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Rosberg admits fortune played into his hands

30 Apr 2016

Nico Rosberg says his life is being made easier by the misfortune of his rivals, but insists he still faces a battle to claim victory in the 2016 Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix.

Rosberg, who has won every race in 2016 and six straight in total, will start from pole in Sochi after what he labelled an ‘exceptional’ qualifying. In contrast, the German's Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton will start no higher than 10th after suffering a power unit issue in Q3, while Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel is set to line up seventh after a gearbox penalty.

“It was really quite an exceptional qualifying for me,” Rosberg said. “The car came together, the balance was perfect - it was just really good.

“I was focused on myself, and it felt awesome. Others have definitely been extremely unfortunate today, and that makes my race a little bit easier tomorrow, but an F1 race is never easy.

“The opposition is still there, so I still need to keep focused and get the job done. I haven't thought too much about tomorrow, but the way the grid is, it does help me out a lot for sure...”

Asked whether Hamilton’s woes had altered his approach in qualifying, Rosberg added: “The first lap was good yeah - I had more fuel so the second could have been faster, but I was confident the first was good enough because in Q2 Ferrari was quite far away and I knew Lewis was not able to participate.

“It felt awesome, so I just went for an all-or-nothing lap.

“It’s been looking very strong from our side all weekend. We keep saying Ferrari are very close, so maybe we shouldn’t - but it’s such a unique place that you can’t generalise I don’t think.

“I have all the confidence in the team to sort the issues we are having at the moment, so I just try to focus on the things I can influence - I want to get a good start [on Sunday] and try to stay ahead.”

Hamilton, meanwhile, said his power unit failure was exactly the same as he suffered in qualifying in China, and admitted he faces an uphill battle to claw his way back up the order in Russia.

“It’s not an easy track to overtake,” he said, “but there are long straights… Time will tell, but I never give up.”

Rosberg enters Sunday's race 36 points clear of Hamilton in the drivers' standings.

Watch: Rosberg races to pole position in Sochi