Nico Rosberg threw pole position away in the final turn of his qualifying lap according to Paddy Lowe. “We can see he [Rosberg] lost quite a lot of time in the final corner, because he was up until that point. He just sort of lost it at the last moment”.
The final qualifying session for Mercedes did not go according to plan. “We expected the circuit to be improving through the session, the natural thing with the water draining away, but actually Lewis got the pole with his first lap, which should have been a trial run, but it was a great lap.”
Paddy Lowe denied that the team failed to get the cars well positioned for their final run, which saw Rosberg resist his team mate at turn 7, just after Hamilton had gone purple on his final flying lap.
“You’ve got to be a bit more philosophical when you’ve come through a wet session,” Paddy commented.
When asked about the threat of Sebastian Vettel from the outside of the front row, he replied: “I think it’ll make for some excitement, how it’ll pan out I don’t know. Hopefully we will see some overtaking. Tomorrow is the competition.”
Vettel was in P2 last year when driving for Red Bull and when asked could he win the race, he replied, “I think yes, we can, but it depends on a lot of things that I cannot tell you now.
“As you saw today, there is rain in the air, if it comes at the right moment for you, it can be quite good but it can work against you too. Our race pace looks decent, but we have to be realistic.
“Mercedes has an advantage which hasn’t just disappeared. It is still there, so we have to look after ourselves, then we’ll see.”
Kimi was bitterly disappointed on missing out on Q3. Having shown Vettel the way for much of the weekend, the Finn would have been hoping to outqualify his new teammate.
Raikkonen was in a Sauber/Mercedes sandwich as the cars dashed out to beat the rain as Q2 began. He finished 11th, whilst Ericsson ahead of him and Hamilton both qualified.
Kimi appeared to make a late move of Ericsson approaching the final hairpin corner, diving off line only to have to slot in behind the Sauber as they entered the corner. It was here his time was lost.
But Raikkonen saw it differently. “Obviously we got it wrong and should have been out earlier; That is how it is.
“I’ve been pretty happy with the car, yesterday and this morning, and the laptime is thereabouts. I expected to be strong in qualifying, but this kind of thing is wasted.’
“It’s part of the game, but it’s disappointing. To be quite good speed-wise, then this happens.”
Though if the race remains dry, Raikkonen may be in the ideal position to get the hard tyres out of the way at the beginning.
This could see Kimi a counter strategy and make a late dash on a new set of the softer tyres towards the end of the race when the leaders should be running the harder compound.