Rosberg puts Mercedes on pole again in Bahrain

2013 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Nico 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.


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

17Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’34.425
18Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’34.730
19Charles PicCaterham-Renault1’35.283
20Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth1’36.178
21Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1’36.304
22Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth1’36.476


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

11Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’33.762
12Sergio PerezMcLaren1’33.914
13Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’33.974
14Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari1’33.976
15Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1’34.105
16Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’34.284


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

1Nico RosbergMercedes1’32.330
2Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’32.584
3Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’32.667
4Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’32.762
5Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’33.078
6Felipe MassaFerrari1’33.207
7Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’33.235
8Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’33.246
9Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’33.327
10Jenson ButtonMcLaren

2013 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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70 comments on “Rosberg puts Mercedes on pole again in Bahrain”

  1. 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.

    1. 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.

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

    3. #OopsHeDidItAgain

      1. You realise this isn’t Twitter right??

        1. You realise he’s joking right?

          1. still, people find that really annoying. The joke was good but not the way he typed it.

      2. I said Oops they did it again on Twitter ;-)

        1. The fact that it really annoyed someone makes it much funnier.

          1. and the fact that they wasted unrecoverable time complaining about it too….GaL

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

      1. 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).

        1. 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.

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

      3. @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!

      4. 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.

        1. I think Ferrari will be a bit more discreet this time.

          “Fifty, Felipe, Fifty!”*

          *Fernando Is Faster Than You

        2. @hohum

          he made no effort to save “medium” tyres using them for every lap of qualifying

          So did Vettel, so Red Bull obviously feel the hard tyre is the tyre to be on in the race. Which may be true enough, as they’ll likely last longer and aren’t much slower than the mediums so hopefully we’ll see Vettel actually pushing somewhat!

          1. My fingers are crossed!

  2. Eyes on the Ferraris tomorrow.

  3. 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)
    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.

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      20th April 2013, 13:30

      I mean their race pace and kindness to the tyres in combination is the best right now.

      Lotus is kinder on the tyres, but their race pace isn’t as good.

      1. Lotus’ race pace is as good as Ferrari..

        1. But they dont have Alonso. hehe :D

          1. I Love the Pope
            20th April 2013, 15:38

            It would be better for them to have the THREE time champion Vettel instead of that two time guy.

            just kidding

          2. …or track position. Its a big ask from back there.

      2. I think qualifying means more when compared to Lotus.

  5. 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.

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

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

    1. @tmf42 sadly, that part doesn’t get you any points. I wonder of he’s shot himself in the foot by going for a more qualifying orientated set-up, but we shall see.

      1. @vettel1 – we’ll see tomorrow. I think the Mercedes would struggle anyway but the pole could help him to make the podium like it did for Hamilton in China.

        1. @tmf42 true, and Räikkönen is well out of position so his main competition is going to be from Alonso and Vettel only (unless Massa makes use of the strategy and race pace).

    2. And what is wrong with chess I must ask?? :D

      I like chess :c

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

    1. I saw it at 14/1 during Q2 ;)

  9. 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?

    1. @prisoner-monkeys Apparently that was part of the reason for the decision. If Massa gets another strong start he could well be in the play tomorrow.

    2. “startegy” what an excellent word for it.

  10. 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. 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.

    1. I think Kimi will spare a pit stop and will be really competitive tomorrow.

    2. tough wood!

    3. The ferraris could work together to dispose of vettel at the start.

      I’m not sure why they’d do that: Massa and Alonso will be out for themselves on lap one as will everybody else, so I highly doubt there’ll be any collaborations especially considering the main target on lap one has to be Rosberg!

  12. Wow, didn’t expect Mercedes to grab PP.

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

    1. +1. Would love to see Massa back on form.

      1. @sgt-pepper

        You win the POTY (photo of the year), congratulation…your photo is amazing


  13. 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 (@)
    20th April 2013, 14:10

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

    1. Or he’s used up all his bad luck…

      1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        20th April 2013, 14:39

        I just remember I gave hiim 5th on Prediction Championship. Llet’s hope he has enough luck to grab that place.

  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

    1. Lotus must have went into wrong direction with Kimi’s setup this morning. Or he might have just cocked up the only shot he had in Q3.

    2. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      20th April 2013, 17:37

      @um1234 Let’s not forget he will go up 2 places for Hamilton and Webber penalties. And remember what he did in Australia from 7th. Of course this track is dry.

      1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        20th April 2013, 17:39

        oh, just one, cause Webber goes down 3 places, not 5

  16. Alonso will be P1 before the first corner: he’s starting on the clean side and he rarely messes up on starts. He will also be among the last of the front-runners to pit (apart from Massa who’s starting on hard tyres). All this means it will probably be a boring Alonso parade with little meaningful lead changes. And I don’t have a problem with that at all.

    1. I Love the Pope
      20th April 2013, 15:40

      Having not seen his championships, the Alonso fandom thing is a mystery to me. He’s always been not quite good enough in the era that I’ve watched.

  17. Can’t wait for Lewis to nail catalunya :-D

  18. I just had a look through all the predictions to see how many people voted Rosberg for pole… There were 4! Going to be interesting to see what the top scores are for the weekend.

  19. Anybody think lotus went less aggressive on kimi’s setup to try a two stopper? They were surprised how long he was able to run yesterday

    1. I think you have nailed it, a lot of cars seem to have compromised set-ups, it can only be for tyre strategy, whereas the F Indias get to look good but will probably suffer high “deg.”

  20. For me Ferrari and Force India are the teams to watch tomorrow. Ferrari’s pace on the hard compound is downright scary and Massa has found himself in a brilliant position there on the second row and starting on primes, while Force India looks to have found the best compromise in order to be rather-quick and consistent on both compounds and are also taking full advantage of the third row at the start.

    Call me crazy but I wouldn’t rule out a Ferrari 1-2 tomorrow with one of the Force India guys in for a podium finish (if Vettel hits trouble of sorts again).

  21. Button’s celebratory note over the radio to his crew for scraping into Q3 shows how low standards have fallen at McLaren since Lewis left.

  22. Alonso and Massa had great Race Starts All through Last year and this year. I would’nt be surprised if they are leading 1, 2 by the first corner. I even feel that Massa might Lead into the first corner instead of Alonso. Vettel has to really improvise his start to get ahead if he has to have any chance of winning. Eitherway whoever gets the first corner has the best chance of Victory. Although if it is Massa it will be handed over to Alonso.

    My Bet …. The Race is all set for a Procession tomorrow !!!

  23. A lot of people compare the current F1 to Chess.
    I think it’s more of a black jack – You have some strategy, but it all depends on luck and teams must go with what they get in the race. We can’t really predict whats coming, but can try to play with what is being given to us.

  24. That’s one of the rare occasions Felipe try something different. In fact I don’t remember he qualifying on hards or something like that.

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