Nico Rosberg said that winning the Singapore Grand Prix for the first time this weekend was “awesome”, but he downplayed its significance in terms of what it meant for his hopes of clinching the 2016 world championship.
“Winning the Singapore Grand Prix today is awesome. I’m really happy about that. The whole weekend went perfectly. So today it’s a big deal,” he said.
“[I had a] great start, and I had a good car in the race. Of course Daniel tried to pull one up on me with the pit stop at the end there, and we knew it was going to be tight at the end there but it worked out. Really really happy.”
The early stages of the race were dominated by the need to manage the brakes on the Mercedes, with the pit wall telling Rosberg the situation was “serious”.
“The whole car was on the edge, it always is here in Singapore so it’s all the more satisfying to win a race like that,” Rosberg said.
“The brakes were just on the limit but that’s expected and it worked out fine. I guess it’s right on the edge but it was a lot easier to manage for the whole race.”
Rosberg was never able to really pull away to a safe distance at the front, and when Red Bull opted to bring Daniel Ricciardo for a late stop and a fresh set of tyres, suddenly Rosberg’s lead looked vulnerable.
Initially the team planned to respond to the Red Bull move, but they ended up thwarted and missing the opportunity.
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“I didn’t come in because I had traffic so I was very slow on that lap and he would have beaten me, ” explained Rosberg.
“Hats off to Red Bull for such an awesome attempt which they did to try and get us. Caught us a bit there in a difficult moment.
“Just after at the pit stop, the team said that he would be with me at the end of the race which was the case, so for sure I had to be on it in that last stint and get everything right – nail all those laps, and it really worked out with the management all the way to the end. The tyre lasted just right.
“I knew it was going to be tight at the end so I just pushed as much as I could and try and get as much laptime as I could and it worked out, so I’m happy with that.”
The win puts Rosberg back in the lead of the championship, but he insisted today wasn’t about the title battle.
“I’m not focussed on points, I’m just happy with the win today,” he said. “I’m not thinking about that, just concentrating on my race weekend, just going for the race win and that’s what I’ve been doing and did also this week. Really excited about that, and celebrating that now.”
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