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Nico Rosberg takes first pole after more than 100 attempts // No longer in the statistics for a driver without a pole position

Published by Christine

Nico Rosberg took a storming pole position today, securing his first P1 grid slot since he joined Formula One in 2006. Mercedes have shown great pace in qualifying so far this season, and it seemed as though it would only be a matter of time before one of the two drivers managed to top the times on Saturday, when it matters. Michael Schumacher led a practice session in China this weekend, but it was his teammate that posted the fastest time during the top ten shootout in qualifying - by a significant margin.

Rosberg gives his day the double thumbs up
Rosberg gives his day the double thumbs upCredit: Daimler AG

Rosberg's 1:35.121 was over half a second faster than second place Lewis Hamilton, who was in turn just seven thousandths ahead of Schumacher. Hamilton takes a five place grid penalty due to a gearbox change, which turns it into a Mercedes 1-2. Much is made of the fact that this is their first pole position since 1955 - which is technically accurate, but a bit misleading, if you ask me.

Nico was so convinced of his pole position time that he climbed from the car before the final qualifying session had ended, and proceeded to walk to the weighbridge. It left the team to celebrate without him, whilst he waited for congratulations from every driver who also had to go and get themselves weighed.

Firstly it was a strange feeling because I was watching the end of Q3 from the FIA garage as we decided to save a set of option tyres for the race, and I couldn't do anything but watch! Seeing that I finished at the top of the timesheets and with half a second in hand made me the happiest man today.

- Nico Rosberg

Team tactics

As you can imagine, the Mercedes outfit are pretty happy! They know they don't necessarily have the race pace to keep the position tomorrow, but you can't ask for more than starting from the front of the grid.

It was an exceptional qualifying session for us and I am very pleased with the way the whole team worked to achieve it. Congratulations to both drivers, but especially Nico on a stunning lap which earned him his first pole position. It is a great boost for everyone, and gives lots of encouragement to the team here at the track, in Brackley and Brixworth.

- Ross Brawn

Even Michael Schumacher, who sounded mildly startled on the team radio when told of Rosberg's time, managed to congratulate his teammate. He must have wanted to be the driver delivering Mercedes' first pole position since their comeback, but he still had kind words to say.

This really is a special day for our Mercedes-Benz team, having two Silver Arrows starting from the front row of the Chinese Grand Prix. It's a great result, and I am very happy for everybody. Congratulations to Nico, he achieved his first pole position with a just fabulous lap. I can easily respect he did the better job today, and I am happy for him.

- Michael Schumacher

It's not really on the same level as the surprise Nico Hülkenberg pole for Williams in Brazil 2010, but it's a great achievement for Nico Rosberg, well deserved after so many years of working his way up. I wonder if we will see more of these Mercedes pole positions as the season progresses.