Nico Rosberg achieved his best ever grid placing today in a rain-soaked and eventful qualifying session for the 2010 PETRONAS Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit as he put his MGP W01 on the front row of the grid in second position. Team-mate Michael Schumacher qualified in eighth place after the rain-interrupted Q3.

With rain arriving prior to the start of qualifying, Nico and Michael waited in the garage for the opening minutes of Q1. They completed one run on intermediate tyres and headed straight back into the pits for wets as the rain intensified, leaving their best laps quick enough to go through in 16th and 14th positions respectively. With a lessening of the rain, intermediates were the right choice for Q2 where Nico and Michael finished in 5th and 10th places to progress. Q3 began in heavy rain which quickly brought out the red flag. Once the action had resumed, Nico and Michael completed three flying laps on wet tyres, setting their quickest times on the first lap before the tyres began to degrade. Nico had a great lap for second place, bringing the first front row grid slot for the MERCEDES GP PETRONAS team, with Michael finishing in eighth position.

1 M. Webber Red Bull 1:49.327
2 N. Rosberg Mercedes 1:50.673 +0:01.346
3 S. Vettel Red Bull 1:50.789 +0:01.462
4 A. Sutil Force India 1:50.914 +0:01.587
5 N. Hülkenberg Williams 1:51.001 +0:01.674
6 R. Kubica Renault 1:51.051 +0:01.724
7 R. Barrichello Williams 1:51.511 +0:02.184
8 M. Schumacher Mercedes 1:51.717 +0:02.390
9 K. Kobayashi Sauber 1:51.767 +0:02.440
10 V. Liuzzi Force India 1:52.254 +0:02.927
11 V. Petrov Renault 1:48.760
12 P. de la Rosa Sauber 1:48.771 +0:00.011
13 S. Buemi Toro Rosso 1:49.207 +0:00.447
14 J. Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1:49.464 +0:00.704
15 H. Kovalainen Lotus 1:52.270 +0:03.510
16 T. Glock Virgin 1:52.520 +0:03.760
17 J. Button McLaren
18 J. Trulli Lotus 1:52.884
19 F. Alonso Ferrari 1:53.044 +0:00.160
20 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:53.050 +0:00.166
21 F. Massa Ferrari 1:53.283 +0:00.399
22 K. Chandhok HRT 1:56.299 +0:03.415
23 B. Senna HRT 1:57.269 +0:04.385
24 L. di Grassi Virgin 1:59.977 +0:07.093

NICO ROSBERG
“I’m really pleased with my first front row start and it’s great for me, the whole team and PETRONAS to have such a good qualifying result in Sepang for one of our home races. It was very difficult out there today and hard to keep it on the road at times. My run in Q3 was definitely my best of the day and I put in a good time on the first quick lap. By the second lap, the tyres started to degrade so it just wasn’t possible to go any quicker from there. As soon as we went out, I thought intermediates were the way to go and maybe I should have come in but in the end it worked out well for us. I’m confident that we can have a strong race from here tomorrow, if it is wet or dry, and I’m looking forward to it.”

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER
“I am obviously a little disappointed with my result today as it was evident from the earlier qualifying sessions that we looked pretty good and I clearly could have achieved more. On my last run in Q3, I wanted to secure a lap time and then go for the second lap but after I finished my first quick lap, the tyres were already gone so I could not go for it anymore. Though it is good to know the limits of the wet tyres for tomorrow, now I have to concentrate fully on the race. Congratulations to Nico today for scoring our first front row qualifying result.”

ROSS BRAWN
“An excellent performance from Nico today to achieve his first front row grid start in what were very challenging conditions for all of the drivers. In these situations, it is important to keep a cool and calm head and I’m very pleased with how the team worked together to ensure that we competed in all three sessions. It was a bit close on occasion but we reacted well and the drivers did the most important job of keeping the car on the track. In Q3, Nico had a great first lap to achieve his time for second position, however the wet tyres degraded very quickly and Michael suffered particularly on his second quick lap and was not able to improve. It’s very pleasing to have achieved our best grid position of the season here in Sepang for PETRONAS’s home race.”

NORBERT HAUG
“Today was a qualifying session where anything was possible and we saw some surprising results like three World Champions starting the race from 17th, 19th and 20th positions. Michael did the best job amongst the Champions finishing in eighth place whilst Nico was superb in posting the fastest time of the drivers on wet tyres in Q3 and finishing the session in second position on the front row. Michael decided to do a ‘safe’ lap and wanted to push hard on the lap afterwards but the wet tyres unfortunately only lasted one lap at their peak. I am particularly pleased that five German drivers finished this thrilling and challenging qualifying session in the top eight. All of them have, in one form or another, been supported by Mercedes-Benz during their junior careers, be it in karting like Nico and sportcars like Michael, or in the Formula 3 Euro Series. Well done to all of them! It gives everybody in our team great pleasure to start from the front row for the PETRONAS Malaysian Grand Prix and our target is to achieve a similar result tomorrow.”

Source: Mercedes GP