Rosberg turns tables on Hamilton for Bahrain pole

2014 Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying

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The momentum was with Lewis Hamilton going into qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix as he led all three practice sessions on the desert track.

But team mate Nico Rosberg beat him to pole position and will start first for the second year in a row in Bahrain. Mercedes locked out the front row for the first time the year.

Daniel Ricciardo took third for Red Bull but will be moved back due to his grid penalty.


Q1 was the first session of the weekend which did not end with both Mercedes drivers on top of the times. Nico Hulkenberg led the way for Force India, setting a 1’34.874.

But there was little doubt Mercedes were capable of going much quicker. Will most drivers used a set of the much faster soft tyres to reach Q2 the Mercedes pair only used the mediums.

So did Daniel Ricciardo, though unlike the silver cars he needed two runs to ensure he got through. Sebastian Vettel, however, was unable to beat the Mercedes drivers’ times even with the soft tyres.

Pastor Maldonado was knocked out in the final moments of the session by Romain Grosjean. Just nine-thousandths of a second separated the two Lotuses.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

17Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault1’36.663
18Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari1’36.840
19Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault1’37.085
20Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari1’37.310
21Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault1’37.875
22Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari1’37.913


All weekend long Rosberg had trailed Hamilton in every session. But he gave his team mate a wake-up call in second practice, heading the times with a 1’33.708, almost two-tenths of a second quicker than Hamilton.

The pair only needed to run once in Q2 – using the soft tyres they will start tomorrow’s race on.

Ricciardo was third-fastest for Red Bull but team mate Sebastian Vettel didn’t accompany him to the top-ten shoot out. The world champion had a gear shift problem on his first run which got worse before his second.

Vettel missed the last place in Q3 by six-hundredths of a second, losing out to Kimi Raikkonen. But the gap between the Williams drivers was even narrower – the pair set identical times to within a thousandth of a second.

Both Toro Rossos failed to make the cut and for the first time this year it was Sergio Perez,not Nico Hulkenberg, who reached the top ten shoot-out for Force India.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’34.985
12Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’35.116
13Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Renault1’35.145
14Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Renault1’35.286
15Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’35.891
16Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’35.908


Rosberg carried the momentum into Q3 and increased his margin over Hamilton with his first run. A 1’33.185 put him almost three-tenths of a second clear of his team mate, who ran wide at turn eight on his first run,

That left Hamilton with one chance to beat Rosberg to pole position. But his final effort went wrong at the first corner – he locked up at turn wide, ran onto the run-off, and Rosberg’s race engineer got on the radio to tell him pole position was his.

Mercedes have enjoyed an advantage of around a second over their rivals for most of the weekend, so it may have come as a surprise to find Ricciardo within seven-tenths of a second of them in third place. But his ten-place grid penalty from Malaysia guarantees he will start much further back.

Valtteri Bottas will be promoted in his place, the Williams driver finally delivering on the car’s potential in the fist dry qualifying session this year. Sergio Perez will be promoted alongside him on the second row.

The highest Ferrari on the grid belong to Kimi Raikkonen, who beat Jenson Button by less than two hundredths of a second.

The other Ferrari of Fernando Alonso ended the session tenth behind Massa and Magnussen.

Top ten in Q3

1Nico RosbergMercedes1’33.185
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’33.464
3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault1’34.051
4Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’34.247
5Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’34.346
6Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’34.368
7Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’34.387
8Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’34.511
9Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes1’34.712
10Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’34.992

2014 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei

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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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92 comments on “Rosberg turns tables on Hamilton for Bahrain pole”

  1. Nice job Mercedes.

  2. WTH Nico?? I put you for pole position in my predictions for the first two races but yo dont get it but when I put Hamilton for P1 in Bahrain yo get the pole position! Damn it! Great run BTW.

    1. @1abe
      Ha, same with me!

    2. I hate him for this pole :) Totally ruined my prediction. But it’s nice to see Nico giving Lewis a cold shower. After his win in Malaysia HAM was so full of himself…

      1. How was he full of himself? By destroying everyone maybe haha.

        1. With comments like: I blew Nico away… a dash of humility never hurt anyone…

          1. Except he didn’t actually say that. Nice try.

          2. @klaas That was misquoted. He never said that.

          3. Lewis said “he is improving and picking up the pace” about Nico.

            Sounds a bit condescending.

            I didn’t make that up, here’s the source.

          5. That’s not a source, that’s lazy copy and paste journalism where they all repurpose each others articles. If one guy posts a misquote, they all follow along.

            This very site already debunked the incorrect quote.


