Nico Rosberg admitted he was thrilled to match his best qualifying performance after the Williams driver secured third on the grid for the Singapore Grand Prix.
After the disappointment of Monza, Rosberg was back on the pace under the Singapore lights, with a storming performance during the session to earn a place on the second row.
Having been fifth in Q1, Rosberg set the quickest time of the weekend with his low-fuel run in Q2 and then lay third in the final stage of qualifying with one run left.
Unfortunately, that run – which was quicker than his best – was ended when the red flags came out following Rubens Barrichello's crash, but Rosberg was still delighted with his result as he now turns his focus to at least matching his podium finish from last season.
“It's been a great day as it has been the result of some good work to change and adapt the set-up of the car in practice and even in Q1,” he said. “Going into qualifying, it all came alive in Q2 and I got a super lap in. Although Q3 was not as easy on heavy fuel loads, I think we are seeing the benefit of a lot of development work that has gone into the car and I am really pleased for the whole team that we have made another step towards a podium finish and we may even be able to fight for a win sometime soon. P3 is a great position to start from tomorrow and I will be on the clean side of the track, which might prove to be important.
Technical director Sam Michael was also pleased with the result and said he was looking for both drivers to fight for points in the race, with Kazuki Nakajima lining up eleventh on the grid.
“It was a fantastic qualifying performance from Nico tonight with his true pace only shown in Q2 because of the red flag in Q3,” he said. “So I'm really happy for him and expect him to race well tomorrow. Kazuki just missed the cut for Q3, but can race for points tomorrow with a good fuel strategy. We could see from yesterday's practice that the FW31 upgrades were working well, so development is going in the right direction and well done to everybody in the team that has contributed to this progress.”