Mercedes' Nico Rosberg stays cautious after taking second pole position in a row
Nico to start Sunday's race on front row alongside team-mate Hamilton
By Pete Gill. Last Updated: 12/05/13 9:07am
Mindful of his travails in the Bahrain GP, Nico Rosberg says he will enjoy his pole position for Sunday's Spanish GP "with caution" after once again out-qualifying Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Three weeks ago, severe tyre wear saw Rosberg go backwards through the field after securing his first pole position in a year. As a result of that painful reversal, there was a certain reticence as the German celebrated his position at the front of an unexpected Mercedes lock-out on Saturday afternoon at the Circuit de Catalunya.
"It all went perfectly," he reflected, "but of course I have to be a bit cautious after what happened in Bahrain. It's nice, but it should be enjoyed with caution."
Rosberg, who eventually finished ninth three weeks ago, told Sky Sports F1 that he was surprised by the result, given that Mercedes have been concentrating their efforts on Sunday.
"I was surprised, I didn't expect to be that quick because we've worked a little bit towards the race. But it always seems to be strong come qualifying. Even this morning we were a bit behind on pace, so I didn't expect it," he said.
"Our last race was a bit of a struggle - going from first to ninth was not enjoyable - so that's the big challenge we have. I'm confident we'll be better, but there's still some way to go to become the best in the races.
"The goal needs to be just a little bit better than in Bahrain, to make progress and move forward."
Friday afternoon's race simulations suggests that Rosberg's caution is well advised, with the W04 seemingly still over-burdening the fragile Pirelli tyres to a greater extent than its competitors.
Rosberg explained that, unlike in the searing temperatures of Bahrain where thermal degradation was the limiting factor, Mercedes have tyre graining to contend with in Barcelona.
"Everybody has been working very hard back in the factory to understand our problems. It's an ongoing issue which is very complex and we were just a bit behind on that in Bahrain, but I'm sure we've caught up now," he added.
"But here there are different issues - it's the graining on the tyres which is the main issue and so we're trying to catch up on that situation. I think we've improved things, so I'm a little bit more confident for tomorrow but the race is going to be a whole different thing because the tyres are a big challenge."