Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2014

Rosberg edges Hamilton and clinches pole trophy

2014 Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying

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Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2014Nico Rosberg completed a clean sweep of practice and qualifying sessions as he set pole position for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver took his tenth pole of the season which confirms him as the inaugural winner of the FIA’s Pole Position Trophy.

He bumped back championship rival Lewis Hamilton to second on the grid as Mercedes repelled a late challenge from Williams in Q3.


Against expectations the rain stayed away for qualifying. Less unexpected was the continued absence of four cars this weekend, which meant that as in America only four cars would be eliminated in each stage of qualifying.

Both Lotus drivers fell in Q1, with Pastor Maldonado last of the runners. Maldonado spoiled one lap by out-braking himself at turn one as he overtook Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari. An irate Alonso voiced his displeasure on the radio.

Two drivers who had completed little running on Friday also fell in Q1. Sergio Perez did no laps at all yesterday and failed to make the cut, as did Jean-Eric Vergne who managed just five laps on Friday.

Rosberg picked up where he left off in practice, heading Q1 as he had all three practice sessions, with Hamilton a tenth of a second slower.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

15Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’12.037
16Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Renault1’12.040
17Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’12.076
18Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault1’12.233


As one of two drivers facing a seven-place grid penalty, Daniil Kvyat decided to save tyres rather than attempt setting a time in Q2. That left 13 cars contesting a place in the final top ten shoot-out.

Daniel Ricciardo also opted to save tyre life, making just a single run which proved sufficient to gain himself a place in the final ten. It briefly pushed Sebastian Vettel down to tenth, but he moved up to sixth with his last run, leaving Alonso in danger.

Adrian Sutil, who went off at Juncao on his first run, was the last driver across the line to set a time. But a low battery left him half a second off team mate Esteban Gutierrez, meaning both Sauber drivers were eliminated.

While Hamilton was unable to improve on his time from Q1, Rosberg improved by four-hundredths of a second to head the times once again. Late runs from the Williams pair allowed them to split the two Mercedes drivers.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’11.591
12Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’11.976
13Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari1’12.099
14Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Renault


With all eyes on the battle between Rosberg and Hamilton for pole position, the Williams pair suddenly joined the fray in Q3.

Hamilton was the first to set a time, crossing the line with a 1’10.195. Rosberg took the top time off him but didn’t have as much in hand as he had earlier in the session, pipping Hamilton by less than three-hundredths of a second.

The FW36s were giving away little to the W05s, however. Bottas got within two-tenths of a second of them. Then Massa, harnessing the car’s excellent straight-line speed, set the fastest final sector time to claim third place, less than a tenth of a second off Rosberg’s mark.

The quartet began their final runs in the same order. Hamilton locked a wheel at Bico de Pato, oversteered wide, but still crossed the line with enough time in hand to beat Rosberg’s time. That handed Rosberg an opportunity he wasn’t going to miss – once more there was just three-hundredths of a second in it as he claimed pole position.

The Williams challenge faded at the last: Massa aborted his final attempt despite posting an improvement in the first sector and Bottas had to settle for fourth. Mercedes-powered cars occupied the top five positions, with Button taking fifth.

With the new track surface at Interlagos promoting ever-quicker laps, Rosberg’s pole position time of 1’10.023 is the fastest ever seen at the Brazilian track, albeit two-tenths shy of the all-time track record.

Top ten in Q3

1Nico RosbergMercedes1’10.023
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’10.056
3Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’10.247
4Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’10.305
5Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’10.930
6Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’10.938
7Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes1’10.969
8Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’10.977
9Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault1’11.075
10Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’11.099

2014 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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69 comments on “Rosberg edges Hamilton and clinches pole trophy”

  1. That lockup costed Lewis the pole today. But it should’nt be a big problem as he needs to finish in second place in both the races to win the championship. LH is going to be World Champion this year.

    1. The lock-up was not great but I’m wondering how Nico was quicker on s1 and s2 where Lewis locked up, and then lost so much time on the last sector which we saw onboard but besides a wide line I can’t understand how he lost time.

      1. Perhaps the racing line each driver took in the last sector.

      2. Rosberg’s lap wasn’t perfect either. In fact, if both Mercedes drivers had their 3 best sector times added together, Nico would have taken pole anyway:

        1. Kimberley Barrass
          8th November 2014, 18:23

          I wish people wouldn’t use that as an example of who was faster. It may be that the perfect sector 1 time includes a sector end which would automatically compromise sector 2, etc.

          The best indicator is always the final quali’ times, because that’s all that counts.

          Also, despite Spa, I am finding myself to be Nico’s “friend” again if you like. His interviews have been so funny and engaging, that I’m finding lots of love for him again.

