Nico Rosberg affirmed that he has Williams' first podium finish of the 2009 F1 World Championship campaign in his sights, after equalling his second-highest qualifying position of the season thus far with fifth on the starting grid for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The young German has lined up inside the top ten on all-bar one occasion this year to-date – only missing out, perhaps cruelly, in front of his home fans at the Nürburgring two weeks ago – and had tipped the tight and twisty Hungaroring not far away from the capital of Budapest as being a circuit that would likely suit the Toyota-powered FW31 well. After lapping right up at the sharp end of proceedings throughout qualifying and at one stage even looking a genuine threat to steal his maiden pole position in the top flight, he effectively underlined that contention.
“From my point-of-view, fifth place was okay and gives us a really good chance,” opined the 24-year-old, one of the undoubted stars of 2009 so far. “Overall, we have been looking good here and my target remains a podium. Obviously we need a good start and race strategy, but I believe we have some real promise. Given all of this, I am looking forward to the race. Most importantly, though, I hope that Felipe [Massa] is alright.”
Team-mate Kazuki Nakajima in the sister Williams, for his part, similarly showed strongly in racking up his third top ten starting position from the last five races. Despite his comparatively heavy fuel load, though [see separate story – click here
], the young Japanese ace professed himself frustrated at having been unable to convert the form he had displayed in Q2 – with the third-quickest time to his name, almost three tenths of a second quicker than Rosberg and behind only Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton – into a better grid slot than ninth in the final reckoning, particularly with overtaking invariably at a premium in Hungary.
“Initially qualifying went well, certainly up until Q2,” the 24-year-old reported. “I was pleased to make it through into the final ten again, but perhaps I didn't make the most out of the final session. I struggled with tyre warm-up and couldn't find the lap time. It may make it a bit difficult starting from P9, but let's see what we can achieve.”
“First and foremost, we all hope that Felipe Massa is okay after his incident,” added the Grove-based concern's technical director Sam Michael. “We had a good practice and qualifying session, and the car has been quick around here all weekend. Our target now is to race for some good points with both cars; starts will be tricky with the KERS cars around us, but that's what we will have to deal with.”