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Rosberg Beats Hamilton To Bahrain Pole
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Posted By: Matt Meadows  |  05 Apr 2014   |  5:48 pm GMT  |  383 comments

Nico Rosberg headed Lewis Hamilton to give Mercedes its first front-row lock out of 2014 by dominating qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix, eclipsing the remainder of the field by 0.9s. Daniel Ricciardo came closest to the Mercedes pair but will drop to 13th for tomorrow’s race due the penalty received in Malaysia for an unsafe release.

On the weekend of his 150th Grand Prix start, it was Rosberg’s fifth career pole, the German equalling the tally of his 1982 World Championship winning father, Keke.

After establishing a comfortable margin throughout the weekend, qualifying saw little change as the duo completed the first phase of qualifying without using a set of the soft option tyres before showing their true pace in Q2.

Rosberg’s benchmark time was a tenth of a second faster than Hamilton could manage, with the rest of the field 0.8s adrift, and it set up a fascinating in-team battle between the two childhood friends.

As the final 12-minute session began Rosberg was once again able to hold the provisional bragging rights, setting a time of 1:33.185 to hold a 0.3s margin over Hamilton. When the cars emerged for their second effort, a slow first sector by Rosberg all but ended his chances and the pressure was now on Hamilton to maintain his 100 per cent pole record of 2014.

However, entering the Michael Schumacher turn, Hamilton suffered a huge lock-up. The mistake put an end to his pole attempt at the earliest point and thus Rosberg took his second consecutive pole at the Sakhir circuit.

The third place start had a number of challengers, with the Williams, Force India and Ferrari pairs joining Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo as contenders for best of the rest. Ricciardo, after setting the third quickest time in Q2 was able to hold his position, starting in the top three for the second time this year and leading Vettel, who was unable to reach the top-10 shootout, in the team-qualifying battle.

The Australian will take a 10-place grid penalty tomorrow for his botched pit-stop last time out in Malaysia and will therefore hand the second row to Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez.

Bottas, enjoying a dry qualifying session for the first time this year, was able to make the most of his Mercedes-powered machine to take the second highest start of his career.

Perez has had a difficult start to his Force India career, due in part to Nico Hulkenberg’s impressive form. However, Perez was the quicker man today, taking fourth place with Hulkenberg only managing 12th.

It was a similar story at Ferrari, where Kimi Raikkonen has laboured in the shadow of Fernando Alonso in the first two races of the season but today he was able to take sixth place, fifth with Ricciardo’s penalty, whilst Alonso could only manage 10th, to become ninth. He said afterwards that he was losing power as the session went on. He set his fastest speed trap time in Q1, which was only 16th fastest, albeit only 1km/h slower than Raikkonen.

But unlike the Finn who improved by 6/10ths from Q2 to Q3, Alonso was 2/10ths slower. This will be a disappointment for Ferrari; they had a quick car in similar conditions on Friday night.

Raikkonen will be joined on the third row by Jenson Button, the McLaren driver celebrating his 250th Grand Prix start by getting within 0.15s of third placed Bottas.

Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir, Qualifying

1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m33.185s
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m33.464s +0.279s
3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1m34.051s +0.866s
4. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m34.247s +1.062s
5. Sergio Perez Force India 1m34.346s +1.161s
6. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m34.368s +1.183s
7. Jenson Button McLaren 1m34.387s +1.202s
8. Felipe Massa Williams 1m34.511s +1.326s
9. Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1m34.712s +1.527s
10. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m34.992s +1.807s
11. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m34.985s +1.277s
12. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m35.116s +1.408s
13. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1m35.145s +1.437s
14. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m35.286s +1.578s
15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m35.891s +2.183s
16. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m35.908s +2.200s
17. Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1m36.663s +1.789s
18. Adrian Sutil Sauber 1m36.840s +1.966s
19. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1m37.085s +2.211s
20. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m37.310s +2.436s
21. Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1m37.875s +3.001s
22. Max Chilton Marussia 1m37.913s +3.039s

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383 Comments
  1. hal says:

    Ham fan here but I did say don’t write off Nico. Hamilton will have to really fight for it (and hopefully not suffer any more bad luck) if he wants WDC this year.

    1. Kevin Shiel says:

      Im not a nicos fan but What a slap to lewis fans who claimed that nico would not be able to match lewis’s pace. Job well done nico.

      1. Tealeaf says:

        Also it was always going to happen that quali session after Hamilton publicly taunting Nico about the biggest gap he had to a team mate at Malaysia and what not. Still I think looking at the long runs Hamilton still looks stronger for the race, if Nico loses the lead to Hamilton at the start I don’t think there’ll be a way back but if Hamilton gets stuck behind Nico the race could get interesting.

      2. deeno says:

        So if Lewis wins, is that a slap to Nico’s fans too??
        I don’t see any lewis fans make such brainless comments… Maybe think before you post.

      3. Dazzler says:

        Ham fan here too.

        I think they are evenly matched but last week Lewis had the measure of Nico.

        It will swing from race to race.

        No points were ever won on a Saturday though

      4. radi says:

        f1 greatest are so by a fine margin. was clear today who has it? other opinions?

      5. radi says:

        meant Ham had the edge, won the race.

      6. Dazzler says:

        I didn’t feel your slap in the face there Kevin.

        As I said no trophies are won for pole position.

        A sweet victory for Lewis Hamilton fans.

        Richly deserved.

    2. Michael says:

      So, much for that Pole Position. Lewis wiped it away at the first corner.

  2. Gaz Boy says:

    What a performance from Daniel. Shame he can’t start in his natural position, but rules are rules are rules……….
    However, lets put into context – what a performance from Mercedes, lap time wise. Eight tenths of a second advantage? Wow, that’s impressive……….

    1. Harshad says:

      Championships this year are all but over!
      Its Mercedes all the way….

      Shame really, because Kimi vs Alonso, Vettel vs Ricciardo, Bottas vs Massa is all heating up beautifully, but all these guys are scraping around for that last podium that is just isn’t funny…

      1. Nick says:

        Championships all but over? Quite the opposite – looks like Rosberg and Hamilton could give us one of the closest drivers championships in years.

      2. H.Guderian (ALO fan) says:

        Yes.
        Very different from what we saw with RBR running with one driver only. That was boring.

      3. sean Munro says:

        It was over 10 secs into first race come on 2015

      4. Nedder says:

        Yeah, well you DO get opportunities to analyse the WHOLE race, not just ‘where your bloke is’. That’s what makes the sport deeply fascinating to me. I know who I’d PREFER to win (but not telling), I can honestly say I’ve never seen a dull race, having seen all of them since ’84 and quite a few before that… I have wondered off topic!! Anyway, loving seeing the pilots working proper hard to keep them on the road. You whiners, lost a little noise but got what you’ve been asking for for YEARS…
        I digress (it’s me way). I’m half deaf (wonder how THAT happened?) so maybe a bit less bothered by the lack of noise, maybe it’s a macho thing? Certainly is in my metal band.

        Harshad, sorry for hijacking your post, I thought I was replying to a different one. I am a little drunk. Back to your point… The engines are all homologated now too, and given the pretty radical layout of the Mercedes turbine/compressor, there’s no way a team could justify making a change of that scale in the interests of ‘reliability’ to the FIA… Will be interesting to see how the Merc customer teams approach their chassis development over the next year or two. Given it’s obviously superior performance, many tactical avenues are created. Perhaps there will even an era of multi-year dominance unknown since the days when, well… Mercedes dominated everything.

        But oh, don’t forget Honda. They’ve been watching EVERYTHING…

        I’ve gone off topic again, haven’t I? Damn tequila.

    2. Gaz Boy says:

      Also, kudos to the two Finns, particularly after last weekends emotionally difficult race for Mr Bottas. Second row of the grid on a bone dry track at least shows the potential of the Williams-Merc.
      That’s the best way to put one over Felipe; take him to the cleaners in qualifying. And how!

      1. Nedder says:

        Bottas is really impressing me. He’s got the minerals, that boy.

    3. Bryce says:

      Getting skewered by the rules/team in Melbourne, followed by a three pronged penalty in Sepang that carries over into this race. Whilst in the interests of safety the team and that includes the driver must be penalised, it is a very high price to pay for someone that has absolutely no control over the pit stop situation.

      Take the Mercs out of the picture, as they are on another level altogether and Daniel has been the best performer, yet has no points and will start in the back half of the grid in Bahrain. Yet the guy still has a smile on his face and with good reason. He has already shown that he deserves the big seat and good times will soon be rolling his way.

  3. Luis Pastilla says:

    As always Alonso put the car where it belongs.

    Kimi seven tenths faster.

    1. luqa says:

      The FIAT looks like a real handful to drive smoothly.

    2. Sid says:

      He had issues with power which was diminishing as qualifying evolved…

      1. C Lin says:

        Yup just like Kimi had in Oz.

      2. fox says:

        So fiat is not so reliable. Slow and sometimes not reliable.

      3. 180110 says:

        a/c to alo, not a/c to ferrari.

      4. Dave chandler says:

        Alonso predictably came up with excuses.

    3. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      Alonso reported engine problems. He could have been around P3 or P4 had the car been OK.

      1. 180110 says:

        hypothetical. The prob was a/c to alo, not a/c to ferrari. he was only 2/10th slower than his time in Q2, so a bad lap was more of a possibility in Q3

    4. veena says:

      apart from that, he carries extra 3/10s of a second always

    5. Carbonated says:

      Evidently you didn’t hear Alonso had a issue with the car.
      Did Kimi put the car where it belongs the previous 2 races?

      1. nenad says:

        Since Alonso can walk on water and gives extra 0.5 seconds to car’s abilities, a win will not be a problem in a race.