          If Lewis does have problems in Abu Dhabi, then I am beginning to think that even if he doesn’t “deserve” it, I wouldn’t be mad at Nico, I would just be crazy mad at F1 for introducing the rule. Anyone else feeling the same??

          1. pretty much. Can’t blame a driver for the rules. Can blame Bernie for everything.

          2. No. Rosberg has done a lot to clean up his image after Spa, after being roundly condemned by fans. Still doesn’t mean he’ll deserve to win this year after his antics in Monaco qualifying, the deliberate crash on the Spa first lap, and being beaten consistently by Hamilton on track the whole season whevever the playing field has been equal. Next year is another matter, but this year, no.

    2. Race day is the important one.You start race day on the set of tyre you used in Q2.Interestingly Rosberg had 5/10th; 0’511 of a second advantae on Hamilton on Q2.clearly someone saved his tyres there as we know that Rosberg is NOT 5/10th faster than Hamilton.So look for Hamilton 1st stint to be a BLAST after Rosberg pits.

  2. Pole position trophy, I guess Rosberg his season can’t get any better now!

  3. Congratulations of the Pole Position Trophy.

    Surely that means a helluva lot for him, and it’s everything he was looking for. It’s THE thing to have, how can you not have a Pole Position Trophy? starting first isn’t enough of a prize without a trophy.

  4. Congrats Nico, perfect lap. That was a great session to put an end on the debate that “Formula 1 2014 is too slow!”. Great laps for Mercs and Williams. Nicos and Lewis laps were identical, that lock up at turn 10 did cost Lewis some time but his lap was ridiculous as well.

    Williams looks good, if they fix their 2014 aero shortcomings they will be a real threat for 2015. From this distance, 2015 is already looking promising with a better Renault PU and Williams improving their already great car, just hope Mercedes doesn’t find more competition crushing performance.

    1. @jcost It certainly wasn’t a perfect lap; Nico’s exits from Descida do Lago and more importantly Junção were poor.

    2. Alex McFarlane
      8th November 2014, 20:45

      Ominous, but it was stated during qualifying on Sky F1 that Mercedes already know how they can get another 60 (or could even have been 80) horsepower from their power unit, so I don’t think they’ll be relinquishing their position as having the best engine anytime soon, unless Renault, Ferrari or Honda have something spectacular in the wings.

      1. Alex McFarlane
        8th November 2014, 21:02

        Actually thinking along those lines, if Mercedes claims become reality, and the engine manufacturers were to be required to offer their engines at a lower price to customer teams as some form of cost control, it’s not hard to imagine Renault calling it a day. Interesting times indeed.

  5. The fastest driver in F1 over one lap.

    1. So not Alonso? You surprise me.

      1. @john-h
        He already is the best overtaker, the best defender, the wet weather and changing conditions driver, the most consistent performer on the grid, the best at driving ill-handling cars, and the fastest guy across a race distance. You can’t give him everything. ;-)

        1. Ha, you got me @kingshark! I’m guessing Hamilton is none of those things then, but let us agree to disagree yet again $:)

        2. Humn…”best overtaker”…thinking on Petrov…

          1. Oh please, not this again! The Renault had 3-4 kph over the Ferrari. And Abu Dhabi is a tough circuit to overtake even with DRS

        3. ..and was beaten by Lewis Hamilton in his rookie year.

          1. Button beat Lewis. What’s your point?

          2. Lewis beat Jenson 2 seasons to 1 (only lost that one due to reliability). You know what my point is,it’s unequivocal

          3. Oh here we go again. Seven years ago!!

        4. @kingshark – Don’t forget best car control, best street circuit performer, best at tyre preservation, best at including samurai references in his tweets and best dealing out subtle insults to rivals in interviews!

          1. “best dealing out subtle insults to rivals in interviews!”

            He´s really so far ahead of the rest on this one, it seems like the others aren´t even trying.

    2. …is not Nico Rosberg. Without outliers, Hamilton is still one tenth faster than him in qualifying on average, which is also what an analysis of their whole careers to date would provide as the answer, too, when both are driving at their best. Alonso and Raikkonen’s one lap pace probably peaked in the mid-2000s to be fair.

      But, as we have seen, that’s plenty close enough for a title battle to be oh so close. Button still beat Lewis on points one year, despite being a few tenths off Lewis’ pace at his best. @kingshark

      1. PS. Brilliant lap by Vettel to qualify in front of a McLaren, 3 PB sectors for him in a row.

      2. @fastiesty

        …is not Nico Rosberg. Without outliers, Hamilton is still one tenth faster than him in qualifying on average, which is also what an analysis of their whole careers to date would provide as the answer, too, when both are driving at their best.

