Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline driver Nico Müller took pole and victory to round off the DTM season in perfect fashion on an extremely wet on Sunday at Hockenheim. The Swiss driver inherited pole from a penalised Audi Sport Team Phoenix’s Mike Rockenfeller, and retook the lead on the final lap after Audi Sport Team Rosberg’s Jamie Green stopped with a lap to go.
Müller was quick to praise his Team Abt mechanics and engineers who worked hard to improve the car after a difficult Saturday.
Today was for me very important,” explained Müller, “To end the season on a high after Nürburgring and yesterday, it was what I wished for.
“The team and Audi have done a great job over night to give me a car that was competitive in the wet today. On Friday I didn’t feel that comfortable in the wet.
“I think in the race we had the car I wished for and was feeling very comfortable in these difficult conditions, and didn’t put a foot wrong.”
The 27-year-old was in the title fight with Audi Sport Team Rosberg’s René Rast after his second ever DTM victory in race two at Misano. However a difficult second half of the season saw Müller slip away from title contention and was out of the running after the Nürburgring weekend.
Müller feels that the strong performance today helped show that he his team still had the ability to challenge.
“The way we lost the title battle was not the way that I had wished for,” admitted the Audi driver, “I knew it was going to be tough but to lose the way we lost it that hurt a lot,
“So today, it kind of makes up for that.”
Müller gave insight into the difficulty of driving on the Hockenheim circuit that was covered with water for the entirety of today’s events, and the particular struggles with warming tyres.
“It was very tricky, specially starting on cold tyres when you come out of the pits or on the start,” he reported, “You never know what to expect.
“You have no idea how much grip you’re going to find, it’s always those situations where you have to judge how much risk you take.”
Looking forward to 2020 Müller, who takes on a Formula E drive alongside his continued DTM efforts, said that claiming next years title was very much the aim and that being in contention throughout this year has added momentum to the team.
“I think we are all here to fight for the championship, its the ultimate goal,” explained Müller, “We know it’s very very tough especially when you have guys with René who are so competitive and so consistent through a whole year.
“You know you have to get close to perfection to beat guys like him.
“We know what to work on, we are very very motivated especially after having that little boost having a last race like today.
“For sure the goal will be to try to challenge him and to try to fight for the championship next year and be a bit better than we were this year.”
Müller finished the season on 250 points, with three wins coming at Misano, Lausitzring and today’s triumph at Hockenheim, assisting his Team Abt Sportsline team to second place in the teams’ standings.