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Nico Rosberg 'relatively pleased' with second after last-gasp Q3 lap

Mark Sutton/Sutton Images

Nico Rosberg declared himself "relatively pleased" with a position on the front row of the Mexican Grand Prix grid after surviving a scare to go second late in Q3.

Rosberg has struggled for much of this weekend and was not in the top four in either Q1 or Q2. After the initial runs in Q3, the championship leader was fourth while title rival Lewis Hamilton had a comfortable buffer to the Red Bull drivers.

While Hamilton and the Red Bulls failed to improve on their final runs, Rosberg did, moving him into second position, 0.25s behind his teammate.

When asked about his "brilliant" late lap after qualifying, Rosberg said: "Brilliant two and a half tenths from Lewis, so Lewis' lap was brilliant, not so much mine. I put it together when it counted at the end, so I'm relatively pleased with that, making sure I'm on the front row. Even though it's not pole position of course but it still gives me a great chance."

Rosberg says his main problems had come from warming the tyres.

"I just took a bit longer this weekend to find the way. Just generally with tyre temperatures, with them being a bit on the cold-side all weekend. So it's a bit nervous out there and just to find the way with that took a bit longer. But got there in the end, so that's OK."

Before Q3 Rosberg had faced the prospect of lining up fourth or lower at a time when he needs one third- and two second-place finishes to claim a first world championship. Like Hamilton, he will start on the soft tyre, while the Red Bulls on the second row start on the grippier super-soft tyre.

When asked about that potential pressure from behind and whether he will adopt a more conservative approach with his title lead in mind, Rosberg refused to change his recent mindset.

"For me, I'm looking forward. There's Lewis in front of me -- he's in the way for me to win the race, so that's what I'm going for. Try to win the race, and that's it."