        I can’t believe that this is still floating around. Nico has been just plain quicker than Lewis over one lap this season, there’s no excuses around it. Nico’s been on average about ~0.140 faster than Hamilton in Q3 this season, and has beat him 9-7 overall (this is excluding Germany and Hungary).

        How do you know, for instance, that when Hamilton does take pole, that Rosberg is really at his “best”? Because we are quick to assume that Lewis is not at his best when Nico beats him.

        1. @kingshark Today for example, Rosberg’s best sectors add up to a 1:09.8, while Lewis’ are 1:10.0. So if Lewis had not locked up at T10, he might have nicked pole with a near perfect lap, while Nico missed out despite having the pace for pole.

          I picked Nico for pole knowing he was likely to be faster here (using the average speed analysis thread), while it will be reversed in Abu Dhabi (as many would expect).

          Meanwhile, Vettel produced a perfect lap, 3 PB sectors, to beat a McLaren, which really should be in front of the Red Bulls, going by best splits. Vettel best splitted as 7th, 9th, 9th, yet starts 6th. That’s the best qualifying performance in my eyes, although Gutierrez did well in the Sauber as well.

          1. @fastiesty
            I agree with most of what you said, but my question remains unanswered. Why is Hamilton still “faster” than Rosberg over one lap, despite being outclassed this season?

          2. @kingshark I might have omitted Austria as well, both made mistakes then got hampered from a second attempt. But I had it as Hamilton in front by about the same margin.

          3. I might have omitted Austria as well, both made mistakes then got hampered from a second attempt.

            1. Rosberg still qualified ahead in Austria.
            2. It was Hamilton’s fault that Nico was hampered on his second run.

            Overall, Austria should rightfully go to Rosberg IMO.

            But I had it as Hamilton in front by about the same margin.

            The way I have it, Nico has been 2.138 seconds faster than Lewis in Q3 across the 16 qualifying sessions so far (excluding GER and HUN). That is an average of 0.134 sec advantage per qualy session.

      3. I’m sorry @kingshark, but I must subscribe to @fastiesty‘s view on this one. I think Rosberg is perhaps the more consistent qualifier, but I would still argue Lewis is sufficiently so to make him the best qualifier: Q.E.D. F1’s fastest driver. It appears to me that the acrobatic way in which Lewis drives coupled with the remarkable strain he places upon a car during a qualifying makes his style more likely to unsettle the car in the manner we saw at T10 yesterday. So when the car is in the window and is predictable enough for Lewis to approach a corner as he likes, he is not beatable.

        In the case disputed above, Austria, Lewis was a third of a second up on the eventual pole lap by the second split on his first lap before promptly loosing the rear at the penultimate corner and losing a probable victory. My point is two-fold: a) this is supporting evidence of the way Lewis’ style can unsettle an unpredictable car, and b) whilst Rosberg’s second lap was ruined by a spinning Lewis, why did he fail to beat the Williams on his first run?

    3. Nah! Without Monaco pro foul and qualifying reliability Lewis would be equal. You can’t gauge who the fastest driver is until you pit them against each other in equal equipment

      1. sour grapes, the trophy been won by Nico hands down !

        HAM been strong qualifier and one of the fastest just to reiterate the incredible job ROS has done, ROS can still win the WDC even if HAM is faster and prettier, remember HAM won his WDC for one point on last lap, last race, and he didn’t win that race didn’t he ?

        1. Rosberg has been good this year no doubt about it, surprised many with his qualifying pace.

          But crucially Hamilton has beaten him hands down in the racing, which is when the points are handed out.

          Brundle made a great point last week which may explain why Rosberg is struggling i races in comparison to Lewis. He said that trackside in qualifying it is visible that Rosberg is hustling the car more that Hamilton. Therefore it would seem that Hamilton can get more pace from his car for less effort which over a race distance makes a difference.

  6. Could this be the closest qualifying session ever? And by that I mean pole position to slowest lap. 2.21s has got to be very close to it…

    1. it is quite a short lap after all. Compresses everyone

      1. Sure it is, and Marussia and Caterham not participating would be a huge factor as well. But still, a record is a record… If it actually is one, of course. Which it apparently isn’t and it’s far from it. Just peeking at Brazil 2008 shows a smaller difference. Ofcourse back then we had race fuel qualifying, making it hard to compare.

    2. IIRC 2008 was closer, with the whole field within 1.9 seconds.

  7. Massa was around four tenths down at Q2 after his first qualifying run. By the finish line, he was less than a tenth down. That Williams has some insane straight-line speed.

    Rob Smedley’s post-session interview with Ted K. on Sky F1 was hilarious too.

