Skip to content

Rosberg wins inter-team battle to secure Bahrain pole

Apr 5, 2014, 12:04 PM EST

Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg has secured pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix after edging out teammate Lewis Hamilton in a tight inter-team battle on Saturday night in Bahrain.

The German driver’s time of 1:33.185 was good enough to secure him pole after Hamilton made a mistake in Q3, costing him a shot at bettering his teammate’s time and forcing him to settle for second place. Rosberg’s first lap had been 0.279 seconds faster than Hamilton’s initial effort, allowing him to pit and save a set of tires.

Daniel Ricciardo put in a good performance for Red Bull to line up third, but teammate Sebastian Vettel endured a disastrous session and dropped out in Q2 for the second time in three races.

Qualifying got underway as night fell in Bahrain, and many of the drivers got out early in the first session in order to post a banker lap time. Esteban Gutierrez was the first driver to cross the line, but his initial effort was soon bettered by compatriot Sergio Perez and Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, with the latter setting the first serious benchmark of 1:36.883. Daniel Ricciardo was the first to beat the German driver, edging him out by two-tenths of a second, and Fernando Alonso followed suit to move up into second place.

Predictably, Mercedes quickly took control of the session with its first lap times as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg moved into the top two positions, and enjoyed an advantage of more than one second over the rest of the field. Williams opted to keep its drivers in the pits to begin with before making a late run, and Valtteri Bottas immediately went P2 on the soft tire behind Hulkenberg, who had also made the switch to softs, and their teammates rallied to fill out the top four come the checkered flag.

As expected, the Caterham and Marussia drivers dropped out at the end of Q1, and they were joined by Adrian Sutil and Pastor Maldonado, with the latter being edged out by his teammate by 0.009 seconds. At the end of the session, Sutil appeared to deliberately block Grosjean, and earned himself a visit to the stewards’ office.

Q2 started in a quiet fashion as all of the drivers opted to sit in the pits for the first few minutes, but Bottas, Massa and Hulkenberg soon broke the silence and came out on soft tires. As this was the first dry qualifying of the season, it marked the first time that the new rule about starting the race on the Q2 tire came into force, meaning that drivers had to be extra careful not to overwork their Pirellis.

After seeing Hulkenberg and Kimi Raikkonen trade fastest lap times, Hamilton soon restored normal service to move up to P1, but the gap was smaller this time as Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso managed to get within one second of the Mercedes driver. Nico Rosberg refused to waver in his teammate’s presence, and moved up to first place. Williams opted to run on the medium tire in its first runs, whilst Sebastian Vettel remained in the pits and rested his hopes on one run at the end of the session.

Mercedes’ advantage was so great that both Hamilton and Rosberg could stay in the pits and save a set of tires, whilst the remaining 14 drivers all headed out for a final run. Vettel’s one and only lap time was nowhere near being good enough, and he dropped out of qualifying as a result, lamenting a gearbox problem. Compatriot Nico Hulkenberg also struggled and ended up in 12th place, whilst Toro Rosso’s dry pace wasn’t good enough to get either Jean-Eric Vergne or Daniil Kvyat into the top ten. They were joined in the dropzone by Gutierrez and Grosjean.

For the final part of qualifying, most of the drivers fitted a set of the soft tires and aimed to do two runs as the conditions became cooler, but Raikkonen bided his time and sat in the pits to begin with. Valtteri Bottas posted the first lap time of the session, and remained in P1 ahead of Perez and Massa until Nico Rosberg crossed the line over one second faster than the Finn. His only realistic challenger – teammate Lewis Hamilton – was three-tenths adrift with his first run, handing provisional pole to Rosberg after the first set of runs.

The drivers returned to the pits to regroup and fit a fresh set of tires, and all ten hit the track with two minutes to go so they could put in one final time. However, a mistake by Lewis Hamilton meant that he could not improve on his previous best lap time, handing pole to Rosberg by two-tenths of a second. Ricciardo improved to move up to P3, but he will drop down ten places on the grid due to a penalty. Bottas ran well to finish fourth ahed of Perez and Raikkonen, whilst Alonso struggled immensely and finished down in 10th place for Ferrari.

Having finished with a one-two in every practice session so far this weekend, Mercedes’ dominance came as little surprise on Saturday night. The team will now need to ensure that it gets its drivers home in the same positions tomorrow, but both Rosberg and Hamilton will be desperate to claim their second win of the season.

Latest Posts
  1. Straight No Chaser to sing “Back Home Again in Indiana” at 2015 Indy 500 (VIDEO)

    Dec 22, 2014, 6:02 PM EST

    Credit: LeAnn Mueller Credit: LeAnn Mueller

    The big-name a cappella group will carry on one of the 500’s greatest traditions next May.

