Q: Nico, congratulations! We understand you became a father?
NR: Yeah! It’s been very exciting and very intense, of course. Big respect for all the mothers of this world – unbelievable! It’s been very emotional and I’m super happy.
Q: Can you compare your happiness at the birth of your daughter to things in your job – like victory or nervousness?
NR: The emotions are extremely intense – more intense than any racing success or anything like that, because there’s factors like love and health… all these things playing a part. That’s definitely more than a race victory.
Q: You’ll obviously be losing a little bit of sleep then in the coming weeks – but you’ve also been losing a few places off the start line lately, with both the old and the new rules on starts. It’s now three races in a row, making race day a bit more complicated for you. What thoughts have you and the team had on that and how you are going to address it? Particularly here in Monza, where it’s a long run to turn one and any loss off the line would be amplified?
NR: Yeah, it’s true that starts have not been our strength lately, so we’ve been working on it a lot and making progress. Then, of course the rule change also came in right on the back of two starts that hadn’t been fantastic. So it’s a work in progress and we need to improve for sure. We know that and we’re all getting into it.
Q: Are you satisfied with Pirelli’s explanation for the tyre failures in Belgium?
NR: It’s being handled with extreme precision and a lot of energy is going into it, which I’m happy to see, of course. I’m confident that we’ll be driving safely.
Q: You have Pirelli engineers embedded in your garage, giving you advice. To what extent is that advice listened to?
NR: Well, sometimes there are strict things that you must follow and other times there are just suggestions. We handled everything accordingly in Spa and made modifications also throughout the weekend to make sure we were running the tyres as safely as possible, according to guidelines given by Pirelli.
Q: The gap to Lewis has increased a lot in the last two races. Do you think this is one of the last chances to recover? To change the direction of the Championship?
NR: It’s gone in the wrong direction points-wise but it’s just over one race win of difference. So, I’m very optimistic, pushing hard and definitely wanting to try and close that back down now.
Q: This is last race in Europe this season. What are your thoughts about the opportunity to add extra races in Europe and, more specifically, northern Europe. To have a Riga Grand Prix in Latvia – how would you feel about it?
NR: I’ve heard great things about Riga. I’ve got a good friend from there also so that would be fantastic. Races in Europe are great, wherever they are to be honest, so it’s always good to have more of those.