Mercedes boss Norbert Haug was bowled over by Nico Rosberg's pole position time today in qualifying for the 2012 F1 Chinese Grand Prix.
Haug was delighted after seeing Rosberg dominate Q3 and with Michael Schumacher gaining second on the grid in the sister car, albeit only after Lewis Hamilton's penalty, the Brackley-based squad locked-out the front row. It was Rosberg's first ever F1 pole and also the first for the current Mercedes team - although it was actually the ninth for a works Silver Arrow, the last one though came back in 1955 at the Italian Grand Prix, thanks to F1 legend, Juan Manuel Fangio.
“What a fantastic lap from Nico for pole position - in his single attempt in Q3, he was half a second quicker than anybody else, which speaks both for him and the team,” Haug said. “A big thank you to everybody from Mercedes AMG Petronas for a great job and for all the relentless work that they are putting in to continuously improve our performance.
“The three fastest cars today are powered by the Mercedes V8 so well done to all our guys in Brixworth at Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains. Michael missed P2 today by less than a tenth of a second, but as Lewis will have a grid penalty, Michael will start next to Nico on the front row tomorrow.
“A Silver Arrows front row last happened at Monza in 1955; now, after two years in the modern era of the Silver Arrows works team, we have achieved our first one-two on the grid. Although we are in the best possible positions today, we certainly do not think that we are already winners tomorrow. So far, our long runs on high fuel and our tyre usage didn't look bad according to Pirelli, so we all will do our best for tomorrow.
“Hats off to Nico again - this was a great lap, my friend, which you will remember for a very long time.”
Mercedes team principal, Ross Brawn was equally pleased, although he emphasised that the race tomorrow is what will really count.
“It was an exceptional qualifying session for us and I am very pleased with the way the whole team worked to achieve it. Congratulations to both drivers, but especially Nico on a stunning lap which earned him his first pole position,” Brawn added.
“It is a great boost for everyone, and gives lots of encouragement to the team here at the track, in Brackley and Brixworth. We hope it will prove to be a step on the way to achieving our ambitions; however, we know it is only a small step and that what really counts is the race.
“That's what we have been working on, to start delivering similar levels of performance on Sunday afternoon.”