Nico Rosberg fully expecting Lewis Hamilton to recover from qualy error in British GP
Points leader credits communication with his crew for last-gasp pole; German reveals he nearly didn't complete a final Q3 lap
By James Galloway at Silverstone. Last Updated: 05/07/14 5:59pm
Watch as Nico Rosberg passes a slowing Lewis Hamilton in Q3 to secure front spot on the grid for tomorrow's Grand Prix.
Nico Rosberg is still expecting a battle for victory with Lewis Hamilton in Sunday’s British GP despite the title-chasing pair’s latest contrasting fortunes in qualifying.
A fortnight after an Austrian GP in which mistakes by Hamilton in Q3 meant six places separated the two Mercedes drivers on the grid, Silverstone polesitter Rosberg will start five places ahead of his team-mate at the Briton’s home event after Hamilton incorrectly chose to abort his final lap of a thrilling qualifying session in changeable conditions.
Rosberg already has a 29-point advantage in the championship and his fourth pole of 2014 increases the likelihood that he will head to his own home event in Germany in a fortnight’s time in an even more secure position at the top of the standings.
However, Rosberg denied the events of Silverstone qualifying would prove a seminal moment in his and Hamilton’s title duel, and predicted it wouldn’t take his team-mate long to clear the five cars between them on the grid.
“No I don’t [think it’s decisive], it’s just qualifying,” Rosberg said in his press briefing with reporters on Saturday afternoon. “With the car that we have I expect that Lewis is going to be able to fight through quickly, so it will still be a battle between the two of us.
“But of course it’s one step closer to being able to win Silverstone and every race is important at the moment. Every race I need to try and extend my gap in the championship and that’s what I’m here to do.”
Despite holding provisional pole position heading into the final runs and having outpaced his team-mate for much of the weekend to that point, Hamilton’s decision not to continue his last Q3 lap proved to be a major miscalculation given the drivers who did continue to the end of the lap found up to four seconds of time in the fast-drying final sector.
In a qualifying hour dogged by irregular rain showers of varying intensity, Rosberg admitted he initially thought about not leaving the pitlane for a second Q3 attempt at all before some words of inspiration from a sporting legend came to him.
“It was a really close decision,” the German driver explained.
“Just everybody together, we made a group decision. It was the right call definitely. The tendency was to stay in the garage and then a Michael Jordan quote came into my mind which was ‘you miss 100 per cent of the shots you don’t take’. So I kind of said that to the team – what’s the downside?
“Go out and at least there’s a small chance; if we stay in the garage there’s zero chance. So I was for going out and they thought about it and made the call to go out.”
With Hamilton directly ahead of him encountering traffic as they prepared to complete their final outlaps, Rosberg was very nearly timed out of what turned into his pole-winning effort.
“I crossed the line in Lewis’s gearbox because I had to be there because it went red, so I had to be as fast as possible to be able to do that last lap,” he said.
“As I crossed the line it instantly went red so it was a very, very close call.”
Watch the 2014 British GP live on Sky Sports F1. Our extensive coverage of the Silverstone race weekend continues on race day from 11.30am on Sunday.