- ROSBERG – ‘Relishing’ Hamilton battle
- BOTTAS – Wants podium
- ALONSO – Down on power in Quali
Nico Rosberg says he has no qualms about taking on team-mate and friend Lewis Hamilton after securing pole position for the Bahrain Grand Priz, instead looking excited about the ‘massive battle’ he expects the Englishman to put up in the fight for victory.
The Mercedes duo are all but assured of locking out the top two positions if they remain devoid of mechanical failure and other detrimental forces, and the German believes he has what it takes to claim his second win of the year and extend his championship lead.
“It really is a great feeling. I come to the track knowing that I can be second on a bad day and first on a good day.” said Rosberg.
“It’s a massively intense battle with Lewis because he is extremely quick and I have to get everything all right to be ahead. We are pushing each other to the limit. We need to be cautious, but I’m feeling very confident.”
Valtteri Bottas will start 3rd behind the rampant Mercedes pair and expressed his belief post-qualifying that today will be the day Williams finally deliver on their pre-season promise.
“I think it’s [a podium] a possibility. I mean, you never know what’s going to happen in the race but we have the pace to fight for the podium. It’s a fact Mercedes is too quick but we have a good chance to be best of the rest.”
“It’s a good feeling to know that this qualifying position is true pace. It’s completely different to Canada [last year], where we knew nearly everyone behind us was quicker. So now we know we can really race tomorrow and it’s a nice feeling, because we’re here to race for good positions.”
One man not sharing Bottas and Rosberg’s enthusiasm in the evening was Fernando Alonso, who qualified 10th after an engine problem afflicted his Ferrari F310 throughout qualifying.
“It was not a clean qualifying, unfortunately I was losing power through the whole of qualifying.” said the Spaniard.
“Every lap that we went out the car seemed to be slower and slower on the straights so we need to check if there is something damaged or if there is something we could do better tomorrow maybe in the floor of the car or whatever or if there was something in the electric motor that was not perfectly combined.”
Alonso will start from 9th following Daniel Ricciardo’s 10 place grid penalty; reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel will start right behind him.