• Rosberg Takes Pole in Bahrain

    Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg took pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix from Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
    Rosberg beat Vettel by 0.254 seconds with Alonso a further 0.083secs behind.
    Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Mark Webber qualified fourth and fifth, but will be demoted five and three places as a result of grid penalties.
    That means Ferrari’s Felipe Massa will start fourth ahead of Force India’s Paul di Resta.
    The Scot’s team-mate Adrian Sutil qualified seventh and will start sixth, ahead of Webber, Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen, who qualified ninth, Hamilton and McLaren’s Jenson Button.
    Hamilton earned a five-place penalty after suffering a tyre failure in final practice which damaged his gearbox, requiring it to be changed.
    The Englishman, who will start ninth, said he felt it was unfair to be penalised as a result of a problem caused by external factors but added he would try his best to make up.
    Webber will start seventh following a three-place penalty as he was blamed for causing a collision with Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne in China last weekend.
    Button scraped through into the top 10 shoot-out in the uncompetitive McLaren and took 10th place having not set a time in the final part of qualifying.
    Starting grid:
    1. Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes 1min 32.330secs
    2. Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Red Bull 1:32.584
    3. Fernando Alonso (Spa) Ferrari 1:32.667
    4. Felipe Massa (Brz) Ferrari 1:33.207
    5. Paul di Resta (GB) Force India 1:33.235
    6. Adrian Sutil (Ger) Force India 1:33.246
    7. Mark Webber (Aus) Red Bull 1:33.078* Three-place grid penalty
    8. Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Lotus 1:33.327
    9. Lewis Hamilton (GB) Mercedes 1:32.762* Five-place grid penalty
    10. Jenson Button (GB) McLaren no time
    – – – – – – – – – –
    11. Romain Grosjean (Fra) Lotus 1:33.762
    12. Sergio Perez (Mex) McLaren 1:33.914
    13. Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Toro Rosso 1:33.974
    14. Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Sauber 1:33.976
    15. Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Williams 1:34.105
    16. Jean-Eric Vergne (Fra) Toro Rosso 1:34.284
    – – – – – – – – – –
    17. Pastor Maldonado (Ven) Williams 1:34.425
    18. Charles Pic (Fra) Caterham 1:35.283
    19. Jules Bianchi (Fra) Marussia 1:36.178
    20. Giedo van der Garde (Ned) Caterham 1:36.304
    21. Max Chilton (GB) Marussia 1:36.476
    22. Esteban Gutierrez (Mex) Sauber 1:34.730* Five-place grid penalty
  • Hamilton Takes 5 Place Grid Penalty

    Lewis Hamilton will drop five places on the grid for the 2013 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix following a gearbox change, Mercedes have confirmed.

    The 2008 world champion suffered an apparent left-rear tyre delamination at the end of final practice on Saturday morning and following an inspection of his F1 W04, the team opted to replace the gearbox before qualifying.

    Hamilton becomes the third driver who will drop places following qualifying in Sakhir. Mark Webber was given a three-place grid penalty for tangling with Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne at the previous race in China, while Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez received a five-place penalty in Shanghai for causing a collision with Force India’s Adrian Sutil.

  • Alonso Fastest in Final Practice

    Fernando AlonsoFerrari’s Fernando Alonso beat Red bull’s Sebastian Vettel in final practice at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
    The Spaniard was 0.101 seconds quicker than the world champion, who did not complete a flying lap on the faster of the two tyre options.
    Vettel’s team-mate Mark Webber was third fastest, 0.133secs behind Alonso, ahead of Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen.
    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was fifth as 0.5secs separated the top nine.
    Hamilton toured back to the pits at the end of the session with a failure, which left the rear tyre at an angle of 45 degrees.
    It appeared initially as if the tyre may have failed.
    Lotus’s Romain Grosjean was sixth, ahead of the Force Indias of Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta, Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg and Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg.
    Ferrari’s Felipe Massa was 11th ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button.
    Alonso set the pace despite a spin earlier in the session. He lost control as he put the power down on the exit of Turn Two but was able to rejoin despite the car ending up in the gravel.
    Vettel completed two-thirds of his flying lap on the softer ‘medium’ tyre before being held up by one of the Caterhams, at which the German demonstrated his exasperation by waving his hand out of the cockpit.
    Vettel had been was just over 0.1secs slower than Alonso on his ‘medium’ run before hitting the traffic. The ‘medium’ will be the qualifying tyre.
    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson said: “I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Red Bull on pole, but it will be close with Alonso and Raikkonen.”
    The session, and the weekend’s race, is taking place against the backdrop of continuing civil unrest in the Gulf state.
    There were demonstrations against the ruling family attended by 10s of thousands of people on Friday night.
    But the race is being held under heavy security and, unlike last year, no F1 personnel have encountered any trouble unless they have gone out to the areas where the demonstrations and occasional riots are taking place.
  • Raikkonen Heads FP2 in Bahrain

    Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen headed the Red Bulls and Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari in second practice at the Bahrain GP.
    The Finn was 0.03 seconds clear of Red Bull’s Mark Webber at the head of a tightly packed field, with the second Red Bull of world champion Sebastian Vettel third.
    Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was fourth, just 0.156secs behind Raikkonen and ahead of Force India’s Paul di Resta.
    The Scot edged Alonso’s team-mate Felipe Massa into sixth place.
    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was 10th fastest, two places and 0.31secs behind team-mate Nico Rosberg, with McLaren’s Jenson Button in 11th.
    The race simulations runs later in the session suggested Ferrari and Lotus may be the strongest teams on Sunday, with the Red Bulls their main competition.
    Raikkonen was marginally faster than Massa, who was a similar distance ahead of Vettel when comparing their equivalent race-simulation runs on ‘medium’ tyres at the same time.
    Alonso’s pace on the ‘hard’ and ‘medium’ tyres on his race-simulation runs was extremely impressive, but he ran the tyres at different times from his rivals when the circuit would be in a different condition, so it is harder to draw conclusions.

  • Massa Heads Ferrari 1-2 in Bahraini Practice

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    Felipe MassaFelipe Massa led Fernando Alonso in a Ferrari one-two in first practice at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
    Massa edged Alonso by just 0.077secs as Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg was third ahead of Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel.
    Force India’s Paul di Resta was fifth from McLaren’s Jenson Button and Red Bull’s Mark Webber.
    Di Resta’s team-mate Adrian Sutil was eighth ahead of Lotus drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton was 13th.
    During the session, governing body the FIA issued a joint statement with the sport’s commercial arm Formula 1 Management (FOM) to say that they believed the race “should go ahead” despite ongoing civil unrest in the Gulf state.
    The practice session suggested competition would be close at the front – Rosberg was just 0.134secs behind Massa and 0.169secs ahead of Vettel.
    Button’s team-mate Sergio Perez, under pressure to match the Englishman, was 11th fastest, 0.571secs behind.