The buildup to qualifying was dominated by the news that one of Lewis Hamilton’s Pirellis had delaminated in P3, causing extensive damage to read of his car and the brit’s gearbox. This lead to it needing to be replaced and forcing him into a 5 place grid drop. Concerns abound about the integrity of the Pirelli tyres.

Added to penalties for Webber and Gutierrez for getting in trouble in China, the final grid in Bahrain was always likely to lead this badger getting his calculator out come the end of Q3.

Session 1

Q1 started slowly with many of the teams not wanting to tear up their tyres too soon. The two Saubers were the first cars to venture out,  with Gutirrez seemingly struggling to get the hang of the car/circuit/f1. Aside from Van Der Garde complaining of something moving around between his legs (ooh err missus), it was a relatively quiet session, with the main talking point being the two Williams setting exactly the same time, but Maldonado being eliminated on the account of Bottas doing the time first.

Drivers out: Chilton, Van Der Garde, Bianchi, Pic, Gutierrez, Maldonado

Session 2

Webber was the first man out on track in Q2, but it was Paul Di Resta who got people talking – after hitting a 1:33.3 to go fastest with 8 min remaining. Alonso soon improved on that time before Rosberg, ominously, went a near half second faster on the spaniard to secure his path into the final session. Button also managed to squeeze through into Q3 to (ironic) cheers from Jenson on the team radio – Grosjean and Perez looked less impressed as they dropped out.

Drivers out: Vernge, Bottas, Hulkenberg, Ricciardo, Perez, Grosjean

Session 3

Rosberg set an initial banker time of 1:32.5 before the typical mid-q3-lull. With 3 min left to go the pit lane erupted into action and all 10 cars were out on track at the same time. Ferrari decided to split tyre strategies with Alonso on the medium and Massa on the hard compound (much to the excitement of Ted Kravitz). When the chequered flag fell Rosberg was still fastest – and so he remained, setting an even quicker time and the rest of the runners failing to match him. Job done. Well done Nico.

nico-rosberg-1

Full grid with penalties applied as below.

1- Rosberg – 1:32.330
2 – Vettel – 1:32.584
3 – Alonso – 1:32.667
4 – Massa – 1:33.207
5 – Di Resta – 1:33.235
6 – Sutil – 1:33.246
7 – Webber – 1:33.078 (P)
8 – Raikkonen – 1:33.327
9 – Hamilton – 1:32.762 (P)
10 – Button – No time

11 – Grosjean – 1:33.762
12 – Perez – 1:33.914
13 – Ricciardo – 1:33.974
14 – Hulkenberg – 1:33.976
15 – Bottas – 1:34.105
16 – Vergne – 1:34.284

17 – Maldonado – 1:34.425
18 – Pic – 1:35.283
19 – Bianchi – 1:36.178
20 – Van Der Garde – 1:36.304
21 – Chilton – 1:36.476
22 – Gutierrez – 1:34.730 (P)