Nico Rosberg admitted to mixed feelings after finishing a close fourth behind Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton. The German repeatedly radioed his team to ask for permission to pass Hamilton in the latter stages of the race, but was told to hold position – something he dutifully did, allowing the Briton to pick-up Mercedes’ first podium finish of the season.
“To be honest, (my feelings) are a bit mixed,” he said. “On one hand I am very pleased to say that the car is working really well and that we have been able to fight right at the front where the Red Bulls are, which is a big change from yesterday’s performance. So I have to give a big thank you to everyone in the factory who gave us a very big step forward over the wintertime. It really felt amazing seeing the leaders of the race right in front of you.
“But then I’m also a bit disappointed as I would have liked to have pushed until the end having felt very comfortable out there and having a lot more pace than my team mate. But in the end it is okay as I am a Mercedes employee and – looking at the big picture – it is important to push forward as a team, having had some tough years in the past.
“If I were in front the decision would have been exactly the same: to hold position. This is an absolutely normal decision to do. If you think about it in a logical way, it makes sense to not risk too much anymore at that stage of the race, remembering the past years as well. Today was a very important day for the team, which has clearly marked a milestone. There are another 17 races to come, to which I am looking forward.”
Hamilton admitted that Rosberg would have been more worthy of a podium finish, commenting: “I have to say big congratulations to Nico. He drove a smarter and more controlled race than me this afternoon and deserved to finish where I did. The team made the call for us to hold positions and we both respected that.”
In three weeks’ time the Formula One fraternity will converge on Shanghai for the Chinese round, a race that Rosberg won in 2012.
“Bearing in mind that we had such a good result last year, we can be very optimistic,” added Rosberg.