October 5th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Mercedes have looked strong all weekend, and demonstrated their outright pace by qualifying second (Hamilton) and fifth (Rosberg). Nico Rosberg benefits from Mark Webber's ten-place grid penalty, which promotes him to the second row of the grid. Hamilton will make his ninth front row start of the season.
Hamilton was satisfied with his qualifying performance and felt that he achieved the maximum result possible with the car he had. He said, "I'm really happy with second position today as it felt like I got everything out of the car today. The guys have done a great job to get the package as it is here: we came into the weekend knowing that Red Bull had an advantage, so to be as close as I am in terms of performance is a real positive."
Looking forward to the race, Hamilton was optimistic that Mercedes can achieve a strong result regardless of the weather, but was not quite certain that the Silver Arrows will be able to beat the Red Bulls for race pace. He said, "Hopefully we have closed the gap a little bit. Our long-run pace yesterday looked good and pretty close to theirs but there will be threats all around us in tomorrow's race.
"A couple of years ago, I was on pole and Seb got past me at the start, so I'd like to repay him on that one! I need to make sure we get a good start, position the car as well as possible and when there's a gap, I'll be going for it. We know that the weather will change a bit for tomorrow and I don't mind how it turns out. I'd prefer dry conditions but we'll see what the day brings and roll with it."
Nico Rosberg has had a difficult weekend and has been outpaced by Hamilton in every session except for Free Practice 3 when Hamilton had to pull out of his first supersoft flying lap due to traffic. Rosberg is hoping to challenge for a podium finish, but does not expect to be able to fight for victory. He said after qualifying:
"I haven't found the right car balance all weekend so far and that's the reason why I'm a bit disappointed with today's result - even if my actual starting position of fourth place is pretty good. The first sector of the track is good for overtaking, so hopefully that will give us some opportunities in the opening laps, but Red Bull still seems to have the edge here overall. If I get a good start like I managed in Singapore, then a podium finish is possible based on the performance we were able to show in the long runs on Friday."