Nico Rosberg set the fastest lap of the final qualifying session, taking Mercedes third pole position in a row. However despite working hard on his race pace, the German is unsure if he can maintain his grid position.
The 27-year-old’s best lap time of 1m20.718 bettered the previous Circuit de Catalunya lap record set by Kimi Raikkonen when he was driving for Ferrari in 2008, beating his team-mate Lewis Hamilton by two tenths of a second.
Speaking in a team press release after qualifying, he reflected on what was a very successful session indeed. He said “It’s a great feeling to be on pole again. So far this weekend has been very positive and it’s a pleasure to see that the team is improving and fighting through the problems together,” before admitting that it is a “great feeling for all” of the team.
However Nico has first hand experience of the disappointment’s that could be faced come race day. He qualified on pole position three weeks ago in Bahrain but high tyre wear meant he dropped to 10th place by the chequered flag. Despite prioritising work on their race pace, he is unsure if it is to the level that they would like. “However, we know that this is only half of the job completed. We’ve worked very hard on our race pace but this track is tough for the tyres, particularly with graining.”
Knowing that it will be a challenge to maintain his position, he knows that he must make the most of his qualifying position. “So it will be a big challenge tomorrow and our goal is to make the most of the opportunity we have from starting at the front and get a strong result for the team.”
Lewis Hamilton was ecstatic with the result, saying “A great job by the team and I’m so happy that we got a one-two qualifying result today. It’s a real bonus for us to be so high up.”
Whilst he is going to “give it his best shot,” the Brit admits that it will be tough to stay at the front due to the strong form of those behind. “Limiting the degradation is going to be my major challenge as the general pace isn’t too bad. It’s going to be tough to keep these positions tomorrow but we’ll give it our best shot.”
Believing that he has the best driver line-up on the grid, Team Principal Ross Brawn said they certainly “demonstrated it today.” Echoing the drivers thoughts, he admits that they are not the fastest cars in race trim.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic