The Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS team took their eighth pole position from nine 2014 races at Silverstone, with Nico Rosberg claiming his fourth pole position in changeable conditions to match his team-mate Lewis Hamilton’s number of poles for the year. Hamilton ended the day sixth fastest after aborting his final qualifying lap.
For Championship leader Nico Rosberg, it was a gamble to continue his lap after initially seeming to be slower in the first two sectors, but with the final sector drying up considerably, he was able to improve by over four seconds to take pole by 1.620s from Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel.
“It was so tricky out there this afternoon with the rain and the conditions changing so quickly,” said Rosberg. “It’s very satisfying to get everything right in these conditions and be able to come out on top. Thanks to the team today for guiding me through the hour so well.
“My last flying lap was difficult because we were very tight for time and I was stuck right up behind Lewis. Luckily he didn’t finish his lap but I remembered that we were losing three or four seconds in the last corners when it was very wet so there was an opportunity to make a real improvement and that I should keep going.
“It’s a great opportunity to start the race from pole and I’ll give it everything to take the win tomorrow.”
For Lewis Hamilton, he missed out on improving his time after aborting his final lap of the session, and admitted it was his choice and that he regrets giving up the lap so early. He knows he will have to come through the field like he did two weeks ago in Austria when he climbed from ninth to fourth on the opening lap to have a chance of victory.
“I made a mistake today and pulled out of the lap when I should have kept going,” said Hamilton. “It was a tough qualifying with the changing conditions and we got through most of it really well, until the most important part. It was my decision, a bad call, and that decided my qualifying.
“I’m so sorry to have disappointed the fans here today as their support has been fantastic and I’ll do what I can to have a great race for them tomorrow. I need to have a start like I had in Austria two weeks ago and then do my best to get back to the front; you never know what might happen. It’s difficult when you’re just out of the car to express your emotions and see the positive but I’ll go back to the team and my family now and we’ll build up for tomorrow from there.”
Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Toto Wolff had mixed emotions after qualifying. He praised Rosberg for taking pole position but admitted disappointment with Hamilton only ending up sixth. Wolff is confident that he will see his two drivers challenging for the win on Sunday.
“It’s a case of mixed feelings this afternoon after qualifying,” said Wolff. “I’m delighted for Nico that he got pole right at the end: he had nothing to lose, because he was P2 after his first run, and got the job done in the final sector of the lap where he was able to make up over four seconds compared to his previous lap.
“On the other hand, I’m really disappointed for Lewis – he had done a great job to lead the times, then just thought it was too wet to improve and decided to abort. It’s easy to be smart in hindsight but these are split-second judgement calls and today was a bad day at the office for him. The way I know Lewis, though, he will take that disappointment and make it into extra motivation for the race.
“We seem to have strong pace in wet and dry conditions, so I am sure we will see our two cars fighting for the lead sooner rather than later tomorrow afternoon.”