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. NASCAR: Outcry causes GoDaddy to pull Super Bowl ad featuring Danica Patrick, puppy

    Jan 27, 2015, 10:41 PM EST

    Aaron's 312 Getty Images

    Negative backlash following ad’s premiere on Tuesday’s “Today” show leads to GoDaddy pulling it from Sunday’s big game.

  2. Indy Lights: Ed Jones leads Day 2 of Homestead road course test

    Jan 27, 2015, 8:55 PM EST

    Credit: IndyLights.com Credit: IndyLights.com

    The Lights contingent finish their two-day session on the Homestead road course before heading to the oval on Thursday.

  3. Sprint Cup champ Kevin Harvick: “I’m as comfortable as I’ve ever been”

    Jan 27, 2015, 7:12 PM EST

    (AP Photo/Steve Helber) Getty Images

    Following a dramatic Sprint Cup title victory in 2014, Harvick enters 2015 with less pressure – but not less motivated to continue his success.

  4. Gene Haas updates F1 team’s progress at NASCAR media tour

    Jan 27, 2015, 5:45 PM EST

    Gene Haas Formula One Press Conference Getty Images

    Gene Haas provides an update on his F1 team’s progress during NASCAR Media Tour.

  5. The King: NASCAR’s next great driver may be in XFINITY Series right now (video)

    Jan 27, 2015, 5:28 PM EST

    richard petty daytona rising 2014 Getty Images

    In a new promotional video for the XFINITY Series, Richard Petty says the next great NASCAR driver may be in the sport’s junior league right now.

  6. NFL legends join NASCAR stars in NBC Sports’ upcoming “Gridiron Challenge” (VIDEO)

    Jan 27, 2015, 4:58 PM EST

    nbcsports1 (1)

    Don’t miss this special event on Friday, Jan. 30, at 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

  7. Kurt Busch reasserts what he said about ex: “What I said was under oath”

    Jan 27, 2015, 4:34 PM EST

    Kurt Busch Kurt Busch

    Kurt Busch says he’s unsure when a decision will be made in the protective hearing case sought by his ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll

  8. NHRA wants to give fans ‘Baptism by Nitro’ in 2015

    Jan 27, 2015, 4:22 PM EST

    (Image courtesy NHRA) (Image courtesy NHRA)

    In an effort to attract new drag racing fans, the National Hot Rod Association has embarked upon a new marketing and social media program for 2015: “Baptism by Nitro”, featuring the sport’s fastest cars, Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars.

  9. Danica Patrick enters final year of contract but wants to stay at Stewart-Haas

    Jan 27, 2015, 3:46 PM EST

    NASCAR Sprint Media Tour - Day 2 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour - Day 2

    Car owner Gene Haas confirms this is the final year of Danica Patrick’s contract but says he wants Patrick back.

  10. NASCAR: J.J. Yeley will be BK Racing’s primary driver in 2015

    Jan 27, 2015, 3:15 PM EST

    Sprint Showdown - Qualifying Getty Images

    Yeley ran the final seven races of 2014 in BK’s No. 83 Toyota.

  11. Cast your vote: Which SHR driver will improve most in ’15?

    Jan 27, 2015, 2:53 PM EST

    SHR lineup AP

    While teammate Kevin Harvick won the Sprint Cup championship in 2014, Danica Patrick, Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart all came up short. Which driver will bounce back the most in 2015?

  12. Danica Patrick: 2014 was a success to build upon for ’15

    Jan 27, 2015, 2:45 PM EST

    Danica Patrick AP

    While some media may think 2014 was a sub-par year for her, Danica Patrick believes last season was just the opposite, a season of growth and improvement that she hopes to extend into the 2015 Sprint Cup campaign.

  13. Al Unser to be recognized at Legends Day this May

    Jan 27, 2015, 2:15 PM EST

    Photo: IMS Photo: IMS

    Al Unser Sr. gets a day of honor at IMS this month of May.

  14. NASCAR, RTA are communicating but not commenting much about it

    Jan 27, 2015, 2:08 PM EST

    Party in the Poconos 400 - Practice Getty Images

    RTA chairman Rob Kauffman deflected several questions Tuesday about the organization, which represents virtually every team in NASCAR’s premier series.

  15. Kurt Busch: Indy 500 return is “something we haven’t talked about”

    Jan 27, 2015, 2:05 PM EST

    Kurt Busch AP

    Former Sprint Cup champ finished sixth in first ‘500’ appearance last year.

  16. Bobby Hamilton Jr. makes comeback bid in ARCA

    Jan 27, 2015, 1:32 PM EST

    Bobby Hamilton Jr. (Photo courtesy Carter 2 Motorsports) Bobby Hamilton Jr. (Photo courtesy Carter 2 Motorsports)

    One year after his last comeback effort fell short, Bobby Hamilton Jr. is back to try it again with Carter 2 Motorsports in a full-time ARCA season racing effort.

  17. Sauber confirms Friday launch date, and HP partnership

    Jan 27, 2015, 1:15 PM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Brazil Getty Images

    Sauber will have its new car launch on Friday, and also has confirmed HP partnership.

  18. Start times for 2015 Camping World Truck Series races

    Jan 27, 2015, 1:00 PM EST

    NCWTS logo

    The 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule and race times was announced Tuesday.

  19. Start times for 2015 XFINITY Series races

    Jan 27, 2015, 12:40 PM EST

    xfinity series logo

    Race times for the inaugural season of the new Xfinity Series were announced Tuesday.

  20. NASCAR: HScott announces second car for Michael Annett

    Jan 27, 2015, 12:32 PM EST

    GoBowling.com 400 - Practice Getty Images

    Annett will bring his Pilot/Flying J sponsorship with him to HScott Motorsports, where he’ll team up with Justin Allgaier.

Video from NASCAR America

Why 2015 is a big year for Danica
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. Gordon (2272)
  2. K. Schrader (1778)
  3. J. Clements (1776)
  4. K. Grala (1666)
  5. S. Gallagher (1618)
  1. M. Waltrip (1568)
  2. M. Lira (1564)
  3. R. Hornaday Jr. (1561)
  4. B. Scott (1480)
  5. B. Vickers (1468)