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Spanish Grand Prix 2013: Mercedes hails 'great job' by drivers
11 May 2013
The whole Mercedes team was jubilant on Saturday at the Circuit de Catalunya, after Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton dominated the final stage of qualifying and convincingly emerged as the fastest men in qualifying.
"A great job by the team and both of our drivers today," said team principal Ross Brawn. "I believe we have the strongest driver pairing in F1 this year and they demonstrated it today."
"It's a great feeling to be on pole again," said polesitter Rosberg, who also locked up the top spot last time out in Bahrain. "So far this weekend has been very positive and it's a pleasure to see that the team is improving and fighting through the problems together."
However, the memory of what happened on race day in Bahrain - when Rosberg had faded back to ninth place at the end of a disappointing Sunday afternoon at the office - was serving as a sobering reminder that as satisfying as pole position today was, it was merely the start of the weekend's challenge.
"I don't think we will be the strongest team in the race but we are starting from the best possible position," admitted Brawn.
"We know that this is only half of the job completed and have the painful memory of what happened in Bahrain to prove that," Rosberg agreed. "We've worked very hard on our race pace but this track is tough for the tyres, particularly with graining. "
"It will be a big challenge tomorrow and our goal is to make the most of the opportunity we have from starting at the front and get a strong result for the team," Rosberg continued. "I know everyone back at the factory and at home will have been watching this afternoon and it's a great feeling for all of us."
Rosberg will have his team mate alongside him for the start of the race, and Lewis Hamilton didn't seem in the least put out to lose pole by a quarter of a second form the flying German.
"Of course, I'd like to be one place higher but Nico did an awesome job and really nailed his lap," admitted Hamilton. "I'm so happy that we got a one-two qualifying result today.
"It's a real bonus for us to be so high up, and that's all down to the hard work that the team have put into this car, I can't thank them enough," he added. "It's going to be tough to keep these positions tomorrow but we'll give it our best shot."
Asked why Rosberg had such an edge over him at the end of Q3, Hamilton admitted that he hadn't quite got the set-up of his car where he wanted it.
"I've not been totally happy with the balance of my car all weekend, even today, so we need to look at it this evening and see what we can do for the race," he said. "Limiting the degradation is going to be my major challenge as the general pace isn't too bad."
"We have worked all weekend with the race in mind but it is clear that we are harder on the tyres than some of our rivals," echoed Mercedes director of motorsports Toto Wolff. "It was a nice surprise for us to see both cars at the top of the times this afternoon but we know that Sunday afternoon is a more complicated challenge for us."
"We have worked diligently this weekend to find the right solutions to improve our performance and consistency in race conditions," added Ross Brawn. "Now we need to get through the first stint, which will certainly be interesting on the option tyre, and then see how our race develops."
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