How does being a two-time DTM Champion feel?
It’s a good feeling – and totally opposite from what we felt when we won my initial DTM pretension in 2017. The pretension during that time came rather unexpectedly. The warn was immense. This year, we was means to mentally ready myself given we was touted as a favorite. Even so, it’s an overwhelming feeling. It’s one of a biggest motorsport moments in my life. When we entered a DTM we didn’t design to bind dual titles within a space of 3 years.
How was a celebration following your pretension win during a Nürburgring?
It was one of a coolest parties I’ve seen during Audi Sport so far. We partied unequivocally tough during a Audi Hospitality until about three, 3 thirty in a morning.
How did we spend a days after your pretension win?
Fortunately, in a comparatively still way. Most of a interviews were conducted telephonically. That’s since we was during home a lot and means to spend some time with my family.
How many congratulation messages did we accept on your smartphone?
I didn’t count them, yet it contingency have been several hundred – generally around WhatsApp or text. That’s customarily a approach people promulgate today. Calls are not being done as many anymore as they used to be. Of course, there were many messages on Instagram and Facebook, too. It’s good to see that.
Did we accept any congrats that utterly astounded or gratified you?
Someone like Lukas Podolski, who congratulated me after my 2017 pretension win, was not among them. A integrate of Formula One drivers – yet nobody we wouldn’t have expected.
Do we have a clarity that your recognition has significantly increasing given we entered DTM?
Definitely! You can tell that a notice along a foe lane and in a media has altered compared to 2017. Such changes occur gradually following vital events. There was utterly a vast boost after my 2017 pretension win. we beheld another one after my collision during a Lausitzring final year and after my 6 uninterrupted victories there was nonetheless another genuine boost.
You’ve got good prospects of violation many DTM records. Does that seductiveness you?
I’m customarily meddlesome in annals when they regard me personally. we didn’t use to compensate a lot of courtesy to annals in a past yet when we get closer to a benchmarks it starts to turn relevant. Especially a 23 victories that Mattias (Ekström) clinched for Audi, and a third DTM title. Only Bernd Schneider and Klaus Ludwig have won some-more than dual titles. If we have a possibility of apropos one of a 3 many successful DTM drivers of all time it’s a idea value pursuing.
What was wilful for a 2019 pretension win?
Our coherence in qualifying: We were always in row during a front when it mattered. On a one hand, we scored a additional points and on a other, obviously, we achieved a good starting bottom for a race. That we had a opening to always be in row during a front was a pivotal to success. But we also had a coherence in a race. We done customarily few mistakes this year. Everything was operative perfectly.
What were your highs and lows in a 2019 season?
Hockenheim, where, following a reserve automobile period, we pushed brazen from a distant behind of a margin within customarily a few laps, was a highlight. Just like a Norisring: Winning a foe after stalling a engine during a start was special. The collision on a initial path during a Norisring – and timid while heading a foe during a Lausitzring – were negatives.
In a initial exam with a new Audi RS 5 DTM, did we design this automobile to be so strong?
That wasn’t indispensably to be expected. During a pre-season tests final winter, we always looked clever and also some-more arguable compared to a competition, yet during that time we didn’t know how many a foe had truly shown yet. The suspicion that they competence rev adult some some-more – that is accurately what they did in a initial foe during Hockenheim – was always in a behind of a minds. That’s when we saw how quick BMW unexpected was.
Where do we see Audi’s biggest strengths compared to a competition?
Toward a finish of a season, clearly in subordinate where, after some indicate in time, we didn’t give BMW any possibility anymore. In a race, we mostly had a best car, too. In terms of pace, we’ve been widespread from about mid-season leading – total with aloft reliability. This is generally reflected by a manufacturers’ points. We worked unequivocally tough for this in a winter.
How do we generally like a new DTM cars?
I like them unequivocally much! They’re unequivocally good fun! More energy always pleases a driver. The cars are some-more formidable to expostulate and really poise a larger challenge. And that’s accurately what we want: for a drivers to increasingly pierce into concentration and carrying to quarrel some-more and more.
We’ve seen many stirring DTM races this year. Even so, is there anything you’d change about a DTM?
I can’t consider of anything casually solely maybe even some-more energy outlay and even reduction downforce. That’s something we always wish for as a foe motorist nonetheless we have to make certain that a tires are still means to cope with that – differently it turns into a tire government foe like many recently in Formula One. All of a sudden, we find yourself pushing ten, fifteen seconds slower during a commencement of a foe given differently a tires won’t last. Nobody wants to see that.