          6. I retract my statement then…

    3. Same for me, damn u Nico

    4. It completed mine. I feel very schadenfreude right now ;)

  3. Good job by Rosberg and especially :D.Ricciardo. What a drive by the RBR Aussie . As for Lewis :( .

    1. The day RB10 becomes a race winner Seb Vettel vs. Dan Ricciardo (and vs Hamilton, Rosberg and eventually Ferrari duo) it will be epic.

  4. Word has it Alonso was having some engine issues.

  5. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    5th April 2014, 17:25

    At last Kimi!!! or was there any problem in Fernando’s car? I didn’t see the quali, I’m at work :P

    1. Alonso made several mistakes on his flying lap. No problem with his car.

      1. He had engine problems, loosing power on the straight lines. Source: fox sports

      2. @kingshark He was losing power all the way through Qualy.

    2. Happy for Kimi .He needs this boost .

      1. Actually, nevermind. On Sky Alonso said that he kept losing power on every lap. Makes sense considering that he was 5 tenths slower in Q3 than in Q2.

        1. Ferrari ‘s quali report mentioned no problem with his car, just that he failed to get the best lap in Q3.

  6. The number of issues on the Red Bulls -especially Vettel’s car- is getting kind of ridiculous; reminiscent of 2010, but now with a much more matured driver, it will be interesting to see how it works out.

  7. Raikkonen’s lap looked perfect from his onboard. Couldn’t have gone much quicker.

    1. A lock-up towards the end, maybe didn’t cost him time. His lap was fine.

  8. Why does FI not give both drives 2 laps in end of Q2 on softer tyres???

  9. Well, as a Finn I’m pretty excited about tomorrow’s race. Hoping that Bottas will get the first podium of his career.

    1. Oh man, that would be great for him.

    2. @diceman Hoping for that too, i have a bet on him for a podium ;) Looking good for him, was a great Q3 lap in that he improved the most out of everyone. i’m just slightly worried about Perez – although i admit i would be even more worried if it was Hulkenberg!

  10. Kimi only needs 3 races to beat Alonso, and remember Q1 Aussie he also only needed 1 lap and Alonso almost could not get trough. The rain saved Alonso for 2 races and I think someone will soon move to Mclaren.

    1. There is no chance of that happening now Ron Dennis is back running things

      1. Ron has said that he’ll do anything he thinks necessary to lift his team and make it a frontrunner again. So if he feels that they need a first class driver and they find it in Alonso, I’m sure he’d do anything to get him, despite their clash back in 2007.

    2. Lol haha Kimi is awful he as been convincingly shown up in dry and wet. Alonso has far better pace. What makes me lol though is those sying it proves how great Alo is. I mean seriosuly Kimi was Gro whipping boy 2nd half of last year Kim is past it in his devolopement he peaked along time ago. FA would be WC if he drove the Lotus last few years else how can Gro be only guy keeping wit the Bulls its certainly not talent.

      1. “FA would be WC if he drove the Lotus last few years”

        Just lol’d.

        1. Maybe for you it is or u telling me Alonso would not have been beating Rbull in Suzuka if he was in Lotus last year. I mean if Gro can stay close Alo would wipe floor. For the past few seasons F1 was alot about tyres i rest my case, who had best tyre wear?

      2. so far it seems like bottas is faster than massa and was also faster slightly than maldonado. Maldonado is the same speed as grosjean. Considering that kimi was around about the same speed as grosjean we can establish a pecking order even without knowing the relative performance of alonso and kimi.

        bottas > kimi > grosjean > maldonado > massa

        I personally would put alonso after bottas in terms of qualifying pace so he and kimi should be fairly well matched in that respect.

        1. Massa has outqualified bo
          ttas 2:1. How is botts better?

    3. I think someone will soon move to Mclaren

      I wonder what is there for him to win though.

      Even at its best (2012) the McLaren was handicapped by its reliability and its pit organization.

      This year the McLaren is hardly much better than the Ferrari, if at all.

      As great a driver Alonso is, and for all the complains Ferrari gets, the hard truth is that Ferrari is the best Alonso can do given the circumstances.

    4. Kimi only needs 3 races to beat Alonso,

      Alonso had PU issues. As good as Raikkonen is, such a difference in comparison to the likes of Alonso could only have been due to mech. issues.

    5. @erix – You could at least try to hide your irrational hatred of Alonso for a change

    6. @erix what is with your hate for alonso? Stop it

  11. You guys think Vettel will need a new gearbox or not?

    1. To be honest I think his issues weren’t that severe and his lap just generally wasn’t perfect. He should be good without having to change, but his ratios are worryingly short.

