2014 JAPANESE GRAND PRIX – QUALIFYING
Nico Rosberg claimed pole position for tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton second, to complete a front-row lockout for the team. Williams F1 on row two.
• Nico Rosberg’s 12th career F1 pole position puts him level with David Coulthard and Gerhard Berger on the all-time list
• Lewis Hamilton’s 2nd place is his 68th career front-row start and his 11th in 2014
• This marks the team’s 14th pole position of 2014 and the eighth front-row lockout of the year so far
• Tyre usage during qualifying was as follows for both drivers: Q1, Prime; Q2, Option; Q3, Option/OptionNico Rosberg
That was one of the best qualifying sessions we did this year. 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. Again I need to thank the incredible fans here. They wait for hours to see us drivers and give us little gifts. That gives us a very special feeling.
It wasn’t the best of sessions today but it was a decent recovery considering the crash in FP3. 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.
The goal was to be third and fourth behind the Mercedes so it’s good to have accomplished that. The gap to the top two was actually closer than we had expected so it’s positive to have closed that. Suzuka isn’t an easy circuit, and the chance of a typhoon tomorrow makes it even harder. I think we still have a chance to get a podium position regardless of the weather.
That was a fantastic battle between two drivers competing at the very highest level. Every day, somebody asks us whether the momentum is shifting one way or the other, but the reality is that they are both working so hard to find every little advantage, and trying to get the maximum out of every session. They were watching video replays of their laps during qualifying, analysing telemetry overlays as well, and it’s just fantastic to see this level of pure, intense competition between them. Nico did a perfect job today and improved with every single run, finishing it off with a very strong pole position. Lewis was compromised by his accident this morning and something like this will always be sitting at the back of your mind. But he still will start from the front row, so it was a good recovery from him. Looking to tomorrow, we are expecting rain coming in and that will give a very different picture to today. I guess we can expect one of those typical Japan races with lots of Safety Cars and exciting moment. We’d rather keep it quiet like today – but we don’t get to choose!