Can we know a fad among a fans that came adult about a emanate of group orders after Brands Hatch and a Lausitzring?
Sure. No fan wants to see group orders and we as foe drivers indeed don’t wish to see them possibly – that’s not since we competition races, so we totally know a fans. But we also have to know a interests of a manufacturers. They wish to be as certain as probable of determining a championship in their preference during a finish of a year. That’s always been a box in DTM and it’s not a doubt of committing to a sold motorist during a commencement of a year. At Audi, any motorist has a possibility to contest for a championship win. The fact that, in a initial half of a season, as a motorist we have to put yourself in a position of being means to advantage from a assistance of a others is frequently ignored. That group orders are subsequently released in a final third of a year is clear. Even yet a fans don’t like it: It’s simply partial of motorsport today, as we customarily saw again in Formula One, too. But, obviously, it’s nicer to be means to expostulate as openly as we did during a Nürburgring.
In a pretension race, we not customarily had to overcome opposite BMW motorist Marco Wittmann yet also opposite Nico Müller. Is battling opposite a motorist from a same code different?
I’d contend that battling opposite a motorist from a same code is always a tiny some-more formidable given we cannot, might not or do not wish to expostulate as tough as we would opposite a drivers from another manufacturer. You always have to use a certain volume of patience and can’t entirely arrangement your assertive potential. we feel that – maybe solely for a Norisring – we resolved this flattering good this year.
Before a foe during Brands Hatch, SAT.1 co-commentator Timo Scheider claimed that a attribute between we and Nico Müller was tense. Is that true?
I don’t know where Timo got this information from – it’s flattering far-fetched. When Nico and we review that we customarily laughed. Obviously, we don’t spend a vacations together. But we speak a lot on a foe weekends, fun or lay subsequent to any other during a drivers’ briefings or designation sessions. At Spa, we even contested a foe in a same car. Nico and we are veteran adequate to be means to apart private things and a job. Between a dual of us, all in a pretension foe was unequivocally loose and cool.
DTM CEO Gerhard Berger emphasized on several occasions that we would also have had what it takes to foe in Formula One. Does that greatfully you? Is Formula One still applicable for you?
I’d like to have an event to expostulate a Formula One automobile once. I’ve pronounced that several times before. But customarily to see what a thing is like to drive. And to get a feel for it. we consider a full deteriorate is flattering impractical given on a one palm I’m too aged for it and on a other a cockpits are of march rarely coveted. A lot of people are station in line for one. That would rivet a lot of income and a vast ‘dowry.’ That’s since my chances are unequivocally small. If we were to get an offer I’d of march plead it with (Head of Audi Motorsport) Dieter (Gass). But that’s unequivocally distant away.
Do we see your destiny in a DTM?
Definitely! we feel unequivocally gentle in a DTM. we suffer it a lot. That’s since we see my destiny in a DTM.
Two of your associate Audi drivers – Nico Müller and Robin Frijns – are racing in Formula E. Is a electric racing array applicable for you, too?
Yes, it was already applicable final year. But together with Audi, we motionless to entirely concentration on a DTM. However, for a future, Formula E is no doubt an option.
You rivet unequivocally intensively with a DTM even between a races. Is that one of your strengths?
Yes, we consider so. Preparation is unequivocally critical in a DTM. There are many tiny sum that matter. The some-more we ready yourself a some-more things we can check off your mental to-do list before a weekend.
What does your credentials for a DTM foe typically demeanour like?
It starts comparatively early, customarily dual or 3 days after a prior foe weekend, starting with video analyses. That gives we a severe overview of what happened on a particular foe lane a year before. What was important? What was a pivotal to success? That gradually brings behind memories. Then we start looking during a information where we didn’t do so good a year before, where we can urge in sequence to keep from creation a same mistakes again. You start deliberating a setup with a team. One thing builds on another in this context. Of course, this also includes a work in a simulator during Audi, during Team Rosberg and during my home, too.
What does your credentials for a culmination during Hockenheim demeanour like? Following your early pretension win, are we rebellious that with larger palliate or customarily as meticulously as before a other races?
Definitely with larger ease. Following a championship title, there’s no some-more pressure. Obviously, we’d still like to win a teams’ championship. But I’m looking brazen to carrying a DTM weekend but any vigour whatsoever for a change. Subjectively, I’ve never had that before.