TAKING ON HAMILTON: Nico Rosberg remains baffled by the speed gap to team mate and 2015 championship leader Lewis Hamilton. Image: AP / Ronald Zak
BUDAPEST, Hungary - Nico Rosberg was looking for answers in Hungary on Saturday after being outqualified by team mate Lewis Hamilton for the ninth time in 10 races.
Rosberg was the qualifying king in 2014 - winning the inaugural pole position trophy with 11 poles to Hamilton's seven.
The table has been overturned in spectacular fashion this season with Hamilton set to clinch that prize at the next race in Belgium given that he has nine poles to Rosberg's one with only nine races left.
Rosberg, who won only five races in 2014 to Hamilton's 11, told reporters: "Part of it is that I worked on my racing to improve that and that's been...it's definitely been better, so I'm pleased with that.
"Of course, that's slightly compromised qualifying, some of it, but most of it is not explicable for me. I don't understand why it's such a big difference to last year at the moment."
Rosberg, who will start second on Sunday, was more than half a second slower than Hamilton's fastest lap and said that he did not know why.
He said: "Qualifying went pretty much to plan, everything, but I just didn't find the pace and it's been a bit up and down all weekend for some unexplained reasons, so I just need to look into it tonight."
The pair, fierce rivals separated by 17 points, have been closer on race day with Hamilton - who has worked hard on getting more out of qualifying - translating his poles into five victories while Rosberg has won three times.
Rosberg, who will start from the slower 'dirty' side of the track, said his car had been suffering from understeer in qualifying - a disadvantage likely to be more positive by reducing rear tyre wear.
Rosberg said: "Let's wait and see how the balance is tomorrow but for sure I'll attack and let's see. There are several opportunities.
"It's frustrating at the moment but I'm nearly over it again and then tonight a good dinner with friends and tomorrow I'll be firing on all pistons again and ready to attack. It's not something that pulls me down in any way.
"It's the way it is and as long as my racing is good, I can turn it around and try and do that tomorrow."