      2. 180110 says:

        nothing on the engine in the official release.

      3. Michael Spitale says:

        It is hard to buy that he “lost power” and could feel it when he was only a couple of tenths off his best time. Bottom line is that he had a bad lap and it happens…

    6. Anil Parmar says:

      He had engine problems. Hopefully they can fix it before the race…

      1. 180110 says:

        if it exists..

    7. Oly says:

      Kimi faster, just like in two first races.

      1. H.Guderian (ALO fan) says:

        HUUMMM???

        8-)

    8. uncas says:

      are you joking? I don’t know how can you say that……

      1. aveli says:

        he said it in writing.

    9. Luis Pastilla says:

      lol

    10. Elie says:

      Fernando was loosing engine power that was very obvious. I cant believe I just said that – cant stand him- but fairs fair.. Even with Kimis new components the car was all over place – handfuls of left/right just to keep it in a straight line ! – they will be pushing like crazy just to stay top 5- because other Merc powered cars will be more comfortable on fuel Sunday

      1. Dave chandler says:

        Really? Was it obvious? Please advise on how you came to that conclusion? Ahhh you obviously have direct access and a live feed to the telemetry from his car.

      2. H.Guderian (ALO fan) says:

        Elie,

        Ferrari is a *JOKE* as usual.

        KIM and ALO will strugle with the car this season to end up 6th or 7th.

      3. Luis Pastilla says:

        Don’t know that it was so obvious ….. ALO, VET and HUL were all within a tenth or two in both Q2 and Q3. Of the three only ALO had this “engine/floor/power” problem, and Ferrari did not back him up with any explanation.

        Ted Kravitz: “Alonso is briefing the gathered press people… still making excuses for himself”.

        I hope we discover the truth of the matter before the race starts.

      4. Yago says:

        Wow Elie, that statement impressed me ;). Indeed one does not need a confirmation from Ferrari to aknowledge Alonso’s probles, lap rimes are there to everyone.

        I have to congratulate you as a die hard Kimi fan, because Kimi was impressive. Very very good performance from him, I was impressed by the way he was driving on the exit of slow corners. Alonso’s problems were a shame, because it would have been a hell of a qualifying between the two! It would probably have been close!

    11. H.Guderian (ALO fan) says:

      Did you see what ALO did to KIM the last two races??? (beating him by a second).

      Probably not.

      8-)

    12. Fernando "150%" Alonso says:

      @Luis Pastila&1810010101010 whateva! At least wait until the end of the race to make bitter comments about Alo! I use to like this blog, but this days is impossible to read an article whitout reading alot ob bs towards Alo. Pfff

  4. dmac1965 says:

    Red Bull really should have had Dan splitting the two Mercs at the top of the table in the first two races. I clearly point the finger at Red Bull for this not being the situation. I’m happy to see that not even Red Bull or Charlie Whiting can take the beaming happy smile from Dans face! And OH how I will relish every time that Dan wipes the smile off Sebs face. Dan is younger, fitter, faster, braver and more hungry. And he will do it again and again and again to Seb,,,,but I could be wrong F1 fans

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      Daniel has always been an excellent at qualifying. He dragged the Torro Rossa into the Top 10 quite a few times over the last couple of years – and on merit.
      I don’t think Daniel is at Sebastian’s level quite yet, as Sebastian has four years more experience than Dan, but give him this year to learn the ropes at the sharp end of the grid, and, yes Daniel will be challenging for championships. Of that I have no doubt.
      It’s great to see Red Bull’s junior driver development programme delivering. It just goes to show it does work – and not just for Sebastian.

      1. Nedder says:

        Agreed, still pretty early days for Dan, but he really ain’t looking too shabby. But there’s a few other tough lads coming up too… From the perspective of new talent, the future of F1 is looking pretty good, I reckon.

    2. Michael says:

      @ dmac1965 I hope you’re not wrong. I’m loving every minute of it. This will be a character building year for Vettel. I wonder if he will be able to handle? lol

    3. NickH says:

      ‘Dan is younger, fitter, faster, braver’. Hahaha. I wish I knew where you got your facts from

      1. dmac1965 says:

        ….braver and faster check….”,,,Red Bull Bahrain race radio message to Sebastian Vettel” Let Daniel pass he is faster than you,,,”…end quote

      2. dmac1965 says:

        correction…

        …hungrier and faster check…”,,,Red Bull Bahrain race radio message to Sebastian Vettel” Let Daniel pass he is faster than you,,,”…end quote

    4. Yago says:

      And indeed you are wrong, F1 fan… ;)

      1. dmac1965 says:

        …post race Bahrain…Not only has Daniel Ricciardo’s team scuppered him points in the championship thus far, his team mate scuppered him a certain 3rd place podium finish for Red Bull, by thinking of himself and not the team by intentionally holding up Dan in the race…Hungrier, Faster, Braver check…just leaves my comment on Dan being Fitter than Seb to have its box checked too…

    5. Red Rider says:

      dmac 165 wrote, “And he will do it again and again and again to Seb…”
      Dan, of course, might have Webber’s mysterious bad luck.

      1. Alec Tronnick says:

        I think he’s already copped enough bad luck… Race 1: DSQ, Race 2: dodgy pit stop Race 3: -10 place on grid.

        But at least he’s still smiling. He looks like the only one out there having fun.

    6. Andrew says:

      Early days of course but something for the Vettel lovers to think about.

      It was blatantly obvious that Webber was way past it in the last couple of years.

      1. Elie says:

        Despite this Mark was often 00′ even 000′s of a sec off Seb. I honestly dont think Mark was that far off Sebs pace & had his car finished he would have at least 4 or 5 more Gp’s – it certainly was not day & light between them- this is evidenced now with Daniel !

      2. L.B says:

        No, Webber was close in quali. He just had terrible starts in the race and Vettel was generally able to extract more from the car than he could.

    7. ajag says:

      You are wrong ;-)

    8. Gudien says:

      Yes, you could be wrong.

    9. SteveS says:

      “he will do it again and again and again to Seb”

      Perhaps. He has yet to do it once though.

    10. Dave Aston says:

      You really think he’s ‘faster’ and ‘braver’ than Vettel? He’ll out-qualify him sometimes, but he won’t get close to him over the year. He’s definitely younger, that is accurate. They’re probably equal in the fitness stakes. I don’t think anyone is hungrier.

    11. jaybee says:

      Vettel seems to feel the need to justify himself a lot lately – “I’m not a fan of blaming something in particular, but without [downshift problem] probably I would have made it to Q3.” Perhaps Ricciardo’s performance is on his mind.

      1. James Allen says:

        Possibly, but he did have a problem ( self inflicted) from the spin in FP3 and damage to the turbo waste gate

      2. Yago says:

        So he had the problem since the beggining of Q1? Impressive driving then…

      3. dmac1965 says:

        I don’t think Sebs car had a technical failure, due to the cars failing or the teams. Seb after qualifying indicated he spun off in FP3 because of his mistake, a driving error. And also indicated the spin resulted in his car having a lack of power going into qualifying from possible damage to the turbo wastegate of his car after the spin in FP3, not any problems with the gearbox before going into qualifying. I think all this year Dan and Seb will be trying to drive with technical issues from the Renault engine and drivetrain, Red Bull are definitely not as reliable in that area as the Mercedes powered teams this year with the new engines. And they also have a performance disadvantage to the Mercedes team of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton thus far. It remains to be seen which Red Bull driver will be able to drive around these problems with the car this year, Dan or Seb. History in the team would suggest Seb most likely to do this. Though I have not seen Seb do this in the first 2 races thus far. And I have no inside information to substantiate that Dan is fitter, faster, or a braver driver than Seb. But after 4 championships Seb’s motivation for another cannot be as high as it once was, so Dan is the hungrier of the two. That hungry feeling Mark Webber lost when Seb (wonderboy) joined him in team in 2009. Thanks to everyone replying to my comment with thoughtful and informative comments.

  5. NickH says:

    Should be an interesting battle between Ham and Rosbo, hopefully anyway. Will be ultra boring if one of them runs and hides.

    Kimi way faster than Alonso, a trend for things to come probably

    1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      Alonso had problmes with PU all the session. Without them probably 3rd or 4th tomorrow…

      1. 180110 says:

        and from where did you get that? the source? alonso?

      2. mac says:

        Not true, that was Alonsos version, not what Fry said..

    2. AndyFov says:

      Kimi quicker than Fernando
      Daniel quicker than Seb
      Rosberg quicker than Lewis

      For some reason the underdogs had a good day today.

      1. schick says:

        I suggest that each of these so-called “underdogs” are the quicker of the team and results over the season will prove the fanboys and scribes are wrong.

      2. Elie says:

        Fernando had power unit issues

      3. Mocho_Pikuain says:

        Seb with downshift issues, Fernando with engine problems, don’t know about Lewis.

    3. Sid says:

      He had issues with power which was diminishing as qualifying evolved…

      Advise you to check your facts before you drop your comments

      1. Alex says:

        Strange thing though that none of this “issues with power” was reported by Ferrari themselves….also if we compare Alonso’s and Kimi’s sector times in Q3 in all 3 sectors:

        ALO:

        S1:239
        S2:260
        S3:282

        Kimi:

        S1:242
        S2:262
        S3:282

        So even if Alonso had issues it was not anything major…sure he may have lost some time compared to Kimi in top-speed, but from what I’ve heared Alonso also made some mistakes during his lap, where Kimi basicly did none.

      2. Mocho_Pikuain says:

        If that was true Alonso would have beaten Kimi by one thousandth of a second… His times in Q3 were way slower than his times in Q2. Everyone improved between 2 and 5 tenths, while Alonso lost time.

