One race from his best career finish in Singapore, Nico Rosberg was brought back down to earth with a bump in Japan after being out-qualified by his team mate for fifteenth on the grid – but the German has vowed to give it his all in Sunday’s race.
The German youngster charged to second place in Singapore a fortnight ago, Williams’ first podium since the season-opener in Melbourne, having been assisted by a delayed stop/go penalty.
In Japan on Saturday it was an altogether different story as the Williams ace struggled to extract anywhere near the same level of performance from his FW30 – a disappointing result too for engine suppliers Toyota at their home grand prix.
“It wasn t very nice to qualify 15th today, especially having come from Singapore where I finished on the podium, but that s the reality,” said Rosberg.
“We ve struggled a bit this weekend, but we were expecting to be less competitive here as we just seem to be missing something on these types of circuits.”
“I m keeping my expectations for the race in check, particularly if it stays dry, but we could have a better chance of doing well if it rains. I m happy with my qualifying lap though, and Kazuki s been doing a really good job all weekend.”
Home favourite Kazuki Nakajima in the sister Williams at least showed in front of his partisan supporters that on his day he can match his more experienced team mate, and the Japanse youngster was quick to receive praise from Rosberg.
“He s been a little bit quicker than me and I m pleased for him as he s in front of his home crowd,” he said, “but this weekend isn t over yet; we ll see what tomorrow brings.”
Nakajima himself conceded: “We did do our best. I don t think that this afternoon s conditions suited the car that much and some traffic interrupted my last run, which didn t help me either. We now need to prepare a good strategy for tomorrow s race.”
Williams’ Technical Director Sam Michael concurred: “Obviously this isn t the best track for us. We took both cars through to Q2, but we weren t strong enough to get into Q3 here.”
“Fuji delivered a very interesting race last year, so we ll now work towards the most advantageous strategies possible for our positions and see if we can t get something out of the race.”