Nico Rosberg congratulated Mercedes Formula 1 teammate Lewis Hamilton on scoring pole position for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, saying that it “wasn’t possible” to match the Briton’s time.
Rosberg enters the final race of the 2016 season with a 12-point advantage over Hamilton, needing a podium finish to clinch his maiden F1 drivers’ championship.
The German struggled to match Hamilton’s pace throughout qualifying, finishing three-tenths of a second adrift at the end of Q3 to qualify second at the Yas Marina Circuit.
Despite only needing a top-three finish on Sunday, Rosberg admitted he felt disappointed not to have taken the fight to Hamilton in the session.
“Well as I’ve said, I’ve come here to try and be on pole and win the race tomorrow as well,” Rosberg said.
“Not ecstatic about today. Lewis did a great job and was a couple of tenths quicker.
“It just wasn’t possible for me to do that time today even though I gave it everything. But as we know, there are still opportunities tomorrow.”
Rosberg said that he felt no extra nerves heading into qualifying than compared to a normal session despite being on the verge of the title.
“Well adrenaline is always there in qualifying. That’s what’s great about it to go on the edge, on the limit, push flat out,” Rosberg said.
“It was getting good out there. As qualifying went on, I felt better and better.
“Got a good lap in in the end in Q3, but not good enough.”
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 7am ET on Sunday.