      3. Anil Parmar says:

        Alonso’s times in Q3 were miles slower than his Q2 times. In fact his first Q3 lap was well over 2 seconds slow than Rosbergs.

      4. Red Rider says:

        … or else …?

      5. JK says:

        Ferrari’s official statement doesn’t say that Fernando had PU problems. But that doesn’t mean that there weren’t any.

        Then again, Kimi might have had PU problems in previous GP’s but we don’t know since he, unlike Fernando, didn’t publicly state so. His comments are generic like “we have all sorts of small problems” which could be related to driveability vs his driving style, PU and so on. But we don’t know and Ferrari doesn’t seem to be willing to specify what problems they have had.

        “As for the Spaniard, he looked on the pace in the first two session, but did not get the most out of the car in the final part and had to settle for tenth place with aq 1.34.992.”

        http://formula1.ferrari.com/news/bahrain-gp-raikkonen-qualifies-row-alonso

        Publicly known facts:
        Kimi was faster than Fernando in Bahrain Q and Fernando has beaten Kimi in Q 2 to 1

      6. Yago says:

        I can tell you, Kimi did not have PU issues in the previous two qualis. He was running in equal conditions to Alonso. However he has had problems in the races. Here both were close, Kimi was up to it and did a very good job. But we sadly did not have the fight we were waiting for, because Alonso DID have problems, independently on what Ferrari do or do not say. It is evident from the lap times, it was not an isolated lap, it was three very slow laps (second one in Q2 and two in Q3). If you have the app you can analize it. His first lap of Q3 was with used softs, and he was something like 7 tenths slower than Magnussen, who was also with used softs. He had been confortably faster than the Mclarens up to that point. He probably was loosing more than 7 tenths in his last lap of Q3, so I think he could have been p4 just behind Ricciardo.

      7. NickH says:

        I doubt it’s 7 tenths worth, Kimi’s Q3 lap was quicker than Alonso Q2 when his PU was fine. Although we can’t forget Alonso has the magic ’6 tenths’ over everyone

      8. Messrine says:

        I concur!

      9. 180110 says:

        bad lap.

      10. Anil Parmar says:

        There’s an onboard of Alonso’s lap where you can see he’s struggling on the straights.

      11. NickH says:

        Alonso excuses, Ferrari seemed to disagree with him

    4. neilmurg says:

      Rosbo? Nicknames are regulated by FIA rules, 2 points on your fan license

    5. Martin says:

      Given that Kimi missed the apex at turns 1, 4 and 10 before the camera went elsewhere on his Q3 lap, it was hardly a stellar lap from him. Just travelling the longer distance in each of those corners would have been enough to him 3rd on the grid. Seeing his overall lap time was a surprise, so the other corners must have been near perfect.

      1. RodgerT says:

        Pure speculation here but…
        The NBC commenters have mentioned a couple times that Kimi has been taking non-standard lines in some corners so maybe he’s doing that until he gets the steering feel he’s looking for.

    6. Fernando "150%" Alonso says:

      I really will apreciate if those who make this kind of comments, like NickH here, will take some time to apologise from time to time.

      1. Zachary's disease says:

        I wonder how they get passed the mediator…..what do these comments add? Then again the amount of alonso bashing that gets on here is amusing. They say so much about a guy they don’t think is very good. Like the song goes “you were always on my mind”…..I don’t mention rosberg, Perez or button to name a few, cos they are a non factor. I comment about Kimi when Elie gets carried away with how awesome and super cool his driver is and I comment when val from Saskatchewan has to make negative comments about alonso because 2006 hurts so bad and the monza poduims show how the tifosi embraced Fernando.

  6. Alexander Supertramp says:

    Mercedes in a league of their own, good job by Nico. Tomorrow should be fascinating..

    Good to see Williams up there!

    What happened to Hulkenberg?

    1. James Allen says:

      Just not fast enough!

      1. luqa says:

        Indeed, but worth noting Hulk’s Q2 time was slower than his Q1 time, so either a rare mistake or a mechanical issue.

      2. Pete says:

        Admitted mistakes in Q run, hit kerbs etc.

      3. Michael says:

        That was really a shocker. I wasn’t expecting that. Beaten by Perez of all people.

    2. Harshad says:

      Hulk lost nearly 0.5 seconds over Perez in S2 alone…

    3. Nick says:

      Perez.

  7. Valentino from montreal says:

    Strike one for Raikkonen …

    1. C63 says:

      Bloody hell Val. How long would you have waited for that comment? Strike one to Raikkonen !
      How about third time lucky,? Would have been more apposite :-)

      1. 180110 says:

        waiting for alonso’s list of excuse to grow as rai gets faster..

      2. H.Guderian (ALO fan) says:

        I did not see any comments from you on the two previous races.

        Where were you???

      3. German Samurai says:

        He’ll be saying that the team doesn’t want him to win if Kimi gets the better of him.

        Same excuse he used when it ended at Renault and McLaren…

    2. Bart says:

      Alonso’s engine was losing power in qualifing…

    3. Oly says:

      well, one more like first two races/quali and Ferrari would call Massa back..

      1. 180110 says:

        Bottas would beat Alonso fair and square..

      2. Mocho_Pikuain says:

        That would make Bottas the fastest finnish on the grid :D

    4. roberto marquez says:

      Excuse me but I am not sure if you are using the term STRIKE in the correct way. In baseball is good for the pitcher to make the batter STRIKE,but it is the opposite for the batter who never wants to be STROKE OUT of the game.If Kimi strikes out Alonso is assuming he would be a pitcher in baseball,I do not know if this applies to cricket,I hope I clarified things a bit.

      1. neilmurg says:

        struck out
        and no, you didn’t

      2. Red Rider says:

        good point, but it’s ‘he STRUCK out’ I believe

      3. Mark V says:

        Bowling strike?

      4. Martin says:

        Hi Roberto,

        RE cricket, there’s no equivalent of a strike. Near misses, the equivalent of a strike, only matter in terms of confidence and pressure (especially in short versions of cricket,where not scoring can be a problem).

        I hadn’t seen it phrased ‘stroke out’ before. I think I’d seen ‘struck out’. I’m in Australia, for context.

        Cheers,
        Martin

      5. Gaz Boy says:

        Martin, a bit off topic, but I personally think the Red Bull is, pound for pound, probably producing the most amount of downforce of any chassis in F1 at the moment. Considering Bahrain is very much an acceleration circuit, and the Renault engine is down on torque compared with the Mercedes power units, then Daniel third place on the grid was a combination of driver ability but also the Bull’s stability under hard braking – ie the Red Bull’s good downforce was helping him make up the deficit to the Mercedes powered cars ability to out-accelerate the Red Bull.
        Also, historically, the Bulls have excellent suspension compliance, good centre of gravity/aerodynamic centre of pressure (which is pretty much the same thing) and very efficient front wing and floor design to aid rear end downforce. On tracks where downforce is more important than brute power, such as Barcelona, Monaco, Silverstone and the Hungaroring, I think the Red Bull could match the Mercedes, possibly even beat it in a straight fight.
        Just an opinion, but I thin

      6. Justin Case says:

        Val is Canadian. Most probably from Saskatchewan….go rough riders!….they do thing different to us. If Val was in a court of law….say he was on TV in judge Judy’s court and he uses the term ‘strike’ in the way he did in his post, she would cut him off mid speech by yelling “baloney!!” And then he would receive the most spectacular dressing down that even Burt, the officer of the court, would step in and tell Judge Judy to relax……..
        In the interviews after the show Val would be seen with his mother by his side ( whom he still lives with) saying “In all my 48 years I’ve never been spoken to like that”. But here on this forum his silly comments continue to see light of day.

      7. H.Guderian (ALO fan) says:

        +1.000.000

        BEST POST EVER!!!

      8. Random 79 says:

        We don’t use strikes in cricket at all :)

        The batters are either bowled out, run out, caught out or knocked out ;)

      9. Gaz Boy says:

        Random, years ago, after the British grand prix the drivers used to have a cricket match at Lord Spencer’s house (Princess Diana’s father). There is a picture of the class of 1974 on the internet.

    5. Elie says:

      Val,Im far from happy.. Fernandos car was loosing power like Ferrari loosing hope! Kimi wouldnt even bother to claim that one.Main thing is hes a little happier with the new parts- but honestly the onboard shot of that Quali lap was like someone rallying almost- that F14T is pathetic!

    6. Fernando "150%" Alonso says:

      @Valentino from Montreal! I hope you will come here or on another article with your own explanation about your comment and Raikkonen first strike! Sergiu from Sighisoara ;)

  8. Amritraj says:

    Hi James,

    Alonso had a floor/ enginer problem in Q3.I think this is worth mentioning in your report.

    Rgs,
    Amritraj

    1. Fernando "150%" Alonso says:

      Source?

    2. Harshad says:

      Report already mentioned that Alonso was loosing power….

      But Anyways, it is worth noting that Alonso did make mistake on his hot lap in Q3..,so without the problems Alonso still wouldn’t have been faster.

      1. Harshad says:

        Now Ferrari have made a release that Alonso didn’t have any problems in Q3 eh? what going on exactly…

      2. Random 79 says:

        I think Ferrari might be preparing to open the door…

      3. Mocho_Pikuain says:

        When you know it is your last lap and for an unknown reason you are losing time on the straights, you risk more trying to gain some time in corners. Had fernando improved his Q3 time just as much as the top 5 did, he would have fought for start P3 today.

    3. Ram says:

      Floor, engineering, driver as well ?

