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F1 NEWS 

Bahrain GP: Nico Rosberg takes surprise pole for Mercedes

Nico Rosberg takes Bahrain GP pole, 2013, SakhirNico Rosberg claimed a shock pole position for Mercedes in Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying at Sakhir.

Mercedes had not looked like an outright frontrunner during practice, but Rosberg set a banker 1m32.4s lap at the start of Q3 and it proved impossible to beat.

Sebastian Vettel got closest for Red Bull with a 1m32.584s, just ahead of Fernando Alonso's Ferrari.

Rosberg then made his pole absolutely certain, improving to 1m32.330s to clinch the top spot by over 0.2 seconds.

His team-mate Lewis Hamilton was 0.4s slower in fourth place. He will lose five places for having a gearbox change prior to the session.

Fifth position will also change post-session. Mark Webber took the spot for Red Bull, but faces a three-place penalty for his collision with Jean-Eric Vergne in China.

Ferrari put Felipe Massa on hard tyres for Q3 and he took sixth place, followed by the Force Indias of Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil. The latter only just made it into Q3 with a late charge.

Friday pacesetter Kimi Raikkonen was only ninth in his Lotus.

McLaren was ecstatic to see Jenson Button reach Q3 against expectations with a last-gasp lap. The Briton chose not to do a flying lap in the pole shootout.

The late Q2 improvements lik pushed Romain Grosjean's Lotus down to 11th. The Frenchman was back in the pits at the end of the segment and his first lap had not been good enough.

The two Williams set exactly equal 1m34.425s laps in Q1, but Valtteri Bottas had got there first, so he made it to Q2 - where he took 15th - while Pastor Maldonado was left in 17th.

Esteban Gutierrez's troubles continued as he only managed 18th in qualifying, which will become last when his five-place penalty for crashing into Sutil in China is applied.

There was a change in form at the back. Driving the upgraded Caterham, Charles Pic got his team ahead of Marussia for the first time in 2013, as he beat Jules Bianchi by a full 0.9s.

Giedo van der Garde, in the older-spec Caterham, also outqualified a Marussia, pushing Max Chilton down to 22nd.

Pos  Driver               Team/Car              Time       Gap
 1.  Nico Rosberg         Mercedes              1m32.330s
 2.  Sebastian Vettel     Red Bull-Renault      1m32.584s  + 0.254s
 3.  Fernando Alonso      Ferrari               1m32.667s  + 0.337s
 4.  Lewis Hamilton       Mercedes              1m32.762s  + 0.432s
 5.  Mark Webber          Red Bull-Renault      1m33.078s  + 0.748s
 6.  Felipe Massa         Ferrari               1m33.207s  + 0.877s
 7.  Paul di Resta        Force India-Mercedes  1m33.235s  + 0.905s
 8.  Adrian Sutil         Force India-Mercedes  1m33.246s  + 0.916s
 9.  Kimi Raikkonen       Lotus-Renault         1m33.327s  + 0.997s
10.  Jenson Button        McLaren-Mercedes
Q2 cut-off time: 1m33.702s                                      Gap **
11.  Romain Grosjean      Lotus-Renault         1m33.762s  + 1.016s
12.  Sergio Perez         McLaren-Mercedes      1m33.914s  + 1.168s
13.  Daniel Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m33.974s  + 1.228s
14.  Nico Hulkenberg      Sauber-Ferrari        1m33.976s  + 1.230s
15.  Valtteri Bottas      Williams-Renault      1m34.105s  + 1.359s
16.  Jean-Eric Vergne     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m34.284s  + 1.538s
Q1 cut-off time: 1m34.425s                                      Gap *
17.  Pastor Maldonado     Williams-Renault      1m34.425s  + 1.547s
18.  Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari        1m34.730s  + 1.852s
19.  Charles Pic          Caterham-Renault      1m35.283s  + 2.405s
20.  Jules Bianchi        Marussia-Cosworth     1m36.178s  + 3.300s
21.  Giedo van der Garde  Caterham-Renault      1m36.304s  + 3.426s
22.  Max Chilton          Marussia-Cosworth     1m36.476s  + 3.598s

107% time: 1m39.379s
* Gap to quickest in Q1
** Gap to quickest in Q2

AUTOSPORT Bahrain GP coverage:

FP1 FP2 FP3 Qualifying Race Gallery Live commentary Official quotes

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