Nico Rosberg believes that he produced a near-perfect lap en route to pole position for the Russian Grand Prix on Saturday.
Rosberg posted a fastest lap time of 1:37.113 to beat Mercedes teammate and championship leader Lewis Hamilton to pole position by three-tenths of a second.
The result marked Rosberg’s third pole position of the season, and is the first time he has scored back-to back poles since the end of 2014.
Conditions in practice on Friday plus a scary crash for Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz Jr. on Saturday meant that the field headed into qualifying almost blind in terms of setup and car balance, but Rosberg was pleased with what he achieved.
“It was a tricky session today as we were not able to practise a lot yesterday,” Rosberg explained. “We had to guess what the right set up for this track will be.
“But we nailed it and had a nearly perfect lap in my first run in Q3. So I’m quite pleased with that.
“I’m in the best possible position for tomorrow, which is great. I really hope for a clean race, it will be a great battle with Lewis.”
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff praised Rosberg for his consistently quick display in practice and qualifying, but believes that the lack of practice running will also have an impact on Sunday’s race.
“A great job from Nico to take a second pole position in a row; he has been quick all weekend and kept that going through qualifying to take P1,” Wolff said.
“For the race, it will be a bit of a journey into the unknown because we have not had much running this weekend. This track is tough on the rear tires and everybody will be watching the tire degradation carefully.
“We’re starting from the best possible position but we need to take everything one step at a time.”
The Russian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 6:30am ET on Sunday.