    4. 180110 says:

      Amritraj, Alonso did a poor lap in Q3 and was beaten. Also, floor?

    5. Red Rider says:

      Random 79 wrote: “I think Ferrari might be preparing to open the door…”

      Ha-ha. It would fun to see Alonso’s red car on the grid with a door painted on the side.

      1. Random 79 says:

        With a polite little message saying don’t let it hit you on the way out… ;)

  9. KRB says:

    Congrats to Nico, he did well. Yesterday I was saying that Hamilton hadn’t made a costly mistake yet, and there you go, jinxed him!

    Surprised at Ricciardo getting up so high, good job by him. I’ll have to check the speed trap figures, maybe he set up knowing he’d need to pass during the race. Surprised also at Hulkenberg, Vettel, and Alonso. Hulk especially is gonna screw with my fantasy F1 predictions for this race! JA is there any sense that FI will try to do one stop less?

    1. Yago says:

      Vettel and Alonso car problems. However I believe Vettel’s were only on his last lap, and on the previous he was already bettered by Ricciardo. But maybe I am wrong and he had those problems for the whole qualifying session. Alonso’s problems started right after his first Q2 lap, which was 2 tenths (near three if I remember well)faster than Kimi’s Q2 lap, and 2 tenths slower than Kimi’s Q3 lap… He started loosing power, and all his laps from that point were very slow.

    2. Yago says:

      Edit: probably Alonso’s Q2 lap was already a bit down on power. I saw now he did his fastest speed trap time in Q1, and with a very average lap. James Allen has correctly pointed it out.

      1. Yago says:

        Edit again:

        Alonso Q2 time: 1:34.723
        Kimi Q2 time: 1:34.925
        Kimi Q3 time: 1:34.368

  10. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    I will love RAIKKONEN on the podium.

    Tomorrow is HAMILTON day, he has to do everything right for being ahead, it’s no matter or “damage limitation” or whatever, it’s a fight to do every single minute until the victory!!!

    ps: Vettel, the champion, he doesn’t look like that with RICCIARDO ahead in podium positions, but anyway, time will tell.

    1. Harshad says:

      Kimi on podium is not possible To be honest.
      FI have better tyre degradation + better top speed+ better race pace than Ferrari and Perez starts just ahead of Kimi.
      Also, add Williams to the mix and the fact that Kimi has struggled on Medium compound tyres this weekend…podium isn’t possible unless others have lot of misfortune going there way.

      1. 180110 says:

        Watch out for Raikkonen moving into P3 on Lap 1 and then take it from there. He was challenging Alonso on lap 1 in Malaysia having started multiple pos behind..

    2. AlexD says:

      I hope you will not Raikkonen on the podium, really….please don’t:-)

    3. Andre says:

      Ahead in podium positions?

      We only had two podiums this far. So it’s 1-1.

    4. Dan says:

      lol you seem very passionate.

      1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        Yes! because Passion makes idiots of the cleverest men, and makes the biggest idiots clever (Francois de La Rochefoucauld).

        I’m confused now…

      2. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
        Because I’m HAMMY!!!

        HAMILTON’s day, eh!

    5. SteveS says:

      ” RICCIARDO ahead in podium positions”

      Even assuming you mean “this season”, and even assuming you are giving Ricciardo the podium for Malaysia, they still have one podium position apiece.

      Vettel had engine problems in qualifying similar to those in Malaysia. Ricciardo seems like a genuinely quick driver, but in the one qualifying session this year where both cars have functioned properly he managed P5 to Vettel’s P2.

      1. C63 says:

        I think you might have got Austraysia and Malstralia mixed up :-)

      2. Tealeaf says:

        It’s the reliability of Seb’s car this year that’s in question, just look at Malaysia in a fair straight fight Ricciardo was smashed in quali and in the race was overtaken and outpaced by Seb, expect the same this race. Hamilton fans love to gloat but I say worry about the Merc pair today, a Nico victory would damage Hamilton’s mental state no ends, so a Hamilton victory is a must for the fan club.

      3. Gaz Boy says:

        Tealeaf, I’ll agree Daniel was smashed in Sepang, but not so much by Sebastian, but his team. Botched pit-stops and all that……….not to mention illegal fuel flow rates and all that……….
        Daniel is within a couple of tenths of Sebastian so far. Remember, this is Daniel’s first year at the sharp end of the grid, Sebastian has four years more experience and also has been at the Bulls since the beginning of 2009, so for Daniel to be within a couple of tenths is pretty good.
        And he did out-qualify Sebastian in Bahrain before the penalty – Daniel does have fundamental raw speed.

  11. tara says:

    Sorry to be off topic but…

    Does anybody know why Clare doesn’t sit on the Williams pit wall during quali and the race?

    i noticed it last weekend, and today she was in the garage again

    1. AuraF1 says:

      She’s always said she’s deputy in charge of business affairs not strategy – similar in a way to Toto Wollf I
      Guess…

    2. Martin says:

      I don’t have a great answer for you, but the pit wall thing seems to be more of a tradition than anything else. I was looking at the sporting regulations to see if there was anything there, but I think the main thing is that being on the pit wall gets those involved in race strategy away from the distractions of the extra people in the garages. As far as I’m aware, Clare and Frank are not involved in the decision making during the race, so by being in the garage, she’s out of the way of those calling the shots.

    3. Random 79 says:

      I for now at least her forté is marketing, not strategy, so maybe for now she’s taking the opportunity to see first hand how the team works from the garage side to give her a better perspective of how the whole team works when she eventually takes the reins.

      Or I could have no idea what I’m talking about :)

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Doesn’t Claire have a couple of brothers? I say that because I’m surprised they also haven’t joined to help run the family business. Perhaps they were not interested?
        Still, the future of Williams is literally in good hands with Claire. She is very street wise and savvy, and in the world of F1, better to have common sense over anything else I reckon.

      2. Martin says:

        Hi Gaz,

        Just on your comment about downforce and the potential competitiveness of the Red Bulls, yes it seems likely that they have more downforce than any other car.

        You did mention the Red Bulls having “good centre of gravity/aerodynamic centre of pressure (which is pretty much the same thing)”. This statement is wrong on a few levels. The rake of the Red Bull and the fixed engine location rules make it highly likely that the Red Bull has a higher centre of gravity than most, and possibly all other cars on the grid. It is a trade off for getting greater performance from the floor that is worth having. For stability reasons the centre of gravity is ahead of the centre of pressure. It has to be to give the drivers sufficient reaction time in fast corners.

        As to future races, Renault will be working to improve the engine all the time, so the baseline is forever changing. But Hungary is a good place for Red Bull at the moment as there are plenty of corners to exploit the downforce. Spain still needs power and the Mercedes drivers can trade off top speed for wing angle.

      3. Random 79 says:

        Common sense a virtue in F1?

        Are you watching the same sport as the rest of us? ;)

    4. Grant H says:

      She deals with commercial stuff, pat symonds does the technical

  12. cometeF1 says:

    Well done to Mercedes yet again. Rosberg on top is probably a surprise for many. It is a bit of a special track for him, and again it went his way. Good for him.
    It should make for a better race I believe. I can’t see Rosberg having too much an advantage on his teammate over the race. Pit stops could decide the winner, but hopefully not.
    Vettel will be disappointed and rightly so if compared to his teammate. 12th and 13th for RB on the grip might give us good racing that part of the grid.
    “The day of number twos” at the top for sure as such. Raikkonen ahead of Alonso, Bottas of Massa, Perez of Hulkenberg…who else, Kvyat over Vergne…
    Looking forward to the race. As usual. Marc

  13. Sebee says:

    Three races in and I can’t get used to F1 sound being voice of the commentators.  It’s like they lost the trackside audio feed.

    At least RBR doesn’t have to worry about losing Newey to America’s Cup boat design.  These cars sound about the same as the yachts on TV.

    1. neilmurg says:

      you have made that point before, and many people disagree with you (and some agree). Please feel free to keep making it, but repetition doesn’t make your argument stronger, just tedious

      1. Sebee says:

        So I gather you didn’t like the engine sound either and don’t wish to be reminded about it?

        You’re right. No point complaining about something that won’t change anyway. I guess we will all have to learn to like the sound of tires.

      2. Red Rider says:

        ha-ha

        I can’t hear you. It’s those damn motors. 

    2. KRB says:

      Was gonna say that the sound on the FOM feed was a lot better than the previous two races. They have definitely changed their atmo mic’s, and also the onboards.

    3. Bryce says:

      Been a while since those cup boats resembled yachts.

    4. Random 79 says:

      Watching the quali last night I found that was actually enjoying the growl of the engines.

      The Renaults in particular seem to have smoothed out a bit since Aus and as for the volume I can just turn my TV up :)

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Random, but off topic, but have you noticed Daniel has the same sort of wooly hair (albeit in better condition) as a certain 6’5′ 17 stone Big Ape Yorkshireman?
        Before we know it, Daniel will be wearing a cream sports jacket with jeans, making rude comments to Sergio over his Mexican homeland and shouting at the drivers over the radio: “GET OUT OF MY WAYYY!”

      2. Sebee says:

        As you turn up the TV to heat the occasional brrrrr you also turn up the commentary – which can tire you out quite quickly.

        It’s just weird. We don’t have a choice really.

      3. Random 79 says:

        Everything’s weird at first, at least until you get used to it – but then again once you are used to something new it can be hard to go back.

        Case in point, check out the weird looking nose on this thing: Image

        Reckon they could have made it any higher? ;)

  14. Yago says:

    Some odd performances today. Hamilton’s was a bit poor, specially in Q3, Hulkenberg was destroyed by Perez, who was super quick. Seeing Raikkonen’s lap it seems like he has overcome those suposed problems he was having with the car (it should not be “odd”, however seeing his previous performances it is). Superb performance from Ricciardo, and not that good from Vettel. He had a problem with downshifts in his final lap, but even without it he was generally being bettered by Ricciardo this weekend.

