- Malaysian GP - Race
Rosberg challenges Ferrari: 'Bring it on'
Nico Rosberg has challenged Ferrari to "bring it on" after Sebastian Vettel's victory in Malaysia.
Ferrari turned in a flawless race with Vettel as Mercedes were matched and beaten on outright pace for the first time in the V6 turbo era. Nico Rosberg joked after Mercedes' dominant one-two in Australia that he wanted to see Ferrari close the gap - which led to a memorable exchange with Vettel - and he says he is relishing the Italian outfit's new-found pace.
When asked if he regretted his Melbourne comments during the podium interview segment, Rosberg, who finished third behind Hamilton, said: "No, but all I can say on behalf on our team is : Game on, Ferrari!"
In the press conference for the top three Rosberg elaborated further, clarifying he had only said he wanted to see Ferrari close the gap.
"There's a big difference between get closer and [wanting Ferrari to] beat us because they're faster! Massive difference there."
Vettel, sat alongside, then asked if Rosberg was happy, to which he replied: "No not at all. Definitely the opposite of happy. But for sure, on behalf of our team, as I said on the podium, bring it on. We're going to fight back big time."
The key for Mercedes was the decision to pit both cars after an early safety car deployment. This was especially costly for Rosberg as he had to wait in the box for a safe moment to be released, landing him in a train of traffic which took a long time to navigate through.
"It was the plan from before the race if there was a safety car on that lap then we box. I think we didn't expect so many people to stay out, probably, and I also didn't expect to lose so much time in the pit stop waiting for people to go by. The pit lane is so wide we thought we could go alongside.
"Those were the problems, and then just getting through the pack afterwards was very difficult and cost a lot of tyre degradation so that really put me on the back foot. I tried to fight back as much as possible but couldn't quite get back to Lewis, although I had lost a lot from that pit stop phase. I'm happy I got very close to Lewis but not enough to attack or anything."