Niki Lauda admits Nico Rosberg’s qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix was “really worrying” before the current points leader managed to go second fastest behind Lewis Hamilton on his final Q3 attempt.
Having struggled to match his team-mate and title rival’s pace since the beginning of the weekend, Rosberg looked condemned to start from outside the front row for the first time in over a year until his last-ditch effort.
“Lewis was perfect,” Lauda told Sky Sports F1. “Nico was really worrying for his own sake because he would have started further back.
“And if Hamilton wins, the championship goes further away. But then he got that lap in the end. It was unbelievable and he is on the front row.”
Explaining Rosberg’s low-key performance, the Mercedes non-executive chairman added: “He could not get the car balance, it’s very simple. He did not get the right grip level into the tyres, which happened to his car.
“Lewis was more aggressive going out and with a little bit more temperature he got the car going quicker around the circuit.
“Nico could not get his tyres into the [right] tyre window but in the last lap he did.”
Rosberg, who won from pole position in Mexico 12 months ago, holds a 26-point advantage over Hamilton ahead of Sunday’s race.
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