Rosberg Takes Early Advantage

Nico Rosberg has taken the advantage over championship rival Heikki Kovalainen by claiming pole position for this afternoon's first race at the Bahrain International Circuit, along with a five-point advantage that may yet be insurmountable

Rosberg Takes Early Advantage

Both men will line up on the front row in the race, which should allow the pair to battle for the lead without interference from the remainder of the field.

Rosberg, however, has the advantage of being able to race without needing to win, whereas Kovalainen must finish ahead of his rival to give himself a fighting chance of taking the title.

"Qualifying was quite tough, definitely," Rosberg noted after the two sessions were completed, "but it worked out well. I enjoy these one lap things - I go out like a bull and make it stick every time, so I'm happy with that.

"I'm really pleased - two points for pole already, and every point counts."

When asked if he now viewed today's race differently in light of the championship, Rosberg advised: "I'm really trying to look at it like a normal race, like every other race - I'm just going to push and see what happens.

"Obviously I'm going to take a little bit less risk, but you can't really [think of the championship] yet, because of tomorrow's race."

However, should Rosberg take four points more than his rival in today's race he will win the title, as the maximum points on offer tomorrow are eight - six for a win and a further two for fastest lap.

Kovalainen, by comparison, has to win today's race to give him any realistic chance at the title: "I'll try to get the lead at the start and then win the race, of course - I've won races before when he's been quicker, like in Monza where he was clearly quicker but I still managed to win the race."

But despite his fighting words, the Finn was more than aware of the mountain he has in front of him: "We didn't have a perfect balance this morning, but it was pretty good - I thought that we could fight for pole, but at the end there was no chance. The race is another thing, but it's certainly looking good for them [ART and Rosberg].

"I think we can fight, and I will still fight until the last lap, of course, just to see what happens. We'll see, but it's not going to be easy - they're looking sharp."

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