Rosberg puts Schumacher in the shade

Nico Rosberg was just six in 1991 when Michael Schumacher began his stellar Formula One career that has led to 84 wins and seven drivers’ titles.

Fast forward 15 years, and he’s ahead, albeit in qualifying, in just his second Formula One race.

The Williams driver edged out Ferrari’s Schumacher for third fastest in Saturday’s qualifying at the Sepang International Circuit, and immediately downplayed how at ease he felt in the stifling tropical heat.

An engine change nonetheless, dropped Schumacher down to sixth row for Sunday. This just a week after setting the fastest race lap in at the Bahrain season-opener.

“I’m really, really pleased,” said Rosberg, who will start behind Renault’s Giancarlo Fisichella and Honda’s Jenson Button on race day on Sunday. “To be third is special for me. My engineers gave me a great car and the possibility to go so far up.”

Rosberg’s racing pedigree was known early on. The son of former world champion Keke Rosberg, he began karting competitively at 11, became the youngest driver ever to test a Formula One car at just 17 and signed with Williams at 20.

“It is important for me to make a good first impression,” said the Finnish-born German citizen. “I think we will be strong and maybe have a bit of an edge engine-wise.”

Williams are powered by Cosworth engines after its partnership with BMW ended last year.

Schumacher will contest his 233rd top flight race Sunday at the Malaysian Grand Prix. - Sapa-AP

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