Nico Rosberg called Mercedes Formula 1 teammate and title rival Lewis Hamilton’s pole lap in Mexico Grand Prix qualifying “brilliant” before admitting he had been struggling for pace through the race weekend so far.
As Hamilton swept to pole with relative comfort, Rosberg left it late to rise up to second in Q3, having rarely featured towards the top of the timesheets before in the weekend.
The German said he was content with his performance and result in qualifying, albeit not overawed.
“Brilliant is two and a half tenths from Lewis?” Rosberg asked when his final lap in qualifying was called “brilliant”.
“Lewis’ lap was brilliant, not so much mine.
“I put it together when it counted in the end. I’m relatively pleased with that to definitely make sure I’m on the front row.
“Even though it’s not pole position, of course, it gives me a great chance tomorrow anyway.
“As we’ve seen this year, pole position isn’t everything on Sundays, so for sure there are still some opportunities.
“I’m going to try the best I can tomorrow and try and get that win in Mexico. That would be awesome.”
Rosberg can mathematically clinch his first F1 drivers’ title on Sunday should he win the race and Hamilton finish 10th or lower.
The Mexican Grand Prix is live on NBC and the NBC Sports app from 2:30pm ET on Sunday.