Saturday, 14 April 2012

Rosberg takes first ever pole with superb China lap

Nico Rosberg finally ended his long wait for a pole position with a wonderful lap in China to secure his maiden pole position, and his team's first since 1955, which was taken by Juan Manuel Fangio at Monza.

Rosberg's pole came with an absolutely sensational lap which Sky Sports F1 presenter Anthony Davidson believed was one of "the best pole laps I've ever seen" as he took his maiden pole. Lewis Hamilton qualified 2nd but will start 7th after his five place grid penalty for a gearbox change, which means that Michael Schumacher is promoted onto the front row: A Mercedes lock out of the front row.

Jenson Button had a very average day
In the first part of qualifying it was surprising just how many drivers felt the need to use the soft tyre, such was how close it was. Ferrari looked under pressure for a while, and had to use the softs, but both drivers made it through, Alonso 2nd fastest. Jenson Button though also went onto the soft tyre, a real surprise, maybe just to make certain of his place in Q2. Mark Webber was the fastest man on medium tyres as he looked to be far more at ease with his Red Bull than Sebastian Vettel, who declined the offer of a newly-designed exhaust system, while the Australian accepted it. Sergio Perez was fastest of anybody, while Jean-Eric Vergne was the driver of the established teams eliminated in Q1. Vergne was beaten by his team mate Ricciardo, who was just one place ahead of him but seven tenths ahead of him. Vergne was eliminated with the usual suspects, Kovalainen, Petrov, Glock, Pic, De La Rosa and Karthikeyan. Everyone qualified within 107%.

Sebastian Vettel: Out in Q2 after an awful day
The second part of qualifying started with a very good effort from Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, yet again outperforming the car and getting it into Q3 with a time of 1.35.982. This time put him ahead of amongst others, Sebastian Vettel. Most drivers went for a two lap run in the session, including both Red Bull men. Webber was the fastest man in the session, and 0.331 seconds ahead of Vettel, which, quite incredibly, was the difference between Webber in first and Vettel in eleventh. The world champion failed to make it through to Q3 since the 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix and a major major shock. Felipe Massa's poor season continued with twelfth, and also eliminated were Pastor Maldonado, Bruno Senna, Paul di Resta, Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo.

The brilliant Rosberg, who is on pole for tomorrow
The Mercedes drivers, along with Hamilton and Raikkonen, were the first out on track in Q3. Rosberg set a scintillating lap of 1.35.121, a totally flawless attempt. After that superb lap, he got out of the car and didn't set another lap. Hamilton and Schumacher were five tenths behind and couldn't find the time to the young German driver. Kamui Kobayashi outlined Sauber's pace with an excellent fourth in qualifying, which is now third after Hamilton's penalty, and Jenson Button reckons he is the one to watch tomorrow. Kimi Raikkonen was fifth but starts fourth, while Button was very disappointing, only getting sixth, albeit now fifth. Mark Webber is sixth after a tough day for Red Bull, with Hamilton seventh following his penalty. Perez and Alonso are eighth and ninth after good performances, while Romain Grosjean didn't set a time in Q3 and is tenth.

So, a maiden pole position. Nico Rosberg will be delighted, but there is an air of confidence about Michael Schumacher in second. Sauber's brilliant season continues with Kobayashi starting third tomorrow. A brilliant Chinese Grand Prix in prospect.

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