Rosberg puts Mercedes on pole again in Bahrain

2013 Bahrain Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2013Nico Rosberg gave Mercedes their second pole position in a row in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

He will share the front row of the grid with Sebastian Vettel.

Q1

Most of the front-running teams opted for hard tyres in Q1 with the significant exception of Red Bull. But even using the medium tyres Vettel wasn’t quick enough to beat Alonso.

The Ferrari driver’s 1’32.878 was almost half a second faster than anyone else managed. Vettel took second ahead of six more drivers on hard tyres, led by Nico Rosberg.

Romain Grosjean was fourth-fastest while team mate Kimi Raikkonen went off at the first corner.

Daniel Ricciardo was in the drop zone with seconds remaining but produced a quicker lap to jump up to 12th. That knocked Pastor Maldonado out – the Williams driver had set the same time as his team mate to within a thousandth of a second, but Valtteri Bottas did his first so stayed ahead to progress to Q2.

Also eliminated were Esteban Gutierrez, who will start last after his penalty, and the Caterham and Marussia pair.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

17 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’34.425
18 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’34.730
19 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1’35.283
20 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1’36.178
21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’36.304
22 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1’36.476

Q2

Four drivers set quick enough times with their first run to ensure passage to Q2. They included the two Mercedes drivers, with Rosberg decisively quickest, and Alonso.

The fourth was Paul di Resta, who demonstrated Force India’s pace by getting through to Q3. He was later joined by his team mate.

Grosjean attempted to get through to Q3 with a single late effort but a mistake at turn 11 left him vulnerable and a delighted Jenson Button took advantage to get into Q3.

The other McLaren of Sergio Perez failed to get through, as did the two Toro Rossos and the remaining Sauber and Williams of Nico Hulkenberg and Bottas.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’33.762
12 Sergio Perez McLaren 1’33.914
13 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’33.974
14 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1’33.976
15 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’34.105
16 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’34.284

Q3

Rosberg replicated his earlier pace at the beginning of Q3 and led the times again, with Alonso a tenth of a second behind him. Hamilton took up third with Di Resta behind.

All ten drivers returned to the track for a final run and all set a time bar Button: with Webber and Hamilton setting times good enough for the top five, and the McLaren unlikely to beat Raikkonen’s Lotus, he elected not to set a time.

Alonso also aborted his last run as he wasn’t on course to improve. Vettel had beaten his time but neither of them could do anything about Rosberg, who made a further improvement on his time to secure Mercedes’ second pole position in a row.

Massa was the only driver to choose the hard tyres for his qualifying run and took sixth, though Webber and Hamilton’s penalties will promote him to fourth alongside his team mate.

Top ten in Q3

1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’32.330
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’32.584
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’32.667
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’32.762
5 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’33.078
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’33.207
7 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’33.235
8 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’33.246
9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’33.327
10 Jenson Button McLaren

2013 Bahrain Grand Prix

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70 comments on Rosberg puts Mercedes on pole again in Bahrain

  1. DaveF1 (@davef1) said on 20th April 2013, 13:26

    I said this last week about Nico:

    Nico is beginning to make a habit of choking when it counts in qualifying. This isn’t the first time he’s looked good in Q1 and Q2 but then failed to deliver in the final part.

    And of course he comes and proves me wrong. However I can’t see him beating the Ferraris and Vettel tomorrow but either way well done to him. This will be a welcome confidence boost.

    • Eggry (@eggry) said on 20th April 2013, 13:29

      for sure Mercedes is not good at race pace and tyre management. still P1 is the best place to start the race. Finger cross for him after bad weekends.

    • He looked a fair bit faster than Hamilton also – that’s got to make him happy!

    • Aimal (@aimalkhan) said on 20th April 2013, 13:55

      #OopsHeDidItAgain

    • Jason (@jason12) said on 20th April 2013, 15:24

      Well done to Nico!
      Hopefully they’ll copy his setup to Lewis’ car.

      • Adam Kibbey (@kibblesworth) said on 20th April 2013, 15:59

        Nico’s set up may not necessary be the best setup, it’s possible that his car was set up for a fast qualifying pace whereas Hamilton’s may be set up for a better race pace (seeing as they already knew that he would be incurring a grid place penalty and would therefore have to race through traffic no matter what).

        • dkpioe said on 20th April 2013, 16:42

          I doubt they would change hamiltons setup up that much with the grid penalty, they probably wanted him as high up qualifying as possible, it would be dumb to make him slower then necessary and put him further down the pack.

      • SteveR said on 20th April 2013, 16:14

        Hey Jason, they can’t change the setup after qualifying; parc ferme rules apply. How you qualify is how you race.

