Nico Rosberg extended his championship lead with his third victory of the year in Austria, taking advantage of the fact that teammate Lewis Hamilton started back in ninth.
Although the Briton was quickly up to fourth and on Rosberg’s tail, he never got into a position to properly challenge Nico as both men had to fight their way past the Williams duo on strategy, and then preserve their equipment. Rosberg insisted that the race went to plan.
“To be honest yes it did, pretty much exactly like we were trying to make it work,” he said. “O.K., I thought I would get Valtteri at the start and I did – but then they’re quick on the straights and he just went flying straight by me again, which was not good.
“But I knew pre-race that even if I am third after the start, the chances are still very good to make it and win the race because we have just a little bit more pace and less tire degradation than the Williams – we expected to have less at least – so we could go aggressive on the stops and that’s what we did and it really worked out well and so I’m extremely happy with that result. Also, great to extend the championship lead, which was really my goal coming into Austria.”
Rosberg said he wasn’t worried about losing his lead in the closing laps, despite the proximity of Hamilton.
“I generally felt comfortable in the last few laps. I thought that I could keep a nice gap and just on the last lap my tires dropped away a little bit but as soon as they got past the first couple of hairpins, I knew that I was going to be fine so it wasn’t as close as maybe some other races have been recently.”
Despite his handy lead, Rosberg remains cautious.
“Well 29 points, for sure it’s a nice gap, but it’s still so early in the season. I really like to concentrate on each weekend and keep on trying to make the most of them and enjoying the moment, also with the car that we have. It’s so great to come to the next race at Silverstone, our home race, with the best, knowing that if I do a good job I can do pole and win the race. So I’m more taking it step-by-step and every weekend my aim is to extend the championship lead which I managed to do this weekend.”Formula 1, Mercedes GP, Nico Rosberg, Video