Nico Rosberg was left feeling “annoyed” after seeing Mercedes teammate and Formula 1 championship rival Lewis Hamilton beat him to pole position for the United States Grand Prix on Saturday afternoon.
Rosberg arrived in Austin, Texas leading the drivers’ standings by 33 points with four races remaining in the 2016 season.
The German scored pole position at the Circuit of The Americas in 2014 and 2015, but was denied a three-peat by Hamilton in the dying stages of qualifying on Saturday.
The two drivers matched each other for pace through all three legs of qualifying, with Rosberg’s final effort giving him provisional pole ahead of Hamilton.
However, Hamilton was able to hit back and ultimately go two-tenths of a second faster, handing him his ninth pole position of the year.
After the session, Rosberg was very matter-of-fact about his qualifying, saying that he was happy with his own lap.
“Nothing specific,” Rosberg said when asked where he had fallen short.
“Sector 1, Lewis was just quicker. Pretty simple.
“Good lap I did nonetheless. Annoyed when Lewis came over the line, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.
“Nevertheless, qualifying isn’t all-important. From P2, we still have a good chance tomorrow.”
Rosberg’s recent surge in points has been largely down to his strength off the line, with Hamilton dropping back in Italy and Japan, easing the pressure on his teammate in the battle for victory.
The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and the NBC Sports app from 2:30pm ET on Sunday.