Rosberg: It’s fantastic – but it’s only qualifying
23 August 2014
Nico Rosberg admitted that taking pole position at Spa-Francorchamps was a particular thrill but, with Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton lining up alongside him on the grid, acknowledged that his weekend's job was only half done.
The German had not previously qualified inside the top five for the Belgian Grand Prix, so taking top spot in a closely-contested session meant more to him than most of his sixth other top spots this season, but Hamilton's performance suggested that there would be more to come from the Briton on Sunday, notably if the race remains dry and allows him to repeat the form he showed in FP2 and FP3.
“It's awesome [to get pole] at this track,” Rosberg said. “It's one of the most special tracks of the year, so to be in front here is great.
“We have a great car here, we're leading the way and it's so cool to see that. The team is doing a great job, just staying ahead and keeping that gap, so there's a really good chance for tomorrow. I need to get a good start and, from there, I'm really looking forward to it...”
Mercedes was light years ahead of the rest of the field in the session, with third-placed Fernando Alonso a full 1.7secs adrift of the pole time, and Rosberg admitted that it had been easier having to keep track of just one driver, even if it was his team-mate.
“It was amazing to see how quick our car is and, obviously, it was just Lewis I had to focus on,” he confirmed, “That makes it easier, if there's one guy instead of a whole bunch. It's fantastic, but it's only qualifying – there's a long race tomorrow.”
Indeed, Rosberg's attention would have been more on the conditions, which deteriorated an hour before qualifying as the Ardennes was drenched by a downpour of biblical proportions. Having safely negotiated the first two phases of qualifying, however, the track remained tricky in Q3, with Hamilton among those struggling to keep his car on line.
“It was not quite as difficult out there as on some other occasions because the conditions were pretty much intermediates all the way around, just varying slightly,” Rosberg reported, “That made it a bit easier today, but it's always difficult on this track in the wet, so I'm really, really happy. The car was handling well and, together with my engineers, we really fine-tuned it perfectly. I was really feeling comfortable and able to push.
“I thought, even in the wet, we would have been strong. Maybe the others would have been a little bit closer – it's very difficult to say exactly – but, for sure, it helped us because the gap was a lot bigger and our car was really dominant.”