total at the end of the season, so the argument that “there’s a long way to go” is very two dimensional and narrow in thinking.

    Forgive me but I just cannot understand why Rosberg would ever move over in that situation, unless the championship was already won. I can understand the team asking him, but not Rosberg in his decision to yield. I seem to remember Hamilton not slowing down and moving over for Rosberg when asked to do so previously?

    1. Well, as stated before, Rosberg is in negociation to stay at Mercedes. Disobeying team orders when you’re 2 sec off the pace (!) is surely the way to go…

    2. Hamilton would be ahead of him anyway at the end.
      But probably on 2nd place.
      Rosberg was so slow that the easiest thing was to undercut him with a flying lap the moment he goes for new tyres.

    3. He made a stupid thing at the previous race that this(yeah you can talk about being a racing incident or Hamilton’s fault all you like but the Merc analyzed it and know Rosberg was responsible and so does he).
      Also contract negotiations with big Merc guy being on track there.

      He couldn’t afford to play hard ball with the team. Rosberg analyzes things like this.

      Also Hamilton never refused to let Rosberg by on that day. He said on the radio he was too far behind and that he would let him pass without defending if he got close and try to pass him. But Rosberg was staying 3 second behind waiting for Hamilton to slow completely.

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