Nico Rosberg has said it was 'very special' for him to secure his first F1 pole position today in qualifying for Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix.
Rosberg was in a class of his own in Q3 and his best lap - a 1 minute 35.121 seconds - put him more than half a second up on his closest rival. Afterwards he paid tribute to his team, although he did concede that it will be a 'challenge to stay in front' in tomorow's race at the Shanghai International Circuit, the third round in the 2012 F1 World Championship.
“It's a very special day for me because this is my first pole in F1, and the first for a Silver Arrow since 1955,” said the Mercedes driver. “Firstly it was a strange feeling because I was watching the end of Q3 from the FIA garage as we decided to save a set of option tyres for the race, and I couldn't do anything but watch!
“Seeing that I finished at the top of the timesheets and with half a second in hand made me the happiest man today.
“Thanks to the team, everyone here and in the factories, who have done a great job to develop and improve our Silver Arrow.
“We don't know what will happen in the race tomorrow, and it will be a challenge to stay in front, but for the moment, I will enjoy starting next to Michael [Schumacher – my team-mate] from the front row which is also very special to me.”
Schumacher meanwhile was third quickest in the top-ten shootout in the sister car - 0.065 seconds slower than Lewis Hamilton. However, with the McLaren
driver having picked up a five-place penalty for a gearbox change, Schumacher will still start in P2, giving Mercedes a front row lock-out.
“This really is a special day for our Mercedes-Benz team, having two Silver Arrows starting from the front row of the Chinese Grand Prix. It's a great result, and I am very happy for everybody. Congratulations to Nico, he achieved his first pole position with a just fabulous lap. I can easily respect he did the better job today, and I am happy for him,” Schumacher added.
“I am equally happy for Norbert [Haug], Ross [Brawn] and all the guys here at the track and in Brackley and Brixworth, who had to wait quite some time and have been so patient. We can only compliment their hard work. A big thank you to Daimler for always supporting us; we are doing all we can to bring the Mercedes-Benz name to the front, where it belongs.
“As for me, I am happy too, and obviously my ambition for the race is to stay where we are now.
“But tomorrow is another story, even if in terms of set-up we have prepared the car mainly for the race. We will definitely try and show a good performance, and I am looking forward to it.”