Brazilian Grand Prix 2014: Nico Rosberg edges out Lewis Hamilton to snatch pole

Mercedes team-mates renew close tussle for title in Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix

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The Independent Online

Nico Rosberg has had the upper hand over his Mercedes team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, all weekend here at Interlagos, and took pole position for a race he must win.

The track remained dry after the anticipated storm had blown itself out in the early hours, and having set the fastest time in all three practice sessions for the Brazilian Grand Prix Rosberg continued in that vein. But Hamilton was close throughout as the Williams duo of home hero Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas also got in on the act.

On their final runs Hamilton improved from 1min 10.195sec to 1: 10.056, but having pipped him earlier with 1:10.166, Rosberg did it again by 0.033sec. Rosberg has converted on two of his 10 2014 poles into wins, but though he said the familiar adrenaline and tension were still there, he looked composed. “I’m just going for it, “ he said. “I’ve learned from [the US GP in] Austin. I’m good to go!”


Hamilton could finish second to Rosberg both here and in the double-points finale in Abu Dhabi in two weeks’ time and still win his second title, but pledged: “If I have a shot going into Turn One I’m gonna take it. But it’s a long race here and there’ll be a lot of excitement because we still don’t know about the weather. Of course I want to win, so I’ll be working as hard as I can.”

Massa and Bottas will start third and fourth, and Jenson Button reversed his Friday misfortunes to take fifth place in his McLaren on the circuit where he clinched his world championship title in 2009.

“At the moment we’re nowhere,” he said on Friday. “But the car’s definitely better than this. We’ve just got to maximise what we have, and we haven’t done that because we’ve tried a couple of different things on the car for ideas for the future and had a couple of other issues.”

Some of this shortfall was understandable after the time lost on Friday and new parts, but there was an underlying feeling that these factors went only part of the way towards explaining a woeful lack of straight-line speed. Mercedes-engined cars set the fastest straight-line speeds in each sector on Friday, with Bottas’s Williams at 327kph in Sector One, Rosberg’s Mercedes at 258.3 in Sector Two and Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India at 336.9 in Sector Three. Button’s respective speeds were 313, 251.6 and 322, while his team-mate, Kevin Magnussen, clocked 313.4, 252.3 and 323.6.

“We find it quite strange that our straight-line speed is so far off,” a mystified Button had complained on Friday. “We’re not running that much difference in downforce. It’s something we need to solve, because we’re losing a lot of time there.”

McLaren seemed to have found some of the answers yesterday as Button beat Sebastien Vettel’s Red Bull by 0.008sec before what could be his last Brazilian GP.