Lewis Hamilton had been fastest man in all three free practice sessions for this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, but Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg hadn’t read the script and beat the Englishman to take pole position in qualifying.
Rosberg had been losing out to the tune of 0.2 a lap through the second sector of the Sakhir circuit but overcame the deficit in final qualifying to post a 1:33:185 compared to Hamilton’s 1:33:464. Despite not improving on his second and final run the German had nothing to worry about as Hamilton also aborted following a lock-up into turn one.
Daniel Ricciardo posted 3rd fastest time for Red Bull but will start 13th after being hit with a ten place grid penalty following his pitlane incident in the Malaysian Grand Prix; the change means Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez move up to row two for Williams and Force India respectively. Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button will go from row three, ahead of Felipe Massa and Kevin Magnussen. Fernando Alonso will start 10th.
Q1 took the usual crop of victims but was noteable for a clash between Romain Grosjean and Adrian Sutil, the two men banging wheels as the Lotus attempted to pass the Sauber while on a hotlap. The German eventually fell out of qualifying in P18.
World Champion Sebastian Vettel complained of downshift problems during Q2 and could do no better than 11th, while Nico Hulkenberg was a disappointed 12th. Daniil Kvyat and Jean Eric Vergne locked out 13th and 14th place for Toro Rosso while a minor achievement for Lotus was getting Romain Grosjean into 16th behind Esteban Gutierrez.
Tomorrow’s race will start at 16:00GMT.
CLASSIFICATION – QUALIFYING – 2014 Bahrain GP
* 10 Place Grid Penalty