The German sprung a surprise by taking the fight to Vettel during qualifying, ending up just 0.091 seconds off pole position. Despite missing out by such a slim margin, Rosberg is happy with his grid slot and feels that he is in a good position for the race.
Speaking in a team statement he said: “We’ve had a really good weekend so far and have been able to improve the car from session to session with some great work from my engineers and mechanics so my thanks to them. It was so close to beating Sebastian to pole this evening but I’m still really happy to have achieved second place. It’s so important to start from the front here so we are in a very good position for the race.”
He added: “Our race pace was strong on Friday so I’m feeling quite confident for tomorrow evening. I doubt if we have enough performance to beat Sebastian but I’ll do my best to have a good start and then we’ll see how it goes from there.”
Meanwhile team-mate Lewis Hamilton could only manage fifth on the grid, finishing four tenths down on Vettel. Despite looking strong in Friday practice, the Brit didn’t feel at one with the car and admitted that the car was quicker than what he got out of it.
Sharing his thoughts after qualifying he said: “Qualifying didn’t quite come together for me this evening. I tried my best out there but I just didn’t have a great feeling in the car and ultimately I wasn’t fast enough. Clearly the car was quicker than what I was able to get out of it tonight so, of course, it’s frustrating not to have qualified closer to the front as Nico did. So not a good day for me but that’s life.”
Looking ahead to the race, he has the podium firmly set in his sights: “We’ll turn today’s negative into a positive overnight and I’ll be pushing as hard as I can in the race tomorrow. There are still people ahead of me that we can beat and our target will be to get on the podium, that would be amazing.”
Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn also commented on the performance of his two drivers, alongside giving his thoughts on Red Bull’s tactic of keeping Vettel in the garage for the second Q3 runs: “It was a brave move from Sebastian and Red Bull to sit out the final run, and it just paid off for them, but it would have been nice to have given them cause to regret it. Nico put in a great lap to claim second while Lewis was just a little bit off Nico’s pace today and took fifth place. That’s the great thing about our team, though: we have two drivers who push each other hard, they work well together and the team works hard to find the right solutions for both drivers.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic