Nico Rosberg was happy but not ecstatic after taking pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix, and maintained he missed the battle with team-mate Lewis Hamilton, although Kimi Raikkonen did keep him honest.
Rosberg took his first pole position of the season – and the 23rd of his career – with relative ease in the end, his 1min 35.402sec lap leaving him more than half a second up on Daniel Ricciardo and Raikkonen.
However, with Hamilton sidelined by ERS issues, Rosberg said the session obviously wasn't the best for Mercedes as a whole.
“I'm pleased of course,” Rosberg said. “The whole weekend has gone well, the car has been handling well today in qualifying. To get the lap done and put it on pole I'm happy with that, of course. Not ecstatic though, because of course Lewis had bad luck and his car broke down so the fight didn't happen, didn't take place, but anyway, I'm pleased [with my pole].”
Rosberg also pointed out that Raikkonen would have been a lot closer had he not made a mistake at the hairpin on his final lap.
“I think the team is just doing a great job, it's the fastest car out there and that's it. We are putting it together in qualifying and that's great to see but Kimi did a big mistake, apparently, I haven't seen it, so he would have lost a lot of time so it would have been very, very close. That's what we were expecting actually, that's why I needed to pull mine [lap] out and I'm glad that it worked out,” he added.
Asked if he had any engine issues, Rosberg replied: “No I haven't. I had an issue yesterday so I need to have a look and try to understand that and of course it is bad luck [as I said] for Lewis today that it happened.”
Rosberg will start the race on Sunday on the soft tyre - after managing to get through to Q2 without using the supersoft - and that potentially puts him in a strong position.
“I'm not really sure [if it is a significant advantage], I haven't done the strategy stuff yet but I would think that is going to be a good thing yeah.
"For sure to start on that tyre it maybe gives me a bit of an advantage over the others. But as I said, I'm not sure yet, I need to look in to it tonight,” he concluded.