On the Podium with the Terminator!
AS: What does it feel like being second and do you think you are going to make up ground and maybe beat this man this year?
NR: Well, it’s a nice feeling to be second today because it’s an awesome start to the season for us as a team. Absolutely stunning car they’ve given us – unbelievable. Lewis has done a fantastic job this weekend. He drove like a World Champion all weekend, so couldn't quite beat him but for sure I was trying every single lap, all the way to the maximum, and I will do all year. I will give him a big run for his money and hopefully beat him. Also thank you very much to the organisers, you’ve done an amazing job this weekend, I’m sure you’ll all agree it’s been a fantastic weekend for everybody. And also, all of you [the fans], you’ve been great and put on a great atmosphere. Thank you.
AS: How much does concentration have to do with it to win this competition, this race?
NR: Yeah, a lot of it is in the head, of course. Not only in one race but during the whole season – to keep your energy, your focus, but especially during a race. It is very demanding in the head, to not make a single mistake, and it’s challenging physically too. It’s tough.
AS: Well you’ve done a great job, congratulations, and I’m looking forward to seeing you in the next race.
Facing the World’s Media…
Q: There was a message to you to save fuel at one stage in order to attack Lewis at the end of the grand prix. The attack didn’t seem to come, but how was it from your point of view and sum up you weekend?
NR: No, no, the attack was most definitely there! Maybe you didn’t see it but it was there, for sure, inside the cockpit. But Lewis made no mistakes so it was just not possible to get closer than that, let alone try some attempt to overtake. It was just a matter of saving a little bit of fuel in the middle of the race to then be able to go full-on at the end of the race but I think Lewis did a similar thing. As soon as I started to save a little bit he saved as well and he could also push, so it didn’t really help me unfortunately.
Q: In the final stages you were asking your race engineer about Lewis’ fuel consumption. You didn’t get an answer – but for both how much is it a race into the dark when you don’t know where the other stands with the fuel consumption in a race where fuel consumption is really crucial?
NR: Yeah, so, I put the question because I wanted to know exactly where Lewis was but he’s not allowed to tell me, so I never got the answer. I hadn’t thought of that at the time – but obviously that was not good. Because I thought if I would know if he was down or something, that would be really motivating and it would be great. But I had no idea. So yeah, not ideal in that situation. But anyway, all I could do is push flat-out and hope he had less. Which wasn’t the case…
Head-to-Head with Seb…
Q: We’ve seen the Silver Arrows on top in qualifying and in the race today. Is this it for the season? A two-horse race between you two for the title or can you envisage any of your rivals making in-roads into your supremacy?
NR: I hope we can have a good fight. That would be awesome. I think the next couple of races we’re going to be leading the way for sure and we’re going to try and keep it that way. But we know it would be good if they can come a bit closer, as long as they don’t come too close…
SV: Be honest. Do you really hope so? Seriously? You finished 30 seconds ahead of us and you hope it’s going to be closer? So you hope you slow down? Is that what you’re saying?
NR: I hope that you can give us a challenge! Because it’s important for the sport and for the fans. And I do think about the show. Half of me – or a part of me – thinks about the show because I want to give people a great time at home watching on TV or at the track. If you do come a bit closer, that would be awesome for everybody.
SV: First suggestion, if you don’t mind, I think your garage becomes public for Malaysia and everyone can have a look. No? I’m joking.
NR: You can come if you want, we can invite you…
SV: OK, thank you for the invite, I’ll come.
NR: Friday Malaysia, OK.
SV: Engineers’ room? Debrief? I’ll be there…