    The only two “non odd” performances of the day from the top drivers, were Button’s and Alonso’s. Button finally put it together in qualifying. Alonso had the edge over Kimi, but good to see Kimi finally Kimi was on it. Had the engine respected Alonso (he lost power right from Q2) he would have fought for second row, probably fourth.

    All in all, quite a strange qualifying, probably due to the cooling of the track as the night came in. Some drivers did a better lecture of this fact and did a better set up than their teammates.

    1. Martin says:

      On the images I saw on Australian TV (we get UK Sky’s commentary), Kimi missed the apex at turns 1, 4, and 10, at which point I assumed the FOM director gave up on him and went to look at other cars. So his final time was a surprise to me.

      1. Yago says:

        Yes, I agree he missed the apex at 1 and 4, but he still had very very good exits. But probably a bit of time lost in sector 1. However interestingly, doing a comparison with Alonso, I think were he was loosing more time was in sector 3, but we couldn’t see it!

    2. Luis Pastilla says:

      Alas, Kimi is not yet finally ‘on it’, nor do I expect that before Barcelona or even Silverstone. Still a way to go but he when he does get there we will all know!!

  15. Irish Con says:

    If seb doesn’t hurry up and start beating Daniel consistently his reputation is gonna start to go down. Great job so far from Daniel.

    1. Jazzda says:

      Germany and Austria wouldn’t let that happen. And for who knows something about how things have been done in F1, Vettel reputation is not that high.

    2. Random 79 says:

      Too late…

    3. Tealeaf says:

      I had a feeling the Seb bashing would start over a qualifying session it’s laughable. Did you watch Malaysia? Vettel already started ‘beating’ Dan or did the last race not happen? and let’s watch the race with interest I’m sure the number 2 drivers will all be fired up. It’d be great if Bottas could jump the Mercs at the start and actually hold them off for a few laps.

      1. Grant H says:

        Yeh but put it in perspective vettel the 4 time WDC should not be out qualified this early in season by the new boy, if it carrys on quite rightly people will say the last 4 years was mostly the car….

      2. Tealeaf says:

        What about Hamilton often out qualified by Rosberg who in turn was trashed by Webber.

      3. Gazza says:

        Seb needs to beat Daneil today. Otherwise it would damage Seb,s mental state no ends, Seb finishing in front is a must for the fan club

      4. jake says:

        love it… :-)

      5. Random 79 says:

        “Vettel already started ‘beating’ Dan”

        Was he already beating Dan when he ‘let’ Dan overtake him at the start? ;)

  16. Chema says:

    This is why I thought so highly of Vettel’s season last year, his consistency was in a class of its own. Here we are, with a car that is virtually unbeatable, three races into the championship, and Hamilton already making a huge mistake in quali. That’s why Vettel was so impressive last year, he barely made a mistake the whole year.

    We are seeing how important reliability is… Vettel and Alonso hit problems, the former complaining about his gearbox, the latter about a performance drop in his power unit. Hopefully they both get their issues fixed by tomorrow, because that group of drivers in the middle, from Alonso to Ricciardo, is going to be worth watching tomorrow as the race starts!

    1. Quade says:

      Several ex-drivers listened to Vettels downshifts and concluded that he had no issues.
      He was most likely just embarrassed by Ricciardo’s performance.

    2. KRB says:

      Give me a break! Vettel lost out to Hamilton in Hungary and Belgium. Both should’ve been nailed on certs for pole.

      Some last year would ridiculously claim that Hamilton was harder on his machinery, and would then blame any mech failure on this. So I suppose Vettel’s off into the gravel out of T2 likely caused his issue with his downshifts, and hence is all his fault?

      People can be stupid at times.

      1. Chema Martin says:

        Guess you are talking about yourself there at your last sentence? Yup, makes sense for someone who cannot make a point without insulting…

        The fact that Vettel didn’t beat Hamilton every time last year doesn’t have much to do with my argument, which was that Vettel consistently got the most of his machinery, and when he couldn’t get pole, he was right where his car allowed.

        As for yesterday and whether it was a result of Vettel’s own mistake during FP3, which we don’t know for sure, I guess I have to repeat I was talking about Vettel’s last season when I was talking about pretty much error free performance. Who knows if Alonso’ problems are completely unrelated to something he might have done? That’s pure speculation and nonsense here, both on him and Vettel. As far as I am concerned, I believe the official story, tired of so called “experts” who can tell what goes on in Vettel’s car better than him just by listening on TV… It’s ridiculous, really.

      2. KRB says:

        “… when he couldn’t get pole, he was right where his car allowed.”

        I disagree with this.

        Like I said, last year at Hungary and Spa, Vettel should’ve stuck his car on pole. That was the natural qualifying position for his car. He didn’t do it. It was the driver that failed to get the car to its best position in those circumstances.

        In the end, it didn’t cost him that much (well, it probably did cost him the win in Hungary, as he likely would’ve skipped away if he had led from the line), b/c in the end it was a walkover season, with his 13 wins. Would’ve been nice to get 14 wins though, most ever, no? But he had no real challenge from his teammate. A better teammate alongside him would’ve punished any errors.

        As for his FP3 off, I was saying that people had ridiculously claimed in previous seasons that Hamilton wrecked his gearbox in a practice session, after he had retired from the race later with a gearbox problem. I don’t believe Vettel’s downshifts problem was down to his FP3 off, just parroting the line used by others against Hamilton in the past.

        Have a good one C.M. :-)

    3. jake says:

      A mistake yes, but huge? Did you notice he is on the front row? I expect the two Merc drivers to be swapping pole all season until the rest catch up.

    4. L.B says:

      Hey, maybe you missed this update…the cars are now using power units which make them that much harder to drive. You’re comparing a difficult car with one that had all the down-force in the world and one which Vettel had driven for 3 years. Apples and oranges!

    5. Anil Parmar says:

      Vettel made mistakes in many qualifying sessions last year, including Monaco, Germany and Hungary which in 2 cases cost him wins. He even admitted that himself after those sessions; small mistakes in qualifying stopped him for taking even more wins last year!

  17. goferet says:

    Ha, I see it’s one of those days again were the number 2 drivers got the better of their teammates >>> awesome.

    For sure these kind of mixed up grids set up nice races as the number 1 drivers try to make up places during the race especially on the first lap.

    Anyway, first congrats go out to the pole sitter Rosberg especially for equaling his father’s tally.

    Superb job from Riccardo too for not only setting a time under a second off pole but also for claiming 3rd on a track Red Bull were expected to struggle as shown by the performances of Torro Rosso and Caterham.

    Good effort from Bottas but the real surprising performances in Q3 being Kimi (for splitting the Mercedes engines) and Perez who came out of no where.

    Hopefully this wasn’t a fluke result by both Kimi and Perez as we need them up there too.

    Overall, was a surprising qualifying session but am now suspecting that these night races catch out drivers as the tyres don’t work too well or something.

    We saw the same thing happen in Abu-Dhabi 2013 were Webber out qualified Vettel, Rosberg out qualified Lewis and Alonso didn’t make Q3.

    The same problems happened in Singapore 2013.

    P.s.

    Jenson and Rosberg are the drivers I will be keeping an eye on as in the recent past drivers celebrating anniversaries have ended up having DNFs.

    1. neilmurg says:

      ‘past drivers celebrating anniversaries have ended up having DNFs’
      congrats, dumbest mis-use of ‘statistics’ I’ve seen this weekend, shouldn’t you be commentating of football?

      1. Red Rider says:

        “Dumbest” is harsh. I enjoy Mr. Feret’s off-the-wall comments. He’s a fixture here at the St. James Pub, and he often pays a round.

      2. neilmurg says:

        yes, probably harsh and uncalled for, sorry feret.
        3 things in mitigation:
        It’s the use of statistics I was criticizing, not the person (I do not like them it’s fake information)
        Look at the time stamp, note to self:do not post late at night while drinking
        OK, there’s only 2 points really

      3. Red Rider says:

        You take care Neil.

    2. TJ says:

      Agreed that it was a superb job by Ricciardo. He is the only Renault powered car in the top 10 and to be first in line behind Mercedes is a fantastic effort. Just blows that he drops back to 13th now.

    3. KRB says:

      Jenson won in Hungary for his 200th GP.

  18. Harshad says:

    Kimi beware your nemesis Perez starts just ahead of you!

    1. Luis Pastilla says:

      Perez may be more worried about old McLaren rival Button who starts behind Kimi with a faster car…

    2. Kay says:

      Someone still has to punch him in the face (from Mpnaco last year)

      1. Luis Pastilla says:

        Are you volunteering? :)

      2. Kay says:

        I’d rather enjoy a good view of this happening.

    3. C Lin says:

      That’s what I was thinking too.

  19. Matt says:

    I’m amazed that Vettel seems to be so uncomfortable with the new cars that appear to require alot more input from the driver. He destroyed the competition in the old format and now seems to be really having a tough time. I realize he did well in Malaysia, but he just seems to be struggling more than I expected.

  20. Alex Trickle says:

    I love how quick people are to jump to conclusions – last week it was “Hamilton will walk over Nico and win the championship” and now this week it is “Raikonnen smashing Alonso” and “Ricciardo dominating Vettel”…

    Its been 2 races and 3 qualifying sessions, way too early to be the judge of anything in between mates! I’m not judging inter team battles until the summer break – the only real concrete judgement you can make this early is Mercedes’ advantage is just silly and it is more damaging to the sport than any of RBR’s dominating seasons, they never had this level of dominance!