  2. Ferrari chairman expects another tough season in 2015

    Dec 22, 2014, 5:22 PM EST

    Italy Ferrari Montezemolo Out AP

    Sergio Marchionne: “I think 2015 is going to be a reconstitution year.”

  3. Top NASCAR stories of 2014: No. 10 – Jimmie Johnson falls short of seventh championship

    Dec 22, 2014, 4:50 PM EST

    (Jason Merritt/Getty Images for dcp) Getty Images

    Jimmie Johnson not only fell short of his seventh Sprint Cup championship in 2014, he also recorded the worst single-season finish in his Cup career.

  4. Sale deadline extended for dormant Nashville Superspeedway

    Dec 22, 2014, 3:00 PM EST

    Firestone Indy 200 Getty Images

    1.33-mile concrete oval outside the Music City has not hosted major auto racing since 2011.

  5. NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 24 Martin Truex Jr.

    Dec 22, 2014, 2:00 PM EST

    Hollywood Casino 400 - Practice Getty Images

    Truex’s first year with Furniture Row Racing was largely disappointing.

  6. NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 23 Marcos Ambrose

    Dec 22, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

    Camping World RV Sales 301 - Practice Getty Images

    Ambrose narrowly missed clinching a Chase berth after his epic battle at the Glen with A.J. Allmendinger.

  7. MRTI Entry List update before the Christmas holiday

    Dec 22, 2014, 12:30 PM EST

    Photo via @IndyLights Photo via @IndyLights

    A quick roundup of who’s where at the moment in Indy Lights, Pro Mazda and USF2000.

  8. Scot Elkins will join Pro Mazda/USF2000 as Race Director

    Dec 22, 2014, 11:19 AM EST

    MazdaRoadToIndy

    IMSA’s Scot Elkins joins MRTI as race director.

  9. Carl Edwards: “I plan on winning 10 races and the championship”

    Dec 22, 2014, 10:15 AM EST

    EdwardsP9 Getty Images

    In interview, Carl Edwards sets some high goals for himself in first year with JGR.

  10. NASCAR: Jeremy Bullins promoted to Wood Brothers crew chief

    Dec 22, 2014, 9:29 AM EST

    Bullins Getty Images

    Bullins up to the Cup level as crew chief of Blaney’s No. 21.

  11. NASCAR: Dale Jr. expects even more performance in 2015

    Dec 21, 2014, 8:00 PM EST

    Ford EcoBoost 400 - Qualifying Getty Images

    Junior speaks highly, already, of new crew chief Greg Ives.

  12. Sutil rips F1’s pay driver situation

    Dec 21, 2014, 6:30 PM EST

    AUTO-PRIX-BRA-F1-PRESSER-SUTIL Getty Images

    Ex-Sauber driver Adrian Sutil calls out F1 pay-driver situation, although it could just be a case of sour grapes.

  13. WEC: 2015 sporting regulations for series released by FIA

    Dec 21, 2014, 5:30 PM EST

    AUTO-FRA-ENDURANCE-LE MANS Getty Images

    A number of tweaks are coming for the global sports car racing series.

  14. Late wreck ends hope of top-5 finish for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in dirt track race

    Dec 21, 2014, 4:58 PM EST

    (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Going back to his dirt track roots, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished eighth in the fifth annual Great Clips Battle at the Center in DuQuoin, Ill., on Saturday.

  15. Another week, another driver wedding; this time, it’s Ty Dillon’s turn (PHOTOS)

    Dec 21, 2014, 4:00 PM EST

    Lilly Diabetes 250 Getty Images

    The XFINITY Series driver for Richard Childress Racing marries girlfriend Haley Carey.

  16. UPDATED — Highway to Hell(cat): Owner wrecks 707-hp Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat one hour after buying it

    Dec 21, 2014, 2:54 PM EST

    (Photo courtesy Facebook via MotorAuthority.com) (Photo courtesy Facebook via MotorAuthority.com)

    With just 40 less horsepower than a 2015 Sprint Cup car, the new Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is VERY powerful. One new Hellcat owner, who bought it just one hour earlier, found out the hard way about all that power.

  17. Top NASCAR stories of 2014: No. 10 – Kurt Busch and “The Double”

    Dec 21, 2014, 2:30 PM EST

    Kurt Busch AP

    The Outlaw takes on the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same day.

  18. NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 22 Brian Vickers

    Dec 21, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

    FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks - Practice Getty Images

    Vickers made his full-time return to Sprint Cup action in 2014, which in itself was a victory.

  19. NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 21 Paul Menard

    Dec 21, 2014, 12:26 PM EST

    (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Paul Menard had a decent season at times in 2014, but fell short of making the Chase in the final qualifying race.

Video from NASCAR America

NASCAR America's 2014 blooper reel
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. B. Vickers (2277)
  2. K. Busch (2118)
  3. C. Coughlin (1983)
  4. D. Armstrong (1963)
  5. L. Cassill (1830)