Nico, you’ve just arrived back from China. Why did you stay on in Shanghai?
“I was at the Shanghai Motor Show for Mercedes-Benz on Tuesday, presenting the new SLK to China. It’s a very nice car and it was a great experience to be there. The show was also the premiere of the blueprint for the new A-Class, called the ‘Concept A-Class’, and it looks phenomenal. It was a nice opportunity for me to talk to the Daimler board members about the new cars that Mercedes are launching. Conversations with the Daimler CEO Dr Zetsche, and with Dr Weber, the Head of R&D, on the design of current and future Mercedes cars, as well as our Formula One cars are always interesting.”
You drove one of your best races in China but said after the race that you were disappointed. How do you feel now that you have had some time to reflect?
“The race on Sunday really was one of the most exciting Grands Prix that I’ve ever driven. It took some time after the race to let everything sink in because I had high hopes for a good podium result, and I had led for a quarter of the race. However I can’t blame anybody in the team for having been short on fuel, it’s a lesson that we learn together. We have to be happy that we made a step forward in China which was achieved by everyone in the team working extremely hard. My attitude is always that we win together and we lose together as one team. Who would have thought before the Chinese Grand Prix that I would lead the race? That was fantastic and to be competing at the front of the field was a great feeling for me and everybody in the team.”
What are your plans for the short break before Turkey?
“The first thing is to spend time with my family, my girlfriend and my friends over Easter in the south of France. I’m planning to do a sprint distance triathlon on the Promenade in Nice with some friends on Easter Sunday, and I’m really looking forward to that. It was difficult to do regular training in Shanghai on top of the race weekend commitments but I managed to squeeze some preparations in, so I should be well prepared. After the Easter weekend, I will be visiting the factory in Brackley to meet with the team and have a look at what we have learned in the first three races, and what we can do before the European season gets underway. We all want to make further improvements and we’re working really hard to achieve this. There’s a positive feeling at the team and I’m highly motivated.”