Speedy Rosberg Gives Mercedes Back-to-Back Poles

Nico Rosberg gave Mercedes their first back-to-back poles since 1955. In both of the first two qualifying sessions, Rosberg was high on the board, but it was in the third and final session that he showed what the Mercedes can do. He topped qualifying two-tenths ahead of Vettel’s Red Bull and three-tenths ahead of Alonso’s Ferrari.

Photo Copyright (c) Octane Photographic

The first session started quietly, as usual. Many of the teams opted for the hard prime tires, with Webber and Vettel the notable exceptions. As the clock ticked down, the usual suspects were up at the top of the chart. Perhaps unexpectedly, Pastor Maldonado was unable to set a fast enough lap in his Williams to continue on to Q2. He was in the drop zone along with Gutierrez, Pic, Bianchi, Chilton, and Van Der Garde. There was a minor fire in the Marussia pit following Q1. It was easily extinguished and there did not appear to be any damage to the car.

Heading into the second qualifying session, teams opted for the medium option tires. There is not too much difference between the two compounds, however the hard prime tires are expected to last for a longer stint. The original tire pairing (hard and soft) was changed following the grand prix in Malaysia with the announcement coming earlier this week.

The major shake-up on the timing board took place in the final seconds of the session. Raikkonen was in the drop zone along with both McLarens. After the dust settled, Raikkonen and Button had been able to get into Q3, leaving Grosjean, Perez, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Bottas, and Vergne in the drop zone.

When the drivers pulled out of the garage, everyone was on the medium tires with the exception of Felipe Massa. The Ferrari driver hit the track on hard tires. This could prove to be a very interesting strategy. He should be able to go a bit longer during his first stint and does not have to sacrifice too many qualifying positions due to Webber and Hamilton having grid penalties.

The times ticked up and Rosberg’s 1:32.330 stood as the day’s best time. Vettel and Alonso were right behind him. The only driver not to set a third session time was Jenson Button, who was content with his McLaren’s Q2 time. Prior to penalties, Hamilton was in P3, Webber in P4. Both of them will drop down the grid. Gutierrez also has a grid penalty, which will see him start the race at the back of the pack.

Pos. Driver Team

Q1

Q2

Q3

1

N. Rosberg Mercedes

1:33.364

1:32.867

1:32.330

2

S. Vettel Red Bull

1:33.327

1:32.747

1:32.584

3

F. Alonso Ferrari

1:32.878

1:33.316

1:32.667

4

F. Massa Ferrari

1:33.780

1:33.358

1:33.207

5

P. Di Resta Force India

1:33.762

1:33.335

1:33.235

6

A. Sutil Force India

1:34.048

1:33.378

1:33.246

7

M. Webber Red Bull

1:33.966

1:33.098

1:33.078

*3-position grid penalty

8

K. Raikkonen Lotus

1:33.827

1:33.146

1:33.327

9

L. Hamilton Mercedes

1:33.498

1:33.346

1:32.762

*5-position grid penalty

10

J. Button McLaren

1:34.071

1:33.701

11

R. Grosjean Lotus

1:33.498

1:33.762

12

S. Perez McLaren

1:34.310

1:33.914

13

D. Ricciardo Toro Rosso

1:34.120

1:33.974

14

N. Hulkenberg Sauber

1:34.409

1:33.976

15

V. Bottas Williams

1:34.425

1:34.105

16

J. Vergne Toro Rosso

1:34.314

1:34.284

17

P. Maldonado Williams

1:34.425

18

C. Pic Caterham

1:35.283

19

J. Bianchi Marussia

1:36.178

20

G. Van Der Garde Caterham

1:36.304

21

M. Chilton Marussia

1:36.476

22

E. Gutierrez Sauber

1:34.730

*5-position grid penalty

 

Facebook Twitter Email