Vettel back in front with Bahrain pole position

2012 Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Bahrain, 2012Sebastian Vettel returned to a familiar position as he claimed pole for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

His final effort in Q3 put him at the head of the grid for tomorrow’s race. He will share the front row with Lewis Hamilton.

Their team mates will start behind them on row two as Nico Rosberg could only manage fifth.

Q1

Q1 produced a shock elimination as the rapidly-improving track conditions caught out several drivers.

A last-gasp effort by Heikki Kovalainen was enough for him to take Caterham into Q2 by 0.013s.

Just as much of a surprise as that was the identity of the driver he knocked out: Michael Schumacher.

Mercedes, along with McLaren and Lotus, elected not to send their drivers out for a second run. In Schumacher’s case, a problem with his DRS prevented him from going out to set another time. They paid the price as Kovalainen produced a superb lap.

For the third race weekend in a row, Jean-Eric Vergne also missed the cut for Q2. Worse, he was seen driving through a red light as he returned to the pits as marshals attempted to direct him into the weighbridge, and is likely to face a penalty.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

18 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’34.865
19 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’35.014
20 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’35.823
21 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’37.683
22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’37.883
23 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’37.905
24 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’38.314

Q2

Once again the closely-matched midfield produced another exciting Q2. With the track improving late in the session, and the changing wind keeping the teams guessing.

Romain Grosjean produced a superb late effort to secure his place in the final ten. But team mate Raikkonen missed the cut by a tenth of a second.

That came due to a last-gasp improvement by Fernando Alonso, who once again managed to get the Ferrari into Q3.

Meanwhile Daniel Ricciardo took the Toro Rosso into Q3, despite his team mate going out in the the first session.

Several teams got just one driver into Q3, including Force India and Sauber. Maldonado did not set a time after a KERS problem.

At the front, Lewis Hamilton pipped Nico Rosberg for the fastest time by a hundredth of a second.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’33.789
12 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’33.806
13 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’33.807
14 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’33.912
15 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’34.017
16 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’36.132
17 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault

Q3

McLaren and Red Bull were the only teams to set times at the beginning of Q3. Hamilton set the early pace followed by Button, Webber and Vettel.

Alonso also left the pits on a set of used softs but elected not to set a time.

Nico Rosberg elected to do a single run and may have regretted it when he made a mistake at the final corner. That left him fifth on the grid.

As they flashed across the line, Webber was first to take provisional pole position, but Vettel snatched it off him moments later by two-tenths of a second. Hamilton split their pair of them for second place as Button fell to fourth.

Ricciardo claimed sixth for Toro Rosso, with Grosjean and Perez the only drivers to set times. Di Resta joined Alonso in not setting a time, and the pair will share the fifth row of the grid.

Top ten in Q3

1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’32.422
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’32.520
3 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’32.637
4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’32.711
5 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’32.821
6 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’32.912
7 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’33.008
8 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’33.394
9 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
10 Paul di Resta Force India

2012 Bahrain Grand Prix


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96 comments on Vettel back in front with Bahrain pole position

  1. BROOKSY007 (@brooksy007) said on 21st April 2012, 22:47

    Just read on james allens website that vettel used webbers setup for q3! Is it me or would a little thankyou during the post quali interview be appropriate! It would IMO go along way with many fans that believe he is arrogant! Experience still counts for something!!

    • First of all, no, I suspect it would go no distance with such fans. For instance, he said today that he “completely owe[d]” his pole position to his team for all their hard work on the car, and that’s made no difference in your opinion, has it?

      Second, are you sure that comment wasn’t about Vettel having to take on the exhaust configuration that was favored by Webber? I see nothing in Allen’s post about it being for Q3 only, and I can’t find the original source, so I’m just wondering.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 22nd April 2012, 5:55

      @brooksy007 – Some people look for any reason to whine about people like Vettel (or Hamilton for that matter).

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGQHJu9-JVQ

  2. FERNANDO123 (@fernando123) said on 22nd April 2012, 0:02

    FINGER BOY !!

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