Nico Rosberg secured pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday but admitted that the weekend has not been plain sailing for either himself or his Mercedes AMG PETRONAS team.
The German secured his sixth pole position of the season by 0.149 seconds from the Red Bull of Max Verstappen despite struggling for pace during practice, particularly on the Supersoft Pirelli tyre that all drivers used during Q3.
Rosberg was one of four drivers to make it through into the top ten shootout on the Soft tyre, which should give him an advantage of a longer stint length at the start but he feels could leave him vulnerable to attack from the Supersoft-shod Verstappen at the start.
Rosberg also feels team-mate Lewis Hamilton could yet still be a factor in the race despite starting at the back of the field after multiple engine penalties.
“We had a difficult weekend until Qualifying,” admitted Rosberg. “Especially, this morning we were thinking that we were off the pace a bit. So I was really happy to grab pole today.
“The Red Bulls were quickest on the long runs on Friday, so we need to be at our best to beat them. The tyres are a big challenge in the heat here this weekend. The degradation is very high.
“My disadvantage at the start is that I have a harder tyre with lower grip, so Max should get off the line quicker on the Supersoft. I reckon that, with some luck and a maybe a Safety Car, Lewis can climb up to the top very quickly, so he can’t be ruled out either.
“In any case, I’m pleased with my qualifying and looking forward to tomorrow. It will be an exciting and intense race.”