Nico Rosberg was left ruing two mistakes during the final part of Formula 1 qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix on Saturday after missing out on pole position at Sepang.
Rosberg arrived in Malaysia leading the F1 drivers’ championship for the first time since the middle of July following a string of victories in Belgium, Italy and Singapore.
Rosberg led the opening practice session on Friday, but struggled to match the pace of Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton through FP2 and FP3 before falling behind once again in qualifying.
An error on his first Q3 lap left Rosberg fifth on the provisional grid before rallying with his second effort to lift himself onto the front row, albeit with another mistake at the final corner to finish four-tenths of a second behind Hamilton.
“Lewis’ lap was very quick so it was always going to be difficult. I would have come close but unfortunately I had a mistake in the last corner,” Rosberg said.
“Something just wasn’t going right there in that last corner, I just couldn’t get the settings right, I was always getting an oversteer moment into there.
“But anyway, second place, we’ll live with that now. As we know from this year, second place does not mean that victory is not possible tomorrow. We’ve seen that so many times. Still very optimistic for tomorrow.”
The Malaysian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 2am ET on Sunday.