SAKHIR, Bahrain – Nico Rosberg surprised the Formula One World Championship field be securing his second-career pole Saturday in Bahrain, giving Mercedes two-straight pole positions.
Rosberg’s lap of 1:32.330 was just enough to give him the pole over three-time defending Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel, who timed in at 1:32.584.
Rosberg set the pace initially in the final session of qualifying at 1:32.543, before Vettel replied with 1:32.584. But Rosberg’s second run set the issue beyond dispute as the German recorded his pole-winning lap at 1:32.330.
Alonso’s best was 1:32.667 after he aborted a messy final Q3 lap, while Lewis Hamilton’s sole run in the Mercedes yielded 1:32.762.
Mark Webber took his Red Bull around in 1:33.078, which left him fifth ahead of the Ferrari of Felipe Massa – the only Q3 runner to opt for medium tires – on 1:33.207. Paul di Resta continued to shade Force India team mate Adrian Sutil, as they came in seventh and eighth on 1:33.235 and 1:33.246 respectively.
Kimi Raikkonen couldn’t better 1:33.327 for Lotus, while Button aborted his lap without setting a time and so finished 10th with free tire choice for Sunday.
There are several grid penalties to apply, however. Hamilton gets a five-place grid drop for changing gearboxes prior to qualifying, Webber drops three places for his clash with Vergne in China, and Gutierrez five for his incident there with Sutil.