Will Nico be smiling in Suzuka?
Rosberg will start the Japanese Grand Prix on pole position
N ico Rosberg is in the best possible position to extend his championship advantage over Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton at today’s Japanese Grand Prix where he will start in pole position.
After the German’s battling display last week in Malaysia where he fought back from an early crash to claim third place, Rosberg was desperate to claim the 30th pole of his career.
And with the Mercedes duo once again well clear of their rivals, it was left to Rosberg to edge past Hamilton, finishing just 0.013 seconds ahead of the three-time world champion.
However, the 31-year-old knows that the hard work is still to be done as he attempts to move closer to winning his very first world title.
“It’s been a good weekend so far, I’ve been feeling good out there,” said Rosberg. “The end of qualifying was pretty intense but I had a good feeling. I knew if I get the job done and put in a decent lap then it should be enough. I managed to do a good lap in the end.
“For sure, there’s all the work to be done. I still need to get the job done on the start, then race pace and strategy. We’re feeling good about it and we think we can be quickest.”
Meanwhile, Hamilton was pleased to have made it onto the front row after a difficult week.
The Englishman had been left questioning his own team after seeing another engine blow last week in Malaysia, but was able to demonstrate his speed around the difficult Suzuka track. And be firmly believes that he can get back in the title hunt by securing victory in Japan. “I’m happy with qualifying,” he said “It’s been a weekend of a lot of work, getting the set-up right, some big changes went into qualifying. “Considering that, to be that close, I was really happy with it. I did as well as I could I think. History has shown you don’t have to be on pole to get the win. “Of course, starting on pole is always a good thing, let’s hope the work we’ve been doing on the starts can pay off. Who knows what the weather here is going to do.”
While Mercedes secured another front-row lockout, Kimi Raikkonen qualified third and Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel was fourth. However, he will start in seventh after being hit with a three-place grid penalty after crashing into Rosberg in Malaysia.