      1. It’s a potential gearbox change. He probably will get the 5 grid penalty.

      2. @vettel1 – the ratios are fixed for the entire season – with the lack of power they have to run shorter gears anyway. But I guess they might use the joker to change ratios if Renault can catch up with the engine.

        1. Ever heard of Torque?

        2. Seems likely they will have to do that prior to Spa and Monza @tmf42 – at least partially extending the higher gears (as their top speed is severely lacking at the moment).

      3. I think they’re running the short ratios to try and improve their acceleration to minimise the impact of their decreased engine power (so they only lack top speed and not acceleration too). I imagine when renault get their act together they’ll use their joker to change their ratios to something more sensible, probably in the fortnight between the monaco and canada races.

  12. Well done Nico

  13. It’s nice to see Caterham only two tenths of a Sauber, four off a Lotus. Not bad, considering the size of the team.

  14. Red Bull really should have had Dan splitting the two Mercs at the top of the table in the first two races. I clearly point the finger at Red Bull for this not being the situation. I’m happy to see that not even Red Bull or Charlie Whiting can take the beaming happy smile from Dans face! And OH how I will relish every time that Dan wipes the smile off Sebs face. Dan is younger, fitter, faster, braver and more hungry. And he will do it again and again and again to Seb…but I could be wrong F1 fans

  15. The headline author couldn’t contain his excitement on this result. ….. :D

    1st pole potential 1st DNF for Nico, as per Lewis this season.

  16. I think there is a safety issue about braking with the new hybrid power train systems. There have been at least three incidents where dangerous and erratic braking, way outside the drivers control has happened. There seems to be a less than seemless join between energy harvesting braking and conventional braking. Cars suddenly twitching sideways under braking for no driver related reason. If I’m right and this is the case then it is predictable that this issue will cause a nasty accident. (It nearly did at least once already with Kobayashi)

    1. Cars suddenly twitching sideways under braking for no driver related reason

      Are you sure it’s just down to energy harvesting? Rear grip can be lost for many reasons, not just energy harvesting.

    2. had the same thought. The brake by wire isn’t as fool proof as conventional systems but I guess they just need time to work out all the kinks.

  17. Well, at least it was interesting session.

  18. It seems it will be an interesting race. Rosberg against Hamilton and Alonso, Vettel and Hulkenberg close to eachother with the eye of the tiger after disappointing qualifyings.

    Should be fun enough.

    1. I don’t think that they will come very far. ALO, VET and RIC have massive disadvantages in top speed. HUL might climb up a few positions though.

      1. Maybe, maybe not. Without issues, the RB car was quick enough to be third (see RIC’s time), and Raikkonen’s position shows that Ferrari isn’t that far behind.

        1. Lol Albert how can Alo challenge Ham and Ros from 9th

          1. Eh… I haven’t said anything about Alonso challenging Hamilton.

            I haven’t said anything about anyone challenging Hamilton, for that matter.

      2. RIC has basically the same top speed as Bottas, so not that slow. @tmf42

  19. In general i didn’t think qualifying was that exiting. Instead of all the helicopter shots id rather see more onboard footage. Now it looked rather slow, cars going out on track one at a time. None the less looking forward to tomorrow.

  20. On the timing app it said that Hamilton went out on a used set of Softs for his first run in Q3, is there any way of confirming this? I’ve tweeted Mercedes but doubt I’ll get a reply.

  21. I do not think McLaren is going as fast as they should. They should have at least one car in top 5 and both in top 7. I know Magnussen is a rookie but he can do better than he did i Q3.

  22. I think the qualifying podium needs a caption competition.

    1. OK:

      LEWIS, Think positive and keep smiling”.

      NICO, So who’s the $20million driver today.

      DAN, So who’s the $20million driver today.

      1. @aadvark, Lewis: “damn!”, Nico: “haha, he’d thought he was faster then me”, Ricciardo: “Im always here but it never counts, why is this happening to me!?”

    2. @aardvark Ricciardo: “3rd but i’m actually 13th. Guess that’s better than 2nd and disqualified!”

  23. What are the Parc Fermé rules?
    Alonso says his car is losing power; are the team allowed to investigate and rectify the cause overnight?
    Similarly with Vettel; obviously he will have a five place drop if they change the gearbox, but are they allowed to investigate and replace anything outside the gearbox overnight while the car is in parc fermé?

    1. i’ve been wondering the same thing. Losing power sounds like a major issue.

