Nico Rosberg claimed his best ever qualifying position in a rain-soaked Sepang and will start on the front row, just behind Mark Webber, in the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Rosberg’s Mercedes teammate, seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, will start from eighth.
In the tough conditions, Rosberg was understandably very happy with his qualifying effort. “I'm really pleased with my first front row start and it's great for me, the whole team and PETRONAS to have such a good qualifying result in Sepang for one of our home races. It was very difficult out there today and hard to keep it on the road at times. My run in Q3 was definitely my best of the day and I put in a good time on the first quick lap. By the second lap, the tyres started to degrade so it just wasn't possible to go any quicker from there. As soon as we went out, I thought intermediates were the way to go and maybe I should have come in but in the end it worked out well for us. I’m confident that we can have a strong race from here tomorrow, if it is wet or dry, and I'm looking forward to it.”
Schumacher felt he should have done better and blamed tyre wear for his poor grid position. “I am obviously a little disappointed with my result today as it was evident from the earlier qualifying sessions that we looked pretty good and I clearly could have achieved more. On my last run in Q3, I wanted to secure a lap time and then go for the second lap but after I finished my first quick lap, the tyres were already gone so I could not go for it anymore. Though it is good to know the limits of the wet tyres for tomorrow, now I have to concentrate fully on the race. Congratulations to Nico today for scoring our first front row qualifying result.”
Ross Brawn was obviously very pleased with Mercedes best grid position of the season so far, especially as it came at their title sponsor’s home race. “An excellent performance from Nico today to achieve his first front row grid start in what were very challenging conditions for all of the drivers. In these situations, it is important to keep a cool and calm head and I'm very pleased with how the team worked together to ensure that we competed in all three sessions. It was a bit close on occasion but we reacted well and the drivers did the most important job of keeping the car on the track.
“In Q3, Nico had a great first lap to achieve his time for second position, however the wet tyres degraded very quickly and Michael suffered particularly on his second quick lap and was not able to improve. It's very pleasing to have achieved our best grid position of the season here in Sepang for PETRONAS's home race.”
Mercedes’ Norbert Haug commented on the mixed grid that qualifying had produced, and was also very pleased to see five germans in the top eight grid slots. “Today was a qualifying session where anything was possible and we saw some surprising results like three World Champions starting the race from 17th, 19th and 20th positions. Michael did the best job amongst the Champions finishing in eighth place whilst Nico was superb in posting the fastest time of the drivers on wet tyres in Q3 and finishing the session in second position on the front row. Michael decided to do a 'safe' lap and wanted to push hard on the lap afterwards but the wet tyres unfortunately only lasted one lap at their peak.
“I am particularly pleased that five German drivers finished this thrilling and challenging qualifying session in the top eight. All of them have, in one form or another, been supported by Mercedes-Benz during their junior careers, be it in karting like Nico and sportcars like Michael, or in the Formula 3 Euro Series. Well done to all of them! It gives everybody in our team great pleasure to start from the front row for the PETRONAS Malaysian Grand Prix and our target is to achieve a similar result tomorrow.”