Nico, how will you approach the third-to-last race weekend here in Austin?
Everything is still to play for, definitely. My plan is to be fully focused and launch an all-out offensive in the remaining three races. A simple plan, actually.
You were leading the World Championship standings not very long ago. What went wrong in the last few races?
I never look back. Instead, I live in the present. I’m looking forward to the final three races. I didn’t know beforehand how the final stages of the World Championship fight would feel, but my overwhelming impression is that I’m enjoying the moment, which is great.
Are you not just a little bit annoyed with yourself in retrospect about things like locking up in Sochi?
Of course, I was very annoyed after the race. But I still felt positive at the time, because there were moments when I thought that I perhaps would not finish in the points. It took a long time to catch up with the other cars. Second place was good for me as far as damage limitation is concerned, so it left me feeling good in some respects. But I was disappointed with the mistake, naturally. Still, it’s something that I can quickly put behind me. Life goes on.
Do you feel a tinge of anxiety that this could be the chance of a lifetime – as if it’s now or never?
Not at all. I know that I’ve got many more successes to come with this team in future years. I firmly believe that. I don’t see this season as my only shot at becoming World Champion. Nevertheless, I’m putting pressure on myself to succeed, for sure! I want to win. The opportunity is still there.
What do you think of double points being awarded in the season finale?
I think it’s better not to have double points. If the World Championship has not been won at that stage, then the spectators are perhaps happy afterwards. NASCAR races the whole year, then everything goes back to nought and eight drivers go through. From these eight, four then progress further. It’s a bit like how we do things now in Formula 1 – more or less. It’s roughly the same as what NASCAR does. So, there are a few other sport disciplines that successfully do something similar in order to maintain the excitement. You always have to look at what’s best. The World Championship has been decided before the season’s end in the past two years, which is not good for the sport because then, there are three, four, maybe five races even that don’t really count. That’s worse than awarding points falsely to ensure that the contest remains exciting until the end. Let’s wait and see how things go this season and then look at it again for next year.