Elated Rosberg says pressure of title-decider was “horrible”

2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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A jubilant Nico Rosberg said the pressure of the title-deciding race in Abu Dhabi was “horrible”.

Rosberg endured a difficult race as team mate Lewis Hamilton backed him into the chasing pack, forcing him to fight for position.

“It was so unbelievably intense out there,” Rosberg told reporters after the race. “It was unbelievable.”

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in pictures
“First of all with Max [Verstappen]. I thought today of all days I’m not going to see him, and there he was again. I had him all over in the last couple of races.”

“And the team said to me ‘it’s critical to pass’. Critical for the championship. So I tried to get past, I knew it was going to be difficult, I gave it everything, he gave it everything and it worked out. And that was such an intense feeling in the car. I’ve never felt anything like that in the car.”

In the final phase of the race Rosberg was faced with Hamilton ahead slowing him down and pressure from Sebastian Vettel and others behind.

“I thought it was done and then Lewis continued to back me up into everybody else. He did it really well because I had no chance to pass him. I was trying, he was flat out in sector one, making sure that I was never in DRS, and then just slowing down in the rest so the others came in again. And that was horrible.”

“Horrible because I could see in my mirror the place where the championship would be lost. Those two guys in my mirror. So if I made the smallest mistake, because my tyres starting graining and everything, and I had Lewis in front so not good downforce. The smallest mistake, it’s finished.”

Rosberg said he could barely comprehend having won the championship. “It’s ridiculous,” he said. “I can’t believe it. I can’t wait to celebrate with my team and all my friends.”

“The pressure was massive this weekend,” he added. “I found patches of really cool, where i was quite happy with my state of mind, I went into the race with quite a good one. I was happy about that.”

“But it was such an intense mind the whole weekend. Unbelievable. I’ve never done something like that in my life. It was so difficult. The first bit of emotion was relief, I was crying my eyes out on the lap back.”

2016 Abu Dhabi 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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    30 comments on “Elated Rosberg says pressure of title-decider was “horrible””

    1. Mentally, he held it together at this tough race – both to overtake Verstappen when required, and to hold off Vettel. Kudos.

      1. Agree with that, Hamilton did as much as he could in the hope that Rosberg would show his lack of cool from before the end of 2015. But Rosberg showed that he really put that behind him and clinched the title @phylyp

    2. Well done, easily DOTW

    3. Well done Nico! You thoroughly deserve it…

      Didn’t Keke attend the race?

      1. Best drive of anyone today, I thought, dealing with pressure, anticipation, awkward aerodynamics, nagging bosses and the boredom of Abu Dhabi. Good to see him fending off Vettel at the end and not jumping out of the way as Jacques Villeneuve once did…

        Good on Lewis, too, for finding a way of applying pressure that was classy and not cynical or intimidating.

        1. If you are talking about 97, Jacques Villeneuve had a damaged car from being hit by schumacher. He really couldn’t battle it out with the McLarens.

      2. I think he said in the press conference, but I’m not sure because the commentators were talking and I didn’t hear very well, that both Keke and his mother were in Abu Dhabi but hiding from the press, he then kidded about not being sure if Keke was still alive or had died of a heart attack during the race. Later, during the celebrations a woman appeared and one commentator said it was his mother but Keke didn’t show up though.

        1. His mother had been in the pit garage. But I understood that he didn’t even know whether his father was close. And they also surprised him with having all his friends there, he had told them rather not to come.

    4. That overtake against Max… wow… that was man stuff.

      1. yeah ’twas a nice overtake.

    5. Congrats to Nico.

      He did everything he needed to be WDC.
      Steadily collecting points. Knowing when second is good enough. Observing how Lewis does things,one race at a time.
      Hopefully he won’t drive anyone dangerously off the circuit in future.

      Lewis was unlucky this year, Nico was consistent.

      Those 5 mechanics that went from Lewis’s side of the garage to Nico’s have won 3 years in a row now!!

      1. “Hopefully he won’t drive anyone dangerously off the circuit in future”
        Oh, come on, Bahrain 2015 wasn’t really that bad from Hamilton, and neither was USA 2015. Hamilton is tough, but it’s apparently allowed, so please stop that.

