Nico Rosberg made no secret of his disappointment following qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday after finishing in third place behind Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Rosberg failed to top any of the three qualifying sessions, and eventually finished over half a second behind Hamilton in the fight for pole position.
The German driver explained after the session that he failed to get into a rhythm during the second stage of qualifying, opting to conserve his tires that he will start the race on tomorrow.
As a result, he entered the final part of qualifying without attacking the Bahrain International Circuit for a lap, leaving him third on the grid behind Hamilton and Vettel.
“It’s just strategy-wise today that I got it wrong,” Rosberg said. “I was thinking too much about the race, and I underestimated Sebastian’s speed and how much it would cost me.
“What I mean is that taking it easy in Q2 on the race set of tires that we started the race with, I just lacked rhythm as a result.
“I didn’t get into the rhythm and I just had one shot at it at the end. So that’s where I went wrong today.
“[I’m] disappointed, because Sebastian beat me. If I was second, it would be damage limitation, but being third is not ideal.”
Rosberg had been hoping to end Hamilton’s pole position streak in Bahrain, but failed to put up any kind of challenge to his teammate during qualifying, allowing the Briton to claim his fourth pole of the year.
However, with Ferrari’s long-run pace making it a genuine threat to Mercedes in the race on Sunday, the German team will undoubtedly be disappointed not to have locked out the front row of the grid in Bahrain.
You can watch the Bahrain Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 11am ET on Sunday.