Nico Rosberg has admitted he is surprised to have landed pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix after claiming Mercedes was 'seriously off the pace' coming into qualifying.
With soaring temperatures catching several teams off guard, Mercedes was seemingly keeping its powder dry ahead of qualifying after Rosberg could only manage what was originally perceived as a cautious seventh best in FP3.
However, the German suggests that pace was indicative of his ultimate form in that session and was surprised to turn around a 'difficult weekend' when it mattered in qualifying.
RESULTS: Belgian Grand Prix – Qualifying results
“We have had a difficult weekend up to now, especially this morning,” he said. “We were seriously off the pace on one lap so it really wasn't so easy coming into qualifying but we got the job done in the end.
“We really made quite a few changes on the car going into qualifying and we found the right way. It all came together and I was feeling good, so I'm very pleased about that one.”
“We just weren't quick because it's very hot out there and because the Pirelli tyre pressures are very high here for this weekend.
“So it was just a bit of a different world out there and we really had to change a lot of things and adapt, so it was great to see how we managed to turn it around and get there eventually just in time for qualifying. This morning in FP3 we were still quite a long way off the pace still.”
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His sixth pole position of the season, it could also prove to be a crucial one for Rosberg as he looks to capitalise on Lewis Hamilton's numerous penalties.
The championship leader will start at the back after three power unit changes, though Rosberg says victory from pole over Max Verstappen and Ferrari isn't a foregone conclusion.
“Happy to be on pole but the only thing is it's going to be a very challenging race because the tyres are extremely difficult out there this weekend and strategy and everything is going to be very, very interesting. I think we're going to see a bit of everything, then with Max being on supersoft and Kimi on soft there's going to be a whole load of things going on so it will definitely not be an easy one.”
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