        1. I think @9chris9 was referring to Austria.

    6. Lewis’s backing up Nico showed his skill and talent, being able to control what was happening in Nico’s race whilst leading the race.
      Not many drivers on or retired off the grid are capable of doing that!

    7. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      27th November 2016, 17:22

      I really like Nico, he’s a very good driver but he didn’t deserve Lewis’ championship. Daylight robbery.

      1. Tin foil hats,come get your tin foil hats,it’s a bargain,get your own tin foil hat…

      2. “but he didn’t deserve Lewis’ championship”

        I love that “deserved/not deserved” stuff. Generally, it means you have no idea about competition, challenge, rivalry, luck and other essential ingredients.

        1. That’s the point. Nico’s championship elevates his rivalry with Lewis to the very best in F-1 history, along with Senna and Prost, Lauda and Hunt.

          After all they were fight each other on track since they were kids. Now both of them are F-1 champions.

    8. Absolute brilliant drive Rosberg. He has improved so much, and has had the determination and focus this year.

      I’m also happy that the commentators on Channel 4 all seemed pleased for him. Made for better viewing post race!

    9. Classy comments from Nico, always good to see there winner congratulating the competition.

    10. It was fascinating to see him grow over the last 3 years. He has learned when to be aggressive and when to go back to his “slow and steady” approach.

      I thought he was a changed man after Austin 2015 and he confirmed that immediately in Australia this year, squeezing out Hamilton at the start like Lewis had done to him in 2014 and 2015.

    11. He made it, mission accomplished. Congrats.

    12. Passing Verstappen definitely was a champion’s move. Congrats to Nico.

    13. Antoon van Gemert
      27th November 2016, 20:03

      The “Crazy Max” remarks of F1-Worldchampion Nico Rosberg are in fact the best compliments Max Verstappen can get!

    14. You know what I take away from this? Top bloke right there.
      He could well be calling Hamilton names for backing him up, using cheap antics, whatever. He’s saying quite the opposite!

      That’s refreshing!

    15. Interesting words from Nico. Not the words of a champion IMO. But at the same time, I wonder what we’ll see from him in the future. If it was truly as hard as he made it sound… Perhaps this experience will raise his limit, and he will be more competitive in the future.

      1. @grippgoat

        I thought exactly the same after watching his interview, and I must say I am grateful for Nico being candid to admit that and share the experience with fans. He could have easily said something canned to make himself look “tougher.” Getting through this experience without making a mistake, without falling prey to the chasers, keeping his cool, making the aggressive overtake without crashing out– getting through this HAScould make him a contender for a repeat.

        But I must take respectfully disagree with your phrase, “not the words of a champion.” Are we so besotted with the idea that our champions have superhuman ability? Instead of all the Nico-bashing I’ve seen today about this “not being deserved” or the “better driver did not win,” all of us “normal” people should actually have Nico Rosberg as our hero, not Lewis Hamilton. Who among us has Lewis’ incandescent skill/talent/feel/ability/speed in our own professional lives? I’m guessing pretty close to zero. We should be cheering someone who can demonstrate that by introspecting, digging deep, committing himself deeply despite years of being overshadowed by his teammate, working tirelessly on his weaknesses and eliminating his errors, showing up for work day in and day out in the factory with his engineers, humbling himself to learn from his teammate (“Lewis is the benchmark”), by being consistent and fast enough put himself in the position to profit when his teammate has faltered or had misfortune, has EARNED this championship

        1. * HAS raised his limit and could make him a contender for a repeat

          need an edit button :(

        2. I don’t mean to say he isn’t a deserving champion. Perhaps I should have said those aren’t the words of a legend. Nico won it fair and square, and he delivered in the last race in the way he needed to. But what he described as incredibly difficult and racing like he never has before… Well, maybe if he raced like that more often, he’d win more championships.

          Consider Schumacher, Senna, Prost, Hamilton, Alonso, and it’s looking like Verstappen… Racing that hard and clawing for every last bit is their normal mode of operation, not something they can only do in one race in 10 years.

          But that is also why I am interested to see what happens now. Perhaps he’s shown himself that what his limit was before is not actually the limit, that he has more to give.

    16. Congratulations Nico Rosberg!
      You drove well this year and so you deserve to win.
      Now, see you next year, if you still can beat Hamilton over the course of a season. ;)

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