Nico, a great drive where you were struggling with all sorts of things – the team telling you to save brakes and save fuel sometimes. How close was it?
NR: Yeah, it was a good race against Lewis. I was pushing like mad to try to put the pressure on but he didn’t make any mistakes, so fair play to him. It was a challenging race, yeah, because we had to manage fuel, brakes, all these things – but it was the same for both of us. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it happen but second place is still OK.
You were coming off a couple of good races for you. Where have you been lacking this weekend do you feel?
NR: It was just that tiny bit I lost out in qualifying in the end because the race pace was there. That qualifying position makes that difference. That’s what I need to try and make happen the next time.
Tell us a little about the start? There were a lot of radio messages about the brakes – so maybe you could tell us a little bit more about the management you had to do there.
NR: Yeah. The start was good but not quite enough to try and challenge Lewis. It was tight with Kimi behind and even Valtteri I think – I’m not sure. But anyways, it all went OK and I held second place after that. Then it was a very challenging race because of fuel saving – which wasn’t so bad – but more the brakes. Adapting to the front brakes getting too hot, changing brake balance, things like that. So that was the most challenging part – especially of course because I had Lewis in front, so I didn’t have any clean air to cool the brakes. I think for me it was even more of a challenge behind because of that. But it worked out OK. I was still able to put the pressure on but not quite enough.
We heard you ask over the radio about Lewis’s fuel levels and were told that you couldn’t be told about that while Lewis was being told when he was able to lift and coast. Can you shed some light on how that strategy call worked from the garage?
NR: Yeah, I can just say my part because I wasn’t to know if Lewis would run into trouble at the end of the race or not. That would help me judge how much fuel I would need to save at that point in time and when I should try and put the pressure on. But that’s been banned, to give that information, so I wasn’t able to get that which is a pity because it could have helped me maybe put on a better attack if I had that information. But that’s the way it is.
The team had a good gap to the field today. Does it make you confident that the fight for the Championship is just between you two?
NR: Well, it’s great to see how we’re continuing to push on with the development and everything. Even though Ferrari is throwing everything at it we seem to be keeping our advantage so that’s really great to see and a fantastic job from the team.