    1. jakobusvdl says:

      Good call Alex, there are too many things going on with the individual cars to draw firm conclusions on the relative competitive positions of the drivers in a team.
      As you say Mercedes have a heck of an advantage over the pack, we’ll start to see if anyone can claw them back after they teams get back to Europe.
      I my view, thank goodness we are having unpredictability within teams and between all but the Mercedes teams, otherwise it wouldn’t be as interesting to follow ;-)

    2. Elie says:

      A very valid comment. Im a huge Kimi fan (dislike FA heaps)but Im first to say Fernando had car problems. Ive always believed Hamilton is fastest & even if Nico wins today – that wont opinion change. Too many fans are like yo yos!

  21. Rohind says:

    James, a bad day at office for Vettel or any set up/gear box issues seeing how other red bull qualified at 3rd?? Guess, the battle between Alonso,Vettel and Hulkenberg will be interesting at the start

  22. DK says:

    This is looking like 2009 Brawn’s style of domination …. yawn. Hopefully there is a battle in the midfield tomorrow.

  23. Sri says:

    Notable performances of over-achievement: Ricciardo, Perez and Raikkonen.

    Alonso may have some issue, otherwise that was uncharacteristically slow for him. Raikkonen looked better than him in dry in Malaysia, but not here. So it was a surprise for him to be in the front. He can fight for podium if things fall in place and he drives well.

    Out of top-10 only 3 non-Mercedes powered cars. So how long should we endure this Mercedes domination. If it was RBR or Reanult (sometimes) for the last few years, now it is someone else. Where is the actual racing? It was the fight for the best of the rest last year (behind Vettel), now also the same with the difference being the “rest” now has 2 drivers.

    1. Alex says:

      Again it’s just another proof that people should never put too much weight on pratice sessions…for sure it didnt look good for Kimi on Friday, but on the other hand it look really good on pratice sessions in Malaysia, yet its always the quali and the race that matter.

      Just shame that unless Mercedes drivers would suffer DNF, there really is no competition for win besides between Merc drivers themselves. I hope this is not going to be the case troughout the season, but since engine development is not allowed, I dont see how the other teams are able to catch Mercedes. Shame, cause behind Mercedes the other teams, Ferrari, Red Bull, Williams, Force India and Mclaren are much closer to eachother

    2. Chris Chong says:

      Does qualifying a Caterham within 0.3s of a Sauber count as over-achieving?

  24. Alexander Supertramp says:

    Does anybody know whether Lewis or Nico had the better race pace in practice?

    1. James Allen says:

      Lewis quick and the fuel consumption was better

    2. NickH says:

      Also, Lewis reported a slight balance issue yesterday that hampered him slightly compared to how great the car was on Friday. Shouldn’t be as much of problem in the race though.

  25. Hari says:

    It will be a great fight between teammates this season, ham vs ros, alo vs rai, ric vs vet. But I fear merc will have no competition for the titles. For all the vettel supporters, why can’t he beat his teammate in the same machinery. He is great if he has a faster car and if he is leading the race. He is not the best driver of his era . It’s either ham or alo

    1. Rohind says:

      He had troubles with gear box and downshifting in the qualifying and they were not able to fix in time.

    2. Tealeaf says:

      Watch Malaysia again, watch this race too maybe it’ll be blanked out by the Hamilton brigade again if result doesn’t go to their satisfaction. Even last year the quali battle between Hamilton and Nico was only 11-8 or 12-7 I can’t remember for sure but hardly a white wash but I don’t see the Hamilton bashing when everytime Nico outqualifies Hamilton, it happens in F1 it was the day of the number 2′s but I suspect the race will turn out differently.

  26. German Samurai says:

    Won’t surprise me to see Alonso still beat Kimi in the race.

    Ferrari made their bed you have to say. Two old guys who are renowned as ordinary qualifiers at best.

    Inspired choice by Red Bull to have rejected Kimi and gone with Ricciardo. Really gutsy by the 4x world champions to have gone with talent they believed in rather than the famous name.

    1. Alex says:

      Well driver choises are not going to matter anyway atleast during this season when Mercedes atleast +1 second ahead. Alonso and Kimi are only able to fight for 3rd places at best, same goes for others as well unless Mercedes would face reliability issues, I just dont see anyone catching them this season, cause there is only so much the others can do with development, since touching on the engine is not allowed until next winter.

    2. Sri says:

      These two drivers were 2nd and 3rd in WDC table last two years (until Kimi stopped last year). So Ferrari hired proper drivers. They don’t have proper technical/designing and strategy team (on track). They are not addressing that issue.

      1. German Samurai says:

        Ricciardo was driving a Toro Rosso. Let’s not revise history here. Red Bull was widely panned for going with Ricciardo.

        Kimi and Alonso both had strong cars hence being second and third in the championship up until Kimi stopped.

        Look at all the podiums Grosjean had in the second half of the season. Even the most biased Alonso fan has to agree that Ferrari had the strongest package on balance up until at least Montreal. Alonso did nothing with the advantage. If Alonso made the most of his advantage Ferrari would have committed resources to the remainder of 2013 rather than cutting their losses and looking towards 2014.

        Alonso just doesn’t get enough out of the incredible resources available to him at Ferrari. Wherever Vettel goes he lifts them up with him. Wherever Hamilton goes he lifts them up with him. Alonso doesn’t really do that. At Renault he thought the team was against him, thought they were against him at McLaren, has rubbished the car throughout his time at Ferrari in order to elevate the perception of his own performance.

    3. Elie says:

      Car, car, car… Do you get it !!!!. You dont think 8/10 drivers would stick that Merc on pole.Watch the on the boards.. Open your eyes ..The Ferrari is slower than Merc, FI, Williams in dry conditions at par with Red Bull – excellent job Dan

      1. Yago says:

        I don’t think the Ferrari is on par with Red Bull, not at all.

  27. Saurabh says:

    KRB,
    Dont worry you will score more points from hulk for jumping places.

    JA, I hope you will agree.

    1. KRB says:

      Yeah, except I picked Ricciardo for the “Most Positions Made Up” slot, figuring that he would perhaps qualify P6 or so, and so would have more slower cars ahead after his grid drop. I think he’ll still make up some places, but whether he’ll make up the most, dunno about that now.

  28. AlexD says:

    OK, there are couple of things that I wanted to say but there is one thing that I was to highlight in particular:-)

    To be clear – not a fan of Hamilton, not a fan of Rosberg, not a fan of Merc. I am neutral to anything Mercedes.

    But I do recall the discussion last week when Rosberg was faster than Ham in Practice sessions and some segments of the qualifying, but it was Hamilton who took the P1. Fans of Ham were saying – yes, Nico was faster almost the entire weekend except for when it mattered the most. I am sorry, I can’t resist but to say the same about Hamilton this weekend:-)

    Now onto something that matters to me – Ferrari is really showing the real legacy style now, but not the legacy of Todt, Brawn and Schumi…the legacy of 20 years before that…when it was very Italian. Sad….but what can you do…

    1. Kevin Shiel says:

      +1
      Agree on both points. Lewis fans are mostly english speaking thats why we hear them here. Its ok to cheer for ur hero but plz dont squash other talented drivers when u were doing so.
      I only got one feeling after reading the recent interview with the ferrari principle on f1.com, what a c0ck. Ferrarri needs brawn styled man in charge to steer them out of the catching up game.

    2. KRB says:

      Totally deserved. Hamilton swept every practice session, which does not matter! Q3 is all that matters. Rosberg’s time was a handy one, dunno if Lewis could’ve beaten it even with a clean lap.

    3. ferrarista says:

      What can you do, you ask? The answer is hire someone who can lead the team in a way Lauda or Schumacher did. Hard work, commitment, and hard work over and over again.

    4. Random 79 says:

      What do you expect when you call a high performance machine FIAT? It’s bound to be a bit confused… ;)

      1. Tealeaf says:

        Maybe it’s Fiat vs Datsun vs Daimler.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Maybe so and well said, but I still wouldn’t bet on the FIAT :)

    5. Tealeaf says:

      Exactly, “Nico is faster when it really counted”.

      1. aezy_doc says:

        It surely only really counts in the race.
        I do think that Nico is a quick racer and capable of beating Hamilton (in a single weekend and over a season), but if Hamilton gets consistency to add to his speed, he will win the championship.

    6. NickH says:

      Totally agree on the Ferrari point. They have absolutely lost the level that Michael, Brawn, and Todf got them back to. Back to where they were before Michael joined basically

  29. Rich B says:

    ricciardo the star of qually for me

    1. Tealeaf says:

      How comes you didn’t say that about Vettel for Malaysian quali?

      1. Richard says:

        this circuit suits mercedes a lot more, they’re much quicker than red bull. the rain in malaysia leveled competition slightly too, i’m not taking anything away from vettel, it was a great lap.

  30. coronwen says:

    Interesting how Ricciardo, Bottas, Perez and even Kimi managed to out-qualify their more “fancied” team mates. Should make for some interesting inter-team battles tomorrow.

    To go off topic – this year F1 is all about energy recovery, using less fuel etc etc. Very laudable even if the implementation is questionable. So how does that equate with shifting the time of this GP so that a ridiculous number of floodlights burn gigawatts of electricity (not to mention the myriads of lights covering every available palm tree in the paddock)? For the price of the electric bill every car could have 250kg of fuel for every GP for decades. Harebrained.

    1. Formula so called "green" says:

      +1
      Not to mention the the whole motoring industry has the wrong idea in the first place. Why turn F1 into an economy run using batteries that are equally as toxic on the environment to produce compared to petrol?