  8. What was that hand movement rosberg was doing after he came into park the car after getting pole?

    1. I was wondering about that too. It means something naughty in India. :)

  9. So pole in 2004 was slower than barichellos time???

    1. I guess it’s a symptom of race-fuel qualifying, or whichever nonsense qualifying regime prevailed at the time, resulting in faster times in an earlier part of qualifying.

      1. Not only that. The surface of the track on 2004 was way worse than it is today.
        They completely fixed it for the 2007 GP and again this year.

        Interlagos was then known for its bumpy surface. The difference it made for the 2007 race was huge. I bet the F2004 with fuel for 3 laps could do it under 1.08s.

    2. @sato113 What?

      SP2 Rubens Barrichello 1:10.229
      Q Rubens Barrichello 1:10.646

      Speed trap 324.8 kph from SP2.

      1. Barichello did a 1:09.822 for the lap record. Which wasn’t a pole time. I think @wificats answered my question

  10. Pole position trophy is worthless. The drivers should get points instead. 3 poles = 1 point or something of the sort.

    1. @trublu 3 points = 1 pole right?

      1. No, I don’t think a single pole should be equal to or worth more than points that can be earned from the actual race.

    2. Agree. You could even consider points in general for qualifying. It could be pole 6 and then 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 Down to P6. Another approach could be to give 3 points for qualifying in top 5 and 2 for P5 to P10. Bottom Line I think qaulifying should have more exitement and incentive.

      1. Alex McFarlane
        8th November 2014, 20:53

        Yes, I’d rather that than double points. At least it would be for the whole season and qualifying tends to throw more surprises (although below Merc obviously).

    3. @trublu @lars Awarding points for pole position is a terrible idea.

      1. @keithcollantine those arguments you made against points for pole position do not hold up, unless you are also in favour of double points and other championship-lengthening schemes. What, winning a championship on the Sunday three races before the final event is okay, but winning it the Saturday before the final race is not? TV ratings take a hit one way or the other. As far as “starting the race ahead of everyone else is enough reward in itself” goes: well, we sure saw that last week, didn’t we?

  11. I quite enjoyed hearing the cheers from the crowd and the squeal of the tyres in quali today. I’m not a Massa fan, in fact he is one of my least favorite drivers, but I’d like to see him do well tomorrow just to hear the Brazilians going wild.

  12. Is this year’s Merc the most dominant car in F1 history?

    1. I saw a really good analysis on Reddit where the Mercedes this year in terms of consistent competitiveness is the most dominant car ever but the MP4-4 beats it on reliability.

      1. Also, if they get 2 more 1/2s, they’ll have the highest percentage of them.

        1. It helps having 19 races and not 7 as there have been in the past. All these types of comparison are out the window due the number of races. Hamilton has the most victories of any UK driver. He is very very good but no Jim Clark or Jackie Stewart.

          1. @rampante such an utterly pointless comparison. I take it Jackie Stewart is no Jim Clark, or Jim Clark is no Jackie Stewart either.

            Of course they aren’t. Jim Clark was Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart is Jackie Stewart and Lewis Hamilton is Lewis Hamilton.

            And the W05 would have more 1/2’s as a ratio to starts than any other car in F1 history. Number of races in the season is irrelevant. It’s a percentage. If anything maintaining this percentage when faced with more races in a season is more impressive as there’s more opportunity for incidents that mitigate against a 1/2 finish.

    1. The fastest lap is the quickest lap recorded during a race. Lap record is from any racing session.

    2. @paeschli It’s explained on the page you’ve just linked to.

      1. @keithcollantine It explains what a lap record (fastest lap set during a Grand Prix) is, but it doesn’t explain what a ‘fastest lap’ is. Does a fastest lap has to be set during a F1 weekend? If a time is set during pre-season testing, does it count? If I go the the track with a supercar and set a 1’07.000, do I have the fastest lap?

  13. I think Lewis Hamilton is a better racer and Nico Rosberg and I think it shows in small manners. Such as when Louis gets out of the car he carefully places his steering wheel and collar assembly into the car. When you Nico gets out of the car he’s leaves his equipment in a heap on top of the car. It seems like Lewis Hamilton has a little more class. It also seems as if Nico has had things handed to him in his life. He sometimes comes off to me as a spoiled young person who was upset not because he didn’t win the race, he’s upset because he was beat. Lewis Hamilton compliments his team regularly. He compliments all the people around him. Nico hesitates and seems to have difficulty acknowledging the help he gets. If Louis Hamilton lost championship due the double points system it would be a travesty. Thanks. Peace.

  14. Not too many open minds here………… I am a Nico fan and have been for years. Remember when he would do the track drawings while blind folded as a pre race bit for TV. Since most of this is really about personal choices being supported by some obtuse logic to support the choice I just write I like think Nico is the better person and the better driver. But the majority of commentators in this forum are LH fans so be it. Thanks, Norris

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