RESULTS: Mexican Grand Prix - Qualifying results
Nico Rosberg still feels he has a 'great chance' at victory in the Mexican Grand Prix from the front row of the grid despite being forced to dig deep to salvage second behind Lewis Hamilton.
Though he comes into the race weekend with relatively minimal pressure compared with team-mate Hamilton – whom he heads by 26 points with three races remaining -, Rosberg has endured an unusually lacklustre weekend around the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit.
Struggling to get the best from the tyres, Rosberg languished in fourth after the opening runs during the all-important Q3 and seemed destined to stay there but for a mighty effort on his final effort to leapfrog the Red Bulls and grab second.
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Relieved to get on leveller terms with Hamilton, Rosberg – who can afford to finish second to his Mercedes team-mate in the final three races and secure the title – feels he can still find the form to challenge the Briton come race day.
“Lewis' lap was brilliant, not so much mine. I put it together when it counted at the end, so I'm relatively pleased with that, making sure I'm on the front row. Even though it's not pole position of course but it still gives me a great chance.
“It's taken a bit longer this weekend to find the way. Just generally with tyre temperatures, with them being a bit on the cold-side all weekend. So it's a bit nervous out there and just to find the way with that took a bit longer. But we got there in the end, so that's OK.”
Potentially significantly, Rosberg – along with Hamilton – start on the soft tyre, compared with the Red Bulls behind on the super-soft. However, though the super-soft could be the advantage off the line and into the long drag down to turn one, Rosberg is calm that they won't last long enough to cause a long-term issue.
“It's going to be OK to start the race, but then it disintegrates pretty quickly. So in terms of strategy that's definitely going to be a disadvantage. We just think our package is the better one but let's see how we go tomorrow.”
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