Rosberg beats Hamilton to Bahrain pole
5 April 2014 – Nico Rosberg secured pole for the Bahrain Grand Prix in Saturday's night-time qualifying hour. Having finished second best to Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton during all three practice sessions, the German came out on top when it mattered. Daniel Ricciardo finished third, but drops to 13th with his grid penalty.
Heading into the final shootout, few would have backed Rosberg to take the challenge to Hamilton, who has been in fine form all weekend and took pole position at the previous Australian and Malaysian events.
But after being outpaced by Rosberg's 1:33.185 during their first timed runs in Q3, Hamilton made a crucial error on his final attempt by locking up and running wide at the first corner, ending his chances of improving.
This gave Rosberg his fifth career pole and ensured that his 150th start will be made from the front of the grid.
Ricciardo was one of few drivers to make gains on his final lap, moving up to third. This pushed Williams rival Valtteri Bottas down to fourth place, although the Finn still met his pre-qualifying target of a top five result.
Sergio Pérez bounced back from his disappointing start to place his Force India machine on the third row of the grid, just ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Räikkönen, who is making progress with the handling of his F14 T.
The McLarens of Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen took seventh and ninth, split by Felipe Massa's Williams, while Fernando Alonso rounded out the top ten positions after struggling for pace in the final segment.
Reigning quadruple World Champion Sebastian Vettel failed to make Q3 for the second time in three races.
The Red Bull driver, who spun out of final practice, missed the cut by six hundredths of a second, but will start tomorrow's race ahead of team-mate Ricciardo, following the Australian's aforementioned penalty.
Force India's Nico Hülkenberg also dropped out in Q2 after a mistake on his final lap, finishing 12th ahead of Toro Rosso duo Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Éric Vergne, Sauber's Esteban Gutiérrez and Lotus's Romain Grosjean.
Pastor Maldonado fell at the Q1 hurdle after being edged out by team-mate Grosjean. Adrian Sutil, who is under investigation for an incident with Grosjean late in the opening phase, was also eliminated in the Sauber.
Caterham finished ahead of Marussia in the battle at the back of the grid, with Kamui Kobayashi getting the better of Jules Bianchi. Marcus Ericsson and Max Chilton brought up the rear, a long way off their team-mates.
Sunday evening's 57-lap Bahrain Grand Prix gets underway at 6pm local time (GMT +3)