    2. Nedder says:

      An excellent point, one I’ve made myself a few times. I accept that F1 ‘may’ (depending on who you listen to) be getting ‘greener’, but to do this just LOOKS bad. And all that global travel. And £400 to send two guys racing 20 times a year. It IS utterly ridiculous.. But if I’m honest, that’s kind of why I fell in love with the sport in the first place. But new era… Ok, a bit quiet, but drivers FIGHTING them cars. I’ll take a bit of the ‘faux green’ for a bit more of that old-school ‘not quite enough grip’ stuff…

      Where’s me tequila?

    3. C63 says:

      the price of the electric bill every car could have 250kg of fuel for every GP for decades….

      I take your point. However, the 100kg fuel limit has nothing to do with the cost of the fuel – it is so the teams focus on developing a more fuel efficient power unit. If you think about it for a moment, you realise just how extraordinary these new power units are. The cars are running at a comparable speed (I suspect they will get down to last seasons times soon) and yet they burn 35% less fuel than last season. Imagine if that was transposed to all the cars in the world – you would have sufficient energy to run all the lights at the Bahrain GP for centuries :-)

    4. Martin says:

      At 83 Bernie isn’t too worried about the environment, just TV ratings. He didn’t want to change the engines rules…

      1. Tealeaf says:

        Why’s that? that’s just prejudice against the old right? Benie has children and they are probably going to be affected by the future are they not?

      2. Gaz Boy says:

        Thing is Tealeaf, at least one of Mr E’s daughters chooses – chooses – to live in smog infested dirty polluted old LA, you know a city in a certain country that pumps out 25% of the world’s carbon emissions. Martin’s just being ironic, but as with all ironic comments, he does have a valid point.

  31. aveli says:

    good job rosberg. am hoping for an interesting race tomorrow. ricciardo shone as brightly as kvyat.

  32. Sujith says:

    Kimi will probably play down him beating his team-mate and rightfully so. He has run out of fresh soft tyres and I guess Alonso had a problem with Engine Power did he not? But nevertheless, he improved on him time from Q2 which is a good sign of things to come! Go KIMI!!

    Hopefully he can drag that Ferrari to a podium. The stats are all lined up for him with the results of the past 2 years. The Quick HULK not being a factor in Ferrari strategy might also help. Don’t know, but I guess this is the best of times to make a break for the podium. Remains to be seen what Perez can do.

    Well done Rosberg! I still believe he just lacks self confidence compared to Lewis. Maybe if he wins here.. he can start believing in himself a little bit more.

  33. fox says:

    Happy for Nico.
    Obviously Alonso’s and Vettel’s cars did not have pace.
    Looking for the interesting race when both champions will try to get to the front!

  34. Bert Puttocks says:

    Nice to see Kimi beat Alonso in qualifying even if FA had a ‘problem’ with his car.

    Let’s hope the race is exciting and LH gets ahead of Rosberg.

    1. Sujith says:

      Yes. Problem for Alonso true. But Kimi was quicker than Alonso in Q1 and went 6 tenths faster on his own time from q2 for q3.

      If Fernando did not have the problem, he would have been ahead probably. But the big picture is still there. Kimi is improving race by race. We are at Race 3. Remains to be seen where he will be in a few races time.

      1. fox says:

        It will be all clear after Monaco

  35. Kidza says:

    James, would you know what the straight line speeds of the drivers are; i.e. who has gone for more or less downforce and could this have a bearing on tyre management in the race as the temperature drops?

    1. James Allen says:

      Force India 328kmh
      Ham 326
      Ross 325
      Ricciardo 320
      Alo 316
      Vettel 314

      1. Random 79 says:

        That’s not nearly as much of a deficit for RBR as we were lead to believe.

        Those “reliability” upgrades sure are working ;)

      2. Glennb says:

        Or Dan is carrying way less wing in order to make up some places on race day. Seb is still like 14k down on the Merc engines so I doubt Renault have moved up much at all.
        RB will have Honda power next year so that will be interesting ;)

      3. Random 79 says:

        Very interesting.

        With Red Bull giving them wings and Honda giving them the power of dreams anything will be possible :)

      4. Tealeaf says:

        Exactly, Vet’s PU weak again like OZ?

      5. TJ says:

        You don’t need to keep making/finding excuses for finger boy. Maybe they ran a slightly lower down force setup for Ricciardo knowing he would have to do lots of passing, or maybe vettel was slower due to self inflicted damage to the under tray when he spun off the track in P3.

      6. aezy_doc says:

        Or a poor set up, going for a more stable car rather than one with less drag.

  36. Luke says:

    What a stupidly draconian penalty. Ricciardo lost loads of places in the last race because of the pitstop problem, had a 10-second penalty on top and then loses 10 places on the grid here?

    It’s just ridiculous!

    1. Kevin Shiel says:

      Agree why the driver was to be punishd for teams mistake?
      10 places penalty is way too harsh. They should fine the team for euro 1M for unsafe release instead of punishing the drivers

    2. OffCourse says:

      I’ve made this comment a few times, but will try one more time. RBR have lost a wheel 3 times in 19 races on the No.2 RB car. It’s RBR who is responsible for Dan having to take this penalty.

      On a different note James, 10 minutes before Q1 there was footage of 2 men and a woman talking. One of the men seemed to be quite disrespectful towards Sir Jackie Stewart. Hope I was wrong, but do you know if these were some blow ins that don’t know how to treat a 3 x WDC. Hopefully they knew one another but looking from the outside it looked like very poor form.

      1. James Allen says:

        Didn’t see it, sorry

      2. Luis Pastilla says:

        Perhaps it was something very innocent like a request for loan of a coin which JS refused outright.

      3. Random 79 says:

        I don’t know him personally, but I always got the impression that he wouldn’t take any amount of BS from anyone.

        At a guess I’d say if you or I walked up to Jackie in the pit lane and started being disrespectful he’d sort us out right quick :)

    3. jakobusvdl says:

      It does seem harsh, but since the RBR / Webber unsafe release last year severely injured a cameraman, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that the penalties for a repeat are harsh.

    4. Nedder says:

      But is IS in the rules, as accepted and agreed to by all competitors prior to the season, as (when the incident occurred that brought the issue of ‘unsafe release’ recently to the fore), someone was almost killed. This is why the rule exists, this is why it was agreed by the teams. Mistakes like that cannot occur without censure because it will result in someone dying, and I doubt whether your favourite drivers’ grid slot will mean too much at that point.

    5. jake says:

      There is absolutely no excuse for releasing your car without the wheels fully attached. Note, the other teams seem to have adopted a slower pit stop strategy to avoid such incidents.
      Hard on DR but he is part of the team that screwed up.
      A fine for the team is no real penalty.

    6. Random 79 says:

      The FIA are trying to stamp down on unsafe releases, which is a good thing. Punishing the drivers for it is not.

      Maybe they should just make the pit crew run up and down the pit lane wearing tutus or something equally embarrassing and watch how quickly the unsafe releases stop ;)

      1. warley says:

        + 1 !!

      2. Random 79 says:

        It’s been officially seconded James – could you please raise my idea with the FIA at your earliest convenience? :)

    7. C63 says:

      I believe the punishment for an unsafe pit stop release was agreed, after consultation with the teams. It is really the only way to ensure the teams take it seriously. Can you imagine the fallout if the incident with the cameraman, last season, had been more serious?

    8. Distant Knight says:

      Watching the V8 super cars today, and I think they have nailed the penalty for this type of thing… The team gets fined and loses championship points, the driver gets no penalty other than losing a wheel obviously.

      1. Random 79 says:

        The difference between the V8s and F1 is the gap between the teams – any fine big enough to give a team like Red Bull pause would be big enough to wipe a team like Marussia off the face of the planet, and conversely for any fine Marussia could afford to pay a team like Red Bull would just laugh and ask the FIA would you like some more?

      2. Distant Knight says:

        The fine can be minimal, but the loss of championship points would give even the bigger teams pause. Keep in mind, championship position determines prize money at the end of the year also, and those sums are not to be sneezed at…

      3. Randm 79 says:

        True enough and I’ve had the same thought, but as others have pointed out to me:

        If the team loses constructor points then that’s less they have to pay in entry fees the following year. I’m sure there’s a quick fix for that, but as it stands losing a few points could actually be a benefit.

        Also for teams like Marussia and Caterham (and the sorry Lotus): What championship points?

  37. Jon Clucas says:

    I’m hoping for Bottas to do something special – 1st podium – but could he be on one the top two steps???

    1. Tealeaf says:

      How will it be the top 2 step?

      1. Randm 79 says:

        Is that a kind of dance?

        He means one of the two top steps, i.e. could he get 1st or 2nd.

  38. Dan says:

    Well done Rosberg, no question he is a top driver.

    Tomorrow is key though, Lewis totally outclassed Nico last week, I am intrigued as to how the race will pan out.

    Could Nico be like Webber, where he rarely had the advantage over the field that Seb did?

    I know this year is even more domination than we saw with Red Bull, but I’ll be honest, I’m enjoying it because we have a Brit up there.

  39. Rob Newman says:

    Once again this report fails to mention the problems Vettel had during qualifying.

    1. Nedder says:

      Well that’s not really news, clearly he did… James, please may you (officially) tell Rob that Der Seb had problems in qualifying, as I fear he may get a pap on?

      1. James Allen says:

        He did.

