Rosberg puts on a Perfect Lap to take Pole
We all came into qualifying knowing that Mercedes don't have pace to fight for pole. The Bahrain Circuit is in direct contrast with the Shanghai International Circuit which hosted the Chinese Grand Prix last week. While the front limited features of the latter suits the Mercedes, the Bahrain International Circuit is rear limited i.e. harder on rear tyres, something Mercedes have always struggled on. But Nico Rosberg put on a perfect lap, extracting every bit of his car to take second pole position of his career and first consecutive pole position for the German team since 1953. He was helped by the fact that Fernando Alonso couldn't improve on his final run and thus could only qualify in 3rd place.
Alonso - In a very Strong Position for tomorrow's Race
Starting the race from 3rd place alongside his teammate Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso is in a strong position for tomorrow's race. Both the cars who've qualified in front of him- Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel are very hard on tyres while Fernando Alonso's Ferrari is relatively easier on tyres. Moreover, the three practice sessions suggest that Ferrari is really strong on high fuel loads/long runs. If Kimi Raikkonen is not able to put on a charge from the other side of top 10, like he did in Australia last month, Alonso is in a great position to take back to back victories.
Lotus - Not as fast as Expected in Qualifying
Coming into the Bahrain Grand Prix, everyone expected Lotus to put on a strong performance this weekend as it's a circuit which particularly suits their car. They were strong on low fuel runs in practice sessions but failed to turn this performance into results. Romain Grosjean locked his tyres on his flying lap as he failed to make into Q3 for the second time this season. Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen could only qualify in 9th place. Lotus weren't able to find the exact reason for the lack of pace but the Finn did complain of lack of balance. However, they were probably the fastest car on long runs and still have a decent chance of finishing on the podium. Raikkonen won the Australian Grand Prix starting from 7th place, this time he has to repeat that from one place lower on the grid(after Hamilton's penalty). The high temperatures in the Bahrain capital should help the Enstone team as well.
Force India - Looking strong and finally getting it right in qualifying
Force India emerged as the strongest midfielder this season, comfortably in top 10 in most practice sessions and looking even stronger in race. However, they rarely turned their single lap pace into qualifying due to variety of reasons during traffic. But today in Bahrain, both the cars made into Q3 and after Hamilton and Webber's penalty, Di Resta and Sutil will start from 5th and 6th place respectively. They looked faster than McLaren and very close to Mercedes on long runs and would thus be hoping for a strong result in tomorrow's race.
Grid Penalty hurt Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton's left rear tyre failed on his in-lap in FP3 and by the time he returned to the pits, he had damaged his car. The team were forced to change the suspension and gearbox and the latter resulted in a five place grid penalty for the British driver.This further raises questions on the rule of giving driver a penalty for technical reasons. Webber and Gutierrez also have three and five place grid penalty for tomorrow's race.
Button impresses again as he makes into Q3
Jenson Button impressed again in his dismal McLaren as he made into the final part of qualifying session. The British driver however didn't set a lap time in Q3 and has choice on tyre compound for the race. In a post race interview, Button said he might try a two-stop strategy which got him a fifth place finish last weekend in China.
Williams drivers put on an exactly same time but that was just enough to qualify them in 15th and 16th place. Daniel Ricciardo was again the faster of the Toro Rosso, qualifying in 13th place, less than a tenth of a second slower than Perez. Updates seem to be working for Caterham as Charles Pic was the fastest of the backmarker. Jules Bianchi was again impressive and split the two Caterhams as he qualified in 20th place.