The Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS team secured their record-equalling seventeenth pole position of the season, with Nico Rosberg leading Lewis Hamilton to the teams’ eleventh front row lockout of the year by just 0.033s.
Rosberg’s time of 1:10.023s in Q3 was also the fastest lap ever seen at Interlagos, beating the long standing record held by Rubens Barrichello in 2004 by more than six-tenths of a second.
Rosberg claimed the inaugural Pole Position trophy by taking his tenth pole position of the season in Brazil, which came after the German ended fastest in all three practice sessions ahead of qualifying. He is aiming to make up for the disappointment of losing the race in Austin last weekend to Hamilton, and hopes to close the gap in the championship to his team-mate.
“I’m very happy with the weekend so far,” insisted Rosberg. “The last run in qualifying was not my best but it was good enough to start from pole. And I’m pleased to start from the clean side of the grid, which should be a good thing for me.
“With the team I’ve reviewed why Austin didn’t work out perfectly for me and we’ve done a race simulation already this morning with high fuel levels in the car, so I learned a few things that I can improve and am quite confident I can do a better job in this race.
“Of course, I need a bit of help from my team-mate to make the World Championship happen. But I’m still highly motivated and will continue to push as hard as I can all the way.”
Hamilton qualified second, and like his team-mate believed he could have gone even faster had he strung a perfect lap together. He acknowledged that he has been chasing Rosberg all weekend, but feels he has been getting closer, and it is the race that is the most important part of the weekend.
“I’m probably happier with second than I’ve ever been and I’m really pleased with the way we qualified as a team,” said Hamilton. “It was so, so close out there and my lap wasn’t perfect, so I know there’s more time to find and where I can find it. I love being right on the limit, racing close and having a good battle – that’s what Formula One is all about.
“Nico has been quick all weekend and I’ve been chasing and chasing – but what’s important in my mind is that I’ve been improving with every session and I’ve found a good balance.
“Tomorrow is where the points are awarded and anything can happen at Interlagos as we’ve seen in the past. I’m looking forward to a good race and hopefully another strong result for the team.”