Williams was left celebrating its first double top ten qualifying performance of the current Formula 1 season ahead of the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix – appropriately enough team co-founder Sir Frank Williams' last race appearance of 2008.
Prior to the weekend, whilst Nico Rosberg had six times lined up inside the top ten on the starting grid this year, rookie team-mate Kazuki Nakajima had never quite managed it, despite having shown flashes of promise on many an occasion.
This time, however, the young Japanese GP2 Series graduate was not to be denied, matching Rosberg's pace throughout the hour-long session as the duo line up alongside each other on row five around the all-new Marina Bay Street Circuit, one of the most technical and physically demanding venues on the calendar.
“I am generally quite happy,” remarked Rosberg. “It was quite a good qualifying for me, even though after progressing to Q2 I did hope for a little more than ninth place. Nevertheless, it's good for the team to have both cars in the top ten and it will help us get into a position to score points.
“Even though we might not see too much overtaking, whatever happens tomorrow I think it's going to be an exciting race – the start through turn one, the battle during the pit-stops and the visual spectacle of all the cars racing through the night is going to be stunning.”
“It was a great qualifying session for me today,” enthused Nakajima of the best Saturday performance of his fledgling career in the top flight to-date. “Over the course of the season, I have missed out on Q3 many times by a very small margin, so it was great to make it into the top ten.
“After the first two sessions, qualifying with extra fuel for the first time was difficult, let alone the usual issues with traffic and just having one chance to get it right. The team gave me a very good car, though, and we have been very competitive here in all the sessions, so we just need to make a good start tomorrow and maintain our competitiveness to the end.”
With the former multiple world championship-winning Grove-based concern having scored just two points from the last eight grands prix, its technical director Sam Michael well recognises the possibility that both Rosberg and Nakajima have come race day in the Far Eastern city-state.
“It was good to get both cars through to Q3,” the softly-spoken Australian underlined, “and congratulations to Kazuki on his first top ten qualifying result. We expected to be a bit stronger in the final session, but we will see how tomorrow's race materialises. We have had no problems on the cars today.”