Nico Rosberg was pleased to have led Mercedes’ comeback at Suzuka as he banished the team’s Singapore struggles to claim his second pole position for the 2015 Formula 1 season.
Rosberg edged out teammate Lewis Hamilton by just 0.076 seconds in the final stage of qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix on Saturday as Mercedes locked out the front row of the grid.
The result marked a turnaround in fortunes following the Singapore Grand Prix seven days ago where Hamilton and Rosberg could only qualify fifth and sixth respectively, lagging behind Ferrari and Red Bull.
Valtteri Bottas finished as the best of the rest for Williams at Suzuka on Saturday, four-tenths of a second down on Rosberg’s time, giving the German a boost heading into the race on Sunday.
“First of all, very happy. Great day today,” Rosberg said after qualifying. “A good comeback also for the team. It’s fantastic after such a difficult weekend in Singapore, to be back to our usual strength today, strong performance today from the team, great car, so very thankful for that.
“Really turned things around, optimized everything for this track, and for me, I pretty much nailed my laps today so really pleased with the way it went. A great position to be in for tomorrow.”
The drivers entered qualifying at Suzuka having completed just one hour’s worth of dry running after practice after FP1 and FP2 on Friday were washed out by rain.
Nevertheless, Rosberg feels confident about his chances in tomorrow’s race as he bids to cut the gap to Hamilton at the top of the drivers’ championship.
“Well I’m confident that the car is going to be good, but as for everybody, we didn’t have the perfect preparation,” Rosberg said.
“So there might be a few surprises tomorrow, but I’m confident that I found a good balance. I did do some high fuel running this morning and the balance was good, so we should be fine.”
The Japanese Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 12:30am ET on Sunday.