Nico Rosberg has phlegmatically conceded that seventh spot in qualifying for this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix reflects 'where Williams are at the moment' – as he admitted that he hopes to enjoy some good fortune on race day, having been afflicted only by bad luck in the opening two outings of the season to-date.
The young German has been mightily impressive so far this year behind the wheel of the Grove-based concern's Toyota-powered FW31, pacing seven of the nine practice sessions, lining up inside the top five on the starting grid in both Australia and Malaysia and comfortably leading for the first 15 laps last time out in Sepang.
The inaugural GP2 Series Champion has, however, just 3.5 points to show for it all when he could conceivably have now been boasting a brace of podiums – which is why he is hoping his luck will finally change in Shanghai, a track where he has yet to finish inside the points in three previous starts.
“This is where we are at the moment,” Rosberg mused. “We are the fourth-best team out there, so seventh place is more-or-less where we expected to be. I must say that, for me, today's surprise was [Fernando] Alonso.
“We struggled slightly in warming up the tyres, but otherwise I am quite pleased. Strategy-wise, we are looking good, and I'm not worried about our race pace. If you look at Malaysia we were pretty strong in the race, even though the tyres are a challenge, both hard and soft. We'll have to see how everyone around us looks in terms of fuel. It would be good if, after Australia and Malaysia, things would go a bit more our way tomorrow.”
Team-mate Kazuki Nakajima, by contrast, endured a troubled session, only just scraping through into Q2 in 15th position – and failing to improve any from thereon in, albeit lapping less than four tenths of a second away from Rosberg's pace. Timo Glock's five-place grid penalty elevated the Japanese ace to 14th spot in the final reckoning.
“The car is as competitive as it was in Malaysia,” the 24-year-old underlined, “and we're still making progress, so this result is a shame. I really hope I can do better in the race, but we first need to look at our data and see what was going on with the car and try to resolve it. We'll do our best to get a good strategy in place, as you never know what can happen in a grand prix.”
“It's disappointing that Kazuki wasn't higher today,” concurred the former multiple world championship-winning concern's technical director Sam Michael. “With Nico, we could have done better in managing his run in Q3, but it didn't work out as planned today. We should have a more competitive race pace, so we're looking forward to a good performance tomorrow.”