Rosberg on pole in Mercedes front row lockout

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Spain, Circuit de Catalunyaes

Mercedes have once again confirmed their tremendous qualifying pace as Nico Rosberg secured pole position for the Spanish GP, ahead of his teammate Lewis Hamilton. Sebastian Vettel will start from third.

The weather is great for qualifying with the Spanish sun shining out on the track. Track temperature is up to 37°C, ambient 20°C with quite a gutsy head win on the main straight (1.3 m/s).

It took a few minutes before anyone is out in Q1, but Ricciardo is the first to eventually take the track, 3 minutes into the session. He is soon followed by his team mate, along with the Williams and Sauber cars. Lotus are out next with both cars on the harder tyre. Raikkonen initially takes the top of the timesheet with Grosjean taking second. Both drivers made slight mistakes in their laps but ended up within a tenth of each other.

Right when they complete their times, Force India is on track while the Ferrari drivers leave the pits. Alonso, first on track for the Scuderia takes the lead of the timesheet by shaving off 0.9 s off of Raikkonen. Massa slots in behind in second while Adrian Sutil meanwhile set the 4th fastest time, in between the Lotus cars.

Mercedes is next but are immediately on the softer tyre. Hamilton goes quickest, just ahead of Rosberg. Vettel slots in in third, also on the softer tyre.

The closing moments are of course about making sure of a position in Q2, but for Williams, Caterham and Marussia that failed miserably. Raikkonen managed to improve at the very end of the session on the hard tyres still, even despite being blocked by Gutierrez through the final chicane. Button was somewhat blocked as well but he got through without problems.

Q2 gets off slowly, just like Q1, but this time everybody gets out on track in similar times. 10 minutes into the session, everybody did their initial runs with Alonso ending up on top, 0.03s ahead of Raikkonen. Rosberg is third, ahead of MAS, GRO HUL HAM VET GUT WEB VER PER DIR SUT BUT RIC.

This also means that aprt from Alonso, Raikkonen, Rosberg, Massa and Grosjean, everybody has to go out again for another run. On his second attempt and on brand new medium tyres, Vettel posts the fastest time, marginally faster than Alonso. Webber moves up to 4th. Hamilton in the end gets into P1 by improving Vettel by 0.6s while Button remains stuck in 14th place. The other McLaren steered by Pérez gets through by posting the 7th time.

Eliminated are Ricciardo, Vergne, Sutil, Button, Hulkenberg and Gutierrez.

Q3 gets started with Raikkonen, Grosjean, Rosberg, Alonso and Massa. The other 5 are waiting in the pits and perhaps aiming for a single flying lap. Of the first runners though, everybody is on mediums, and Rosberg emerged on top, 4 tenths ahead of Alonso and Massa. Grosjean and Raikkonen are slowest of the Q3 runners so far.

Everybody is on for the next laps, with Vettel first. Rosberg however improved even further and stayed ahead of everyone to take pole position. Lewis Hamilton takes second place, ahead of Vettel and Raikkonen. Ferrari will be disappointed to have to start from row 3.

Results

Pos.NoDriverTeamQ1Q2Q3Laps
19Nico RosbergMercedes AMG1:21.9131:21.7761:20.71812
210Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:21.7281:21.0011:20.97212
31Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault1:22.1581:21.6021:21.05412
47Kimi RäikkönenLotus-Renault1:22.2101:21.6761:21.17717
53Fernando AlonsoFerrari1:22.2641:21.6461:21.21812
64Felipe Massa (*)Ferrari1:22.4921:21.9781:21.21912
78Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1:22.6131:21.9981:21.30816
82Mark WebberRed Bull Racing-Renault1:22.3421:21.7181:21.57012
96Sergio PerezMcLaren-Mercedes1:23.1161:21.7901:22.06913
1014Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1:22.6631:22.0191:22.23317
1119Daniel RicciardoSTR-Ferrari1:22.9051:22.127-14
1218Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Ferrari1:22.7751:22.166-12
1315Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1:22.9521:22.346-12
145Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1:23.1661:22.355-9
1511Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari1:23.0581:22.389-13
1612Esteban Gutierrez (*)Sauber-Ferrari1:23.2181:22.793-15
1717Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1:23.260--9
1816Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1:23.318--9
1921Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1:24.661--6
2022Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth1:24.713--6
2123Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth1:24.996--6
2220Charles PicCaterham-Renault1:25.070--6

* Felipe Massa drops 3 places on the grid, to 9th due to a penalty for blocking Mark Webber in Q2.
* Esteban Gutierrez drops 3 places on the grid due to blocking Kimi Raikkonen during Q1.




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