Q and A with Nico Rosberg
AT&T Williams F1 driver Nico Rosberg, who graduated from the Bridgestone-backed GP2 championship to Formula One in 2006, talks Bridgestone through the Belgian circuit, Spa-Francorchamps as the last time the GP2 series visited Spa was in Rosberg’s championship winning year in 2005, when the German driver (with ART Grand Prix) took a podium position.
How good a training ground was the GP2 Series for you coming to F1?
The GP2 Series was great for me. You learn as much as you can in preparation for Formula One and there was a lot of passing in the races, which was great fun too. It’s still quite some way away from F1, but great nevertheless.
Are you enjoying racing and testing in F1 alongside other former GP2 drivers?
Definitely, it’s always nice. I’m especially enjoying racing against Robert Kubica and Lewis Hamilton, who I’ve been racing with since I was twelve years old. I raced them in karts, and all the way through the years we’ve more or less gone the same way. It’s nice to be battling them again at the front of the F1 field, and now I understand why it was pretty difficult to win in karts!
In GP2 what areas do you have to focus on for a good qualifying lap at Spa?
A good qualifying lap at Spa is pretty difficult. You have to carry the speed through the corners but there’s no specific area you have to focus on, you just have to go for it.
What do you think is the best approach in the GP2 races and for the pit-stop?
The pit-stop is best to do somewhere around two thirds of the race distance [race one] but qualifying is important too. However, Spa is a place where you can see some overtaking, especially in GP2, so there could be some fun races.
Do you watch any of the GP2 races on a race weekend and do these give you any assistance in terms of evaluating track conditions and so on before the F1 race?
I watch the GP2 races, just because they’re a lot of fun to watch and I know a lot of people in the Series. Where they can be of some help is watching the start, as you can see which start works out best, whether it’s better to be on the inside or outside.
Do the GP2 and F1 cars require a similar set-up, in general, and specifically for Spa?
A GP2 car and an F1 car require a completely different set-up. There’s a special way to set-up a GP2 car which works well, and for Spa you’d run the car quite a bit stiffer than at other circuits.
Where is the best overtaking opportunity at Spa?
There’s a nice overtaking opportunity now going into the last chicane before crossing the finish line, that’s the best place on the circuit for overtaking.