      • @jason12 – unless they wish to exclude Hamilton from qualifying that wouldn’t be of much use due to Parc Fermé as SteveR said! I actually think Hamilton will probably have a better race set-up judging from their relative pace in qualifying: he may very well have gone for a more race orientated set-up.

        If you’re not talking of this event though, it’s pretty pointless doing that because that set-up will only be useful for Bahrain!

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 20th April 2013, 17:27

        This race is, once again, going to be all about the tyres, Nico will be the hare but the tortoise will likely win. I noticed that Webber in particular seemed to have a lot more understeer than usual and also that he made no effort to save “medium” tyres using them for every lap of qualifying so I am expecting a different strategy from MW tomorrow, maybe because of his penalty or maybe SV will do something similar. As already mentioned LH might planning a slower pace to suit the tyres, and Ferarri are having a bet each way with Massa starting on hards, will we hear once more “Fernando is faster than you”. KR is obviously playing the long game but if it fails for him tomorrow he may not be so keen to endorse the new-style tyres.

  2. carbon_fibre (@carbon_fibre) said on 20th April 2013, 13:26

    Eyes on the Ferraris tomorrow.

  3. Eggry (@eggry) said on 20th April 2013, 13:27

    Great lap from Nico. a little bit disappointed with Alonso’s final lap. Still I think Ferraris are the favorite with mistakes or compromises or penalties of others. It’s interesting Massa went different strategy.

  4. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 20th April 2013, 13:29

    Absolutely agree with @carbon_fibre

    Their race pace and “tyre saving” ability is the best.

    I think Alonso is going to win tomorrow.

  5. Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 20th April 2013, 13:30

    If only the Mercedes was as quick in the race as it was in qualifying, lives would change. That being said, I still have my smart money on Alonso to win tomorrow, purely because of Ferrari’s race pace.

    • karter22 (@karter22) said on 20th April 2013, 15:21

      @kingshark

      I still have my smart money on Alonso to win tomorrow

      I agree but it won´t be a walk in the park. He´ll pass Nico on the start but SV will be like a bad habit, difficult to drop.
      Honestly, maybe we could see our 3rd case of team orders if Massa is up to the task but I doubt it.
      I just hope we have an exciting race!

  6. C.Logan said on 20th April 2013, 13:36

    How long will it be until Nico gets DRS-ed in yet another boringly easy highway pass?

  7. TMF (@tmf42) said on 20th April 2013, 13:38

    Nico won the racing part of the weekend – so let’s see what tomorrow’s chess game delivers.

  8. Beto (@chebeto0) said on 20th April 2013, 13:38

    I would have not tipped that in a million years. Great lap from Nico. Awesome quali.

  9. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 20th April 2013, 13:39

    When the penalties are applied, Felipe Massa is going to be the man to watch, starting from fourth on hard tyres. I wonder if Ferrari anticipated that happening, and deliberately sent him out on the primes so that they could split their startegy from the start of the race?

  10. timi (@timi) said on 20th April 2013, 13:49

    It sounds bad, but I’m very happy Webber and Hamilton have penalties. The opening few laps should produce some great racing. Hamilton, Raikkonen and Button starting next to each other. 3 WDCs duelling it out should make for a great watch.

    Great pole for Nico but I fear it will be a similar, if not worse situation as it was for Hamilton in China. The Mercedes just can’t look after it’s tyres as well as the Ferrari, or Lotus.

    With the normally unpredicatble tyres, pls increased deg at Bahrain, tomorrow should be cracking. Although, seeing cars with more worn tyres being overtaken by those on newer ones, isn’t exactly the pinnacle of motor racing IMO ;)

  11. Aimal (@aimalkhan) said on 20th April 2013, 13:49

    Its set to be an exciting race tomorrow. Alonso looking primed for the win tomorrow. The ferraris could work together to dispose of vettel at the start. Kimi finished 2nd from 11th last year so lets not count him out.

  12. Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 20th April 2013, 13:51

    Wow, didn’t expect Mercedes to grab PP.

    I can smell a Ferrari double. Fingers crossed for Massa.

  13. Traverse (@) said on 20th April 2013, 13:53

    Even with a poor qualy (Compared to his team mate) and a gear box change that incurred a five place grid penalty, Ham still managed to qualify ahead of Jenson. Thus far it looks like a good decision from Lewis to leave McLaren.

  14. OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 20th April 2013, 14:10

    And now, for no reason, Nico’s car will start to wither…
    DNF again after all?

  15. What on earth was Kimi doing in qualy. had him down for a front row start. Lotus will probably go for a two stop race tomorrow. Still expecting Kimi on the podium

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