Lewis Hamilton has congratulated long-time rival Nico Rosberg on taking a maiden pole position in Formula 1.
Rosberg and Hamilton have raced against each other for over a decade, dating back to their karting days, and the McLaren driver was delighted to have qualified alongside his old rival despite the gearbox penalty that will prevent them sharing the front row on Sunday.
"Congratulations to Nico," said Hamilton, who will start seventh. "It's fantastic and I am proud of him. We grew up racing together and we dreamed of racing in F1. We were team-mates in 200 and friends before that. We are on the front row together but I have the penalty."
Rosberg's Mercedes teammate, Michael Schumacher, admitted that he was not expecting his team to challenge for pole. He hailed Rosberg's lap as "phenomenal."
"I didn't think we would fight for pole position and seeing what Nico could do was a big surprise for all of is," said Schumacher. "It was a phenomenal lap time and I happy for him taking his first pole. It will also be the first front row of the proper Silvers Arrows."
Schumacher is wary about whether he and Rosberg will be able to convert their front row starting positions into results, but is hoping to have a straightforward race to see where the F1 W03 really is on race performance.
"It is a question mark if we can keep that position, but we will see what happens tomorrow," said Schumacher. "We have a question of high fuel and tire degradation. Hopefully. it will be the first proper normal race and I can get to the end."