Nico Rosberg has admitted that he could not have beaten Lewis Hamilton in qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix today in Sochi, but feels that he could still get in the mix for the race win tomorrow from second place on the grid.
Hamilton has enjoyed the measure of his teammate and championship rival all weekend long, and this showed in qualifying as he edged him out by two-tenths of a second come the flag, giving the Briton his seventh pole position of the season.
Speaking the post-qualifying press conference, Rosberg admitted that he couldn’t stop Hamilton on Saturday.
“Today Lewis was quicker, all weekend really, so I’ve been working hard to try and get close but didn’t manage to get closer than those two-tenths now, so that’s the way it is,” Rosberg said. “I need to accept that. Also I had the Williams of Valtteri [Bottas] coming up behind me going quick also, so I need to keep an eye on that.
“But front row is okay, definitely. From there anything is possible tomorrow. It will be an interesting race.”
Rosberg explained how the unique characteristics of the new Sochi Autodrom circuit have given all of the drivers an extra challenge, and with low tire degradation, we look set to enjoy a one-stop race on Sunday.
“It’s very unique here because there’s hardly any tire degradation because the track is so smooth on the tires,” Rosberg said. “It’s completely different to anything we have seen this year.
“That makes it very unique and it’s been a big challenge setup-wise and everything to get to grips with the track this weekend. I think it’s going to be a good race tomorrow.”
Rosberg has not won a race since the German Grand Prix back in July, and has seen his championship lead of 29 points diminish over the past two months, with Hamilton now enjoying a 10-point advantage at the top of the standings.
If he is to get his championship bid back on track, victory in Russia will be crucial for Rosberg on Sunday.
You can watch the Russian Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 6:30am ET tomorrow.