For the fourth time in succession and for the eighth time in 2014, the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS team locked out the front row of the grid, and it was Nico Rosberg who took top spot ahead of Lewis Hamilton for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.
Rosberg took his eighth pole position of the season and the twelfth of his career, and believed it was one of the best qualifying sessions he has had in 2014 so far. He feels prepared for the race come rain or shine, and admits to loving battling with his team-mate.
“That was one of the best qualifying sessions we did this year,” insisted Rosberg. “The team did an incredible job to give me a brilliant car. It was so enjoyable to drive this wonderful track with that Silver Arrow. The balance was perfect, so I was able to push a lot and go to the limits in the corners.
“It’s always a great battle against Lewis; we push each other very much through the sessions. Sometime he finds a tenth there, then I find a tenth here. That’s why I enjoy the situation so much. For tomorrow I think we are well prepared. Even in the wet our car is very quick as we have seen in Spa this year. So I definitely look forward to the race here in Japan.”
After crashing during free practice three earlier in the day, Hamilton was happy to have recovered sufficiently to qualify second but was disappointed to miss out on pole position to his team-mate. He is unsure about the role the weather will play on Sunday, but admits his excitement for the race.
“It wasn’t the best of sessions today but it was a decent recovery considering the crash in FP3,” admitted Hamilton. “I just overcooked it this morning and the team did a fantastic job to put the car back together. Our mechanics are the best; they work so hard to get everything perfect. I feel good but I just wasn’t quick enough today.
“Nico did a great job, he looked very quick, particularly in Turn Eight, but I don’t feel like I’ve quite had the pace all weekend. I’m still second and we’ve seen races where we’ve come back from further than that, so I’m excited for tomorrow. I’ve heard there’s some rain coming, it’s going to make it very hard but it makes it more of a lottery.”