    2. I was expecting Vettel to have a gearbox change, but till now there is no news.

  24. It was sad to see redbull use short gear ratios to try to keep on power with mercedes. This is the first year in oh so long where engine manufacturer dictates results. Redbull may have a better car then mercedes but are 1 second a lap slower. This is wrong, engine homogation should not be in place until there is parity in power, then the best team can win. What if redbull may well have developed the best car in the history of f1, but be barred from winning by the renault engine which in homologated form is 100hp down on mercs engine. I would be happy if they are underpowered and still be able to develop, like teams are able to develop their chasis. But 100hp… You can not make that up in chassis a gear ratios.

    1. I think you might be overestimating how locked in the cars are due to homologation. All the add-on’s to the power units are not homologated so there is room for improvement in many ways. I highly doubt FIA/F1 would allow a team to lock itself into domination this way, let alone the teams never agreeing to that possibility, let alone they not be crying foul loudly and from the highest mountain by now if in fact the season is now pre-ordained.

      The standard response still applies when one team dominates…’It’s up to the other teams to compete.’ And understanding that homologation does not mean everything is now locked in place should lessen that concern.

    2. Didn’t RB like it when they could use ‘Renault’ engines to blow into the diffuser for extra downforce? All the teams were given the same amount of time to develop the engines.

      Let’s just accept Merc did a good job at it along with their chassis. I don’t see other Merc teams beating RB to say it is only because of the engine.

  25. Michael Brown (@)
    5th April 2014, 18:49

    Bahrain has brought the best out of the new cars so far. The cars are plenty fast around the track, even if their cornering speed is reduced.

    However with the fuel flow restriction in effect for the race, I see the cars lapping sluggishly like they have for the last two races.

  26. Very good to see Checo show Quali form – best wishes for tomorrow.
    Good to see Gutierrez driving a couple solid spins

    1. Impressive by Checo. If anyone thought that he would soon disappear from F1 after he was dumped by McLaren it looks like he might prove them wrong in 2014.

  27. I wonder when the last time Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, and Hulkenberg were all out-qualified by their teammates in the same session (regardless of the fact that Alonso had some obvious issues)

    1. New winds are blowing and that’s great to see if you ask me :)

      1. Agree. And on another note many of the new rulles are fine because they make F1 more relevant to the mainstream car industry which again impacts R&D funding for F1. The only two rules I really do not like is 1) the fuel flow limit and 2) the tight limit on ude of tires for a F1 weekend. It complicates F1 viewing in particular for other people than neirds like us, make it difficult to keep track of the situation during the race and reduces the speed.

  28. And everyone was tired of Red Bull dominance? Mercedes will have the season wrapped up in a nice bow before we even get to the summer break. Unless the Renault and Ferrari powered teams find a miracle.

    1. @irejag when we reach season 4 of the merc domination, then this sentiment is valid… (ehh maybe after season 2 hehe)

      For now, it’s a jump start to ONE season, and perhaps 1 title. We’ve yet to see if it’s a new “era of domination” or just a really impressive season from merc

  29. Ric has been the stand out driver of the season so far IMO, he is really showing his critics that thought he didn’t the RB drive. sad to think that he should second in the drivers championship if it wasn’t for RB’s stuff ups. i really hope he gets a good run at it in china were the RB10 should be a bit stronger!

  30. Really poor performance by Hamilton, after the practice sessions it was looking like a demolition job, it was infact because Rosberg blew Hamilton away!

    If the car stays this dominant than Rosberg will be favourite for the title, he’s got the speed to beat Hamilton fair and square!

    1. don’t think so …hamilton made a mistake in qually but look how much quicker he is than rosberg in section 2 ….expect him to be past in the first 4 laps

  31. What can I say?? Dan’s the man. I was one of his biggest critics when he got that Red Bull seat, but it looks like that Marko guy actually knows what he’s doing.

    Also thought it’s been a really poor showing from the 4 time WDC. 2 exits out of 3 races in Q2 when his teammate put the car in P2 and P3.

  32. “If the car stays this dominant than Rosberg will be favourite for the title, he’s got the speed to beat Hamilton fair and square!”

    Except that its still 2-1 in favour of Hamilton on PACE, and only has a points advantage because of a mechanical failure on Lewis’ car. Just like last year when he won more races because Lewis’ car letting him down.

    Does he have the pace to beat him ‘fair’ and square? No. But life isn’t fair, so yes, he can beat him.

    1. Qualifying for the last two races as been in the rain, anything can happen. The first dry session and Hamilton was blown away, let’s see if Lewis can keep up with Nico in the race or else it will be looking very bleak for him.

      Last year Rosberg had more failures than Hamilton so you’re wrong there. He doesn’t have the pace to beat him fair and square?? What happened yesterday then??

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