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Rosberg Starts Second In India
Nico Rosberg will start alongside Sebastian Vettel on the front row in India, despite admitting that he was pushing the limits with the Mercedes W04.
Rosberg edged out teammate Lewis Hamilton, who starts third.
“Coming here I knew it was going to be trying to be best of the rest, and managed to do that really well today with second place,” said Rosberg. “And even getting Mark [Webber], because he’s on a different strategy. So, yeah, I’m pleased with that. It’s really been a tough weekend because we really just pushed the limits, completely on everything, to try to extract that tenth or two more out of the car.
“I think up to now it’s been successful. It’s been very, very difficult, on a knife’s edge all the time but for now it’s worked, it seems. We’re a step forward from where we were in recent races and that’s good to see. But still a long race tomorrow.”
A priority for Mercedes is to score more points than Ferrari, and with Fernando Alonso starting on mediums it could be an interesting fight.
“Well, we’ve been a little bit quicker, I feel, until now, the whole weekend, but of course that strategy is a threat, because there’s not that much difference between the two strategies,” Rosberg said. “So, for sure, we need to keep an eye on them.”
Webber Takes Gamble On Prime Tire
Mark Webber has given himself a real shot at winning the Indian GP by qualifying fourth on the medium prime tire.
With those ahead expected to stop early when their soft tires give up, Webber has the chance to run a long first stint.
“We thought it was worth trying something a little bit different,” said Webber. “We probably thought we wouldn’t end up on the second row, to be honest, I thought we’d be a bit further back than that, but in the end it turned out to be a pretty good session for us.
“Not easy to manage the primes obviously when you just get a bit of a look at them in Q3, but in the end we all did a pretty good job and didn’t leave too much out there. So we’re in a good position to capitalize on a different approach, because we know the option tire is not exactly a great piece of work.
“So we’ll see what happens with those guys, and we’ll do our thing. Obviously, I’ve got to put that tire on at some stage in the race. It’ll look quite exciting early in the race, but I’ve still got to get that tire out of the way at some stage.”
Webber acknowledged that he might have a difficult time holding position at the start, when he’ll have less grip than those around him.
“We know we won’t have the grip initially on the first lap compared to the other guys, so we’ll stay out of strife hopefully, and we’ll get into the race from there. We know the option tire is very high maintenance from lap three or four onwards.”
‘It’s Been A Tough Weekend’ Says Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton starts the Indian GP from third place, but the Brit was in a low-key mood after a qualifying session that clearly left him disappointed.
“It’s been a tough weekend for us,” said Hamilton. “Congratulations to Sebastian (Vettel). It’s obvious that that’s some serious pace that they have, especially with Webber on the primes just behind us. But we’ve been pushing, as Nico said, as hard as we can. We really want to get a great result this weekend.
“Strategy is going to play a huge part but I was a little bit surprised to be where we are but generally, bit by bit, adjusting the setup and everything, we got a reasonable balance and hopefully tomorrow we can push together to try and stay ahead of the rest.”
Hamilton played down the fact that he lost out to teammate Nico Rosberg.
“It doesn’t really matter at the end of the day,” Hamilton said. “Nico did a great job — he’s been strong all weekend — and on my side, I’ve struggled a little bit through this weekend. I struggled a little bit with something different on the car this weekend which Nico had had experience of seeing maybe in the past.
“I came to grips with it really quite quickly at the end and I’m really happy with the result and the lap time that I was able to get. There’s always a little bit of time everywhere but we’ll try and push these guys as hard as we can in the race, obviously. They’re in another world but we’ll try to stay ahead of the rest.”