Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg will be out to try and capitalise again on Sunday in the British Grand Prix after team-mate and championship rival Lewis Hamilton once again messed up qualifying.
Rosberg snatched pole position late on gaining time in the final sector as the track dried out, while Hamilton, who aborted his last run, was left to rue his decision and slipped back from P1 to P6 in the dying seconds.
Speaking after the rain-hit session, Rosberg conceded that he was very pessimistic about his chances after the first runs in Q3.
“It was a quite crazy qualifying. It was changing all the time and that makes it very, very difficult. In the end in the last qualifying also, on the first lap with the soft tyres, it started to rain a lot just in the last three corners and we lost a lot of time there. Everywhere else it was quite wet on the in lap too,” Rosberg recalled.
“At that point I was sure, I told the guys: 'That is it'. I was then sitting in the box and we just came to the general conclusion we might as well go out [again] and have a look at the track because if you don't have a look there is no chance. If you have a look at least there is a tiny chance. It seemed like we might as well give it a go, but even then I still didn't really believe that the track could be better.
“But what made it was the last sector. Everywhere the track was just a bit slower, damp here and there. But I knew I had lost four seconds on the previous lap [in the final part] and even if I was slower than that last lap I still had a chance to go a lot quicker in the last few corners if it was halfway dry and that is the way it turned out. I just made up the time in those last three corners as it was a lot drier. It worked out perfectly.”
Rosberg did, however, almost miss out on being able to do another lap: “I crossed the line on Lewis' gearbox,” he added. “I had to be there. I had to be as fast as possible in order to be able to do that last lap. As I crossed the line it went red instantly. It was a very, very close call.
“I think all in all it was just a really good team effort. Everybody working together – my engineers together with me just made all the right calls and it worked out. It was fantastic to have such a qualifying where everything goes well in the end and a comfortable pole, which is awesome.”
Rosberg already has a 29-point lead in the Drivers' Championship and he now looks poised to be able to increase that further tomorrow.
“Of course with regard to the championship it is good for me that Lewis is down in sixth,” Rosberg admitted. “It will take him some time I think to fight through – although I expect him to come through quite quickly.
“Then I think very likely we will be racing each other again. We seem to be very quick at this track. This track really suits the car, more so than Austria. I think it is going to be a good battle again. But of course starting from pole is the best possible place. I am very confident for the race.”
Asked by Crash.net
if he now has the psychological edge, Rosberg replied: “I have never talked about trying to get a psychological edge or anything - not at all. What I have been saying is at the moment the momentum seems to be on my side. I have just got to make the most of it because it comes and goes.
"I have had a period now where it is going my way. I just need to make sure I get as many points as possible on Lewis. It is working out at the moment. But anyway today is just qualifying. There are no points for qualifying. With the car that we have even from sixth place it is still possible. But of course it is a big advantage to have pole...” he concluded.