        A legacy of the spin in FP3 , problems with waste gate on turbo

        The used a different map for quali so he was on the back foot

    2. Justin Case says:

      Yeah what gives…….poor seb had to drive that car without a comfortable advantage of .5 sec a lap….the lack of off throttle downforce also makes him nervous applying power coming out of corners and the stability under braking is also a worry cos he misses the apex when decelerating from high speed and entering a slow corner quite often for a 4 time champ…….swear I thought massa was driving the bull seeing how his lines varied from lap to lap!

    3. kenneth chapman says:

      he didn’t have any…it was all media spin to salve the hurt feelings of the golden child!

    4. Cheesypoof69 says:

      His problem was that he sucked and his new team mate outdid him again. Enjoy the fact.

    5. Tealeaf says:

      Anti Vettel sentiments, are you actually surprised? I’ve seen enough from FP in Oz and the whole of Malaysian weekend to know Seb has enough to see off Ricciardo, even though we all know Dan is quick but if he can’t transfer it to race pace it’s pointless, overtaken and outraced at Malaysia says it all, would the english speaking media mention anything about that? Didn’t think they would.

  40. TimW says:

    errors from both merc drivers on their final runs but still lock out the front row! Star of the show has to be Ricciardo, shame about the penalty.

  41. Random 79 says:

    Good job by Nico. Merc might be miles ahead of everyone else right now, but I’m thinking that this is still going to be a close championship, and if RBR can close the gap and get Seb and Dan in the mix too then all the better.

    Bring it on :)

  42. Rene says:

    The Bottas photo is excellent.

  43. Robert says:

    Daniel and Daniil impressed me most of all driver thus far this season. I hope Daniel will be allowed to race his team mate this year. Can’t wait for the race, because the team mate battles will be great this season.

  44. Olivier says:

    Hopefully I don’t have to eat my words tomorrow, but this bodes well for the year: a nip and tuck fight at the front between two lonely Mercedes drivers …

  45. RR says:

    In the case of Vettel, I can’t help wondering how much the lack of a double defuser and/or blown exhaust is playing into his current results. Vettel was seen as the master of driving such cars. When Red Bull had it, Webber couldn’t get close to him. Now it is gone and Riccardo is beating him.

    1. Adam L says:

      The double diffuser/ blown exhaust was what gave seb his significant advantage, I agree. He was able to use this with such skill, combined with Neweys aero dominance in corners to really find time when accelerating out of corners earlier, reading the balance of his car with precision, yet I believe Webber was able to be faster into the corner.
      Each time new regs have been introduced it seems Seb takes a while to adjust but once he does he is brilliant to watch.. Seems the same each year with big changes for him, I don’t believe webber was that bad, just a driving style and skill set that wasn’t helped with the newer driving requirements of the latest instalments of f1… And his natural decline with age..
      Having Ricciardo as his team mate with Ricciardo’s ability and undented self belief I wonder if there is a solution for Vettel in Neweys kit bag to really separate the two or if Ricciardo can weather Seb after he has acclimatised to the new demands.
      I feel it’s still early in the year with many significant possible developments available for exploitation and come mid year it will be Ricciardo I think who may need to ready himself to step up again to produce competitive results against Seb…
      It may have been the diffusers/ exhausts in the past but I’m sure there will be a design feature that Seb will hone his skills to find an advantage, I really believe he is that good..
      From a grounded f1 and Ricciardo and Webber fan.
      Ps: the new sound of the v6 turbo is a disgrace but great for the ‘possible’ relevance to real world developments!

    2. Martin says:

      I feel it is more a return to the start of 2012. Vettel wasn’t happy with the feel of the car while braking then, and was often slower than Webber in qualifying. But he was quicker in the races when there was a bit more of a margin. This may be similar, as we saw in Malaysia.

  46. robert christian says:

    lets all hope the mercs are allowed to race tomorrow

    1. Tealeaf says:

      And not “negative Nico”? They’re paying Hamilton too much for Rosberg to take points off the golden boy.

  47. Anil Parmar says:

    Is this the first time Lewis, Vettel and Alonso were all outqualified by their team mates?

    1. Alex says:

      Well you certainly have short memory. In Australia Vettel didnt get to Q3 either, Ricciardo got 2nd place.

      1. Anil Parmar says:

        But Lewis out qualified Rosberg there (Lewis was P1 and Nico P3) and I believe Alonso was ahead of Kimi too.

        I genuinely can’t think of another occasion in the past 5 years where they’ve all been out qualified by their team mates in the same qualifying session.

      2. O.S says:

        He means all three out-qualified in the same session..

  48. deancassady says:

    Start could be interesting for the Bottas/Perez second row pairing; both aggressive, both will go for it, and worry about consequences later.

    Too bad it’s so dreary with the Mercedes lock-outs in qualifying this year, but this start could be interesting, we might even get a safety car!!!
    That would be interesting.

    1. Martin says:

      could be a time to do a double stop – put on the mediums and immediately get rid of them.

  49. Cheesypoof69 says:

    Oh no, I really wanted to see Sebastian cheerfully holding up two lone fingers, but I suppose we’ll have to wait… till he has the fastest car again that is. Yes boys… Yes!

    I do wish Mercedes weren’t miles ahead, if they were a second slower we’d have an extremely close fight this year. The fact that the Ferrari and Renault engines are so inferior is a real pain for fans, I do wish the rules could be modified so that there are changes allowed so no single engine is overwhelmingly behind.

    1. Alex says:

      @cheesyPOOF69.
      Funny how after the new formula the one thing that interests you is someone’s FInger?
      I guess your name said it all…
      I don’t recall Red Bull ever having a 1+ sec advantage over 3 races…

      1. Cheesypoof69 says:

        It wasn’t the one thing, I did mention other things. We can’t all have amazingly unique names like “Alex”. I guess that’s the difference between what you “recall” and the actual facts. Does more than a one second advantage qualify for your personal arguments? Try recalling harder old boy…

      2. Random 79 says:

        Nice use of caps lol :)

    2. neilmurg says:

      what you want is irrelevant. part of the joy of f1 is, they set the rules and lots of brilliant engineers rise to the challenge,
      then, brilliant drivers do the best they can with the car they are given. we et to see the result, the fact that it isn’t what we want or expect is the point!

    3. Random 79 says:

      If changes were allowed Renault and Ferrari might be able to catch up a bit, but to be honest they’ve had more than enough time (the same amount of time that Mercedes had in fact) to get things in order: They didn’t, so tough bikkies for them.

      Meanwhile Merc would be making changes of their own, so while the other two might improve I think they’d still stay ahead.

      Think of it in terms of the teams; Marussia and Caterham can develop the car as much as they like, but they’ll still not going to catch the top tier teams any time soon ;)

      1. aveli says:

        they cannot catch up until they unfreeze the homologation. mercedes have they turbo stretched across the engine black with the air compressor on the inlet manifold and the propelling turbine at the exults manifold. cooler charge, less plumbing for the inter cooler all resulting in a lighter more efficient and durable engine. renault and ferrari engineers are fast asleep! I suggested this idea about having the inlet compressor near the air box and some regular anti hamilton fan posted a whole load of rubbish telling me it was not innovative.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Not sure about any of that cause frankly I don’t understand half of what you just said, but I believe they are allowed to make some “reliability” improvements :)

    4. Dazzler says:

      It just is not fair when Vettel doesn’t have the quickest car is it ?

      Well at least you have the memories.

  50. Samir says:

    Good driving by Nico, after Lewis topped all practices. It was a reversal of the last race when Rosberg led through the practices. Race can be a different story… it seems like small technical factors can swing the balance one way or the other, but wonder if the cooler conditions favor Nico. The start will be important. Nico will want to hold the advantage until the pitstops while Hamilton will not want to fall behind a Williams or Force India! Surprised at how Kimi turned things around…he was struggling all weekend. Looking forward to a tense race. The balance between all team mates has been interesting (Perez vs Hulkenber here). So far, the so-called top dogs are not all having it their own way!

    1. Alexander Supertramp says:

      Pitstops might be crucial!

  51. variable says:

    if Ricciardo is to take a 10 place penalty, then why parade him as one of the top three drivers today!?

    Although he deserves to be a top three today, there are casual viewers out there that will expect him to be on the second row tomorrow but he wont be there. Its these casual viewers that will add to the conversation of being confused about all the rules around F1 changing the outcome of races outside of the race itself.

    I understand why he deserves the penalty, but i don’t think he should be trophy’d around – its humiliating in my view.

    I do hope he fights through the field to finish third to show us he’s a potential champion in the making

    1. Distant Knight says:

      Um, because he qualified 3rd… The penalty is applied after qualifying, so that shouldn’t diminish his superb effort during qualifying. And I’m sure the casual viewers will figure out the penalty soon enough when they tune in for the race, what with the onscreen graphic during the grid lineup and the inevitable mention of it by the commentators… Or should we assume the casuals are also blind and deaf???

    2. Random 79 says:

      First, he doesn’t deserve the penalty; the team does, but unfortunately Dan is the one who ends up wearing it.

      Second, he does deserve to be listed in the top three because today he was. The grid drop after the fact doesn’t change the fact so it’s good to see him get some recognition for it. In the end I think there would be more people questioning why Meadows would have left him out rather than leaving him in.

      Third, if the casual viewers can’t understand why he’s in the top three but not in the top three then they can either become regular viewers or just ask a regular viewer to explain it to them…and while they’re at it maybe someone can explain it to me because I sure as hell don’t understand it ;)

      Fourth, agreed – go Dan! :)

    3. aezy_doc says:

      I don’t get this ‘casual viewer’ thing. Who cares if someone who doesn’t follow the sport doesn’t understand for a moment? I watch all sorts of Sports that I have no clue about but just enjoy the spectacle.

  52. Rockman says:

    Really impressed with Ricciardo! He seems to be a dark horse this year. He is