Ericsson enjoys stimulating Nasr rivalry

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Marcus Ericsson thinks his close-fought battle with Sauber rookie team-mate Felipe Nasr gives the opportunity to extract “the most out of yourself”.

The Swede’s sophomore F1 campaign got off to a slow start, especially given the Brazilian’s stunning fifth-place finish on debut in Australia. Nasr followed this up with impressive top-10 appearances in China and Monaco, while comprehensively outqualifying Ericsson along the way.

The Caterham refugee managed to bounce back and close that performance gap, though Sauber’s slump meant this could no longer translate into big results and Ericsson still finished 18 points adrift of Nasr.

“I think the first half of the season he for sure was the stronger out of us two, there’s no question about that,” Ericsson told F1i's Chris Medland in an exclusive interview. “I think in the qualifying stats he was 6-1 up on me or whatever, for sure he was doing a better job than me in the beginning of the year. But I think from mid-season it has been the other way around and instead it has been me that has been the stronger in the team.

“To be fair we have been quite closely matched over the whole year and we have pushed each other really hard which is good. Also I think I thought about it in Brazil, there were so many races where we started next to each other because we are always very closely matched, which I think is good, it always makes you need to get the most out of yourself.”

With Ericsson and Nasr both returning to Sauber next season, the Swede hopes he can pick up where he left it off in 2015.

“This year I think we had one half each sort of thing and next year I cannot give away the first half of the season. I need to start where it has been this second half of the year, and that’s my aim.”

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