Rosberg storms to Sakhir pole position
20 April 2013 – Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg claimed pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix with a stunning time of 1:32.330 in Saturday's qualifying session. The German, who posted two laps strong enough for the top spot, ended the shootout phase 0.254 seconds clear of nearest rival Sebastian Vettel, with Fernando Alonso third.
In similar conditions to the final practice session this morning, usual suspects Alonso and Vettel set the early pace, heading the timesheets in Q1 and Q2 respectively. As the final segment got underway, Rosberg emerged as a serious threat for pole with his initial time of 1:32.543, while many drivers opted for just one timed run.
Kimi Räikkönen ended up as the leading Lotus driver in what was a massively disappointing session for the Enstone-based outfit, with Romain Grosjean being denied a place in Q3 by Jenson Button. The latter chose not to post a time in the final phase and will therefore have free choice over the tyres he starts with on Sunday.
At the back of the field, Charles Pic put his car upgrades to good use and comfortably outqualified Marussia's Jules Bianchi, while Giedo van der Garde got the better of Max Chilton. All four men will gain places after Esteban Gutiérrez, who was the final Q1 victim, drops to the back of the grid with the penalty he picked up at Shanghai.
After penalties: Bahrain Grand Prix starting grid
Sunday afternoon's 57-lap race at Sakhir begins at 3pm local time (GMT +3) and, as with all sessions, can be tracked via the GPUpdate.net Live Report feature