Vettel bags first pole of 2012 in Bahrain
21 April 2012 – After his promising form in practice, Sebastian Vettel has snatched Red Bull’s first pole position of the 2012 season at Sakhir. The Champion shares the front row with Lewis Hamilton, with their respective team-mates third and fourth. Mercedes is left highly disappointed, with Rosberg and Schumacher only fifth and 17th.
Following the off-track incidents of earlier this week, all in the Formula 1 paddock were pleased to see that colleagues had arrived at the track safely this morning.
Fernando Alonso may have felt the need to use Soft tyres immediately in Q1, but it was Mercedes generating headlines as Michael Schumacher sensationally fell out of the session at the very first hurdle; sitting in his garage with a DRS problem, the seven-time World Champion was knocked out as Heikki Kovalainen switched to the quicker compound and improved his lap time by 1.4 seconds. As Pastor Maldonado has a penalty, Schumacher will start from 17th. All cars made the 107 percent cut.
On F1’s last visit to Bahrain two years ago, race organisers elected to use the full-length Endurance Circuit. Back on the Grand Prix configuration today, its more flowing nature made for a dramatic end to the session as a number of contenders vied for the top spot. Hamilton led Button after the first Q3 runs, but Rosberg and both Red Bulls were also battling for the best place on the starting grid.
Jenson Button will set off from fourth; he compromised his chances by locking up at the ever difficult and tightening Turn 10. Rosberg did the same thing, compounding this by running deep at the final corner – he ended up fifth when another pole had been a genuine possibility. Webber snatched P1, only for Hamilton to beat him before Vettel followed suit.
Vettel’s first pole of 2012 is the 31st of his career, moving to just one behind 1992 title winner Nigel Mansell and the top five of all-time pole sitters. The result also marks a second successive Bahrain pole for the German.
Sunday’s 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix begins at 3pm local time (BST +2) and all events can be tracked through the interactive GPUpdate.net Live report