German Nico Rosberg saluted his Mercedes team for their overnight work on improving his car enough to land him pole position for today’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
The 27-year-old – whose sole win came in last year’s China Grand Prix – secured the Mercedes team’s second successive pole when he clocked a best time of one minute and 32.330 seconds in the final Q3 segment of the qualifying hour. It was Rosberg’s second career pole.
This enabled him to outpace Germany’s three-time defending world champion and championship leader Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull by two-tenths of a second. Spain’s two-time world champion Fernando Alonso of Ferrari was third fastest.
“Am I surprised? A little bit,” said Rosberg. “It wasn’t really clear who was the quickest car over one lap.
“It’s a fantastic result. It’s great for today. Of course this will be a tough race with rear degradation especially, but we are in a good position.”
But Hamilton’s luck ran out when his car failed in the morning’s final free practice session and the subsequent repairs required a new gearbox which, in turn, handed him a mandatory five-place grid penalty.
He qualified fourth, behind Alonso, but will start the race ninth. Brazilian Felipe Massa will start from fourth place in the second Ferrari after qualifying sixth behind Australian Mark Webber who was given a three-place grid penalty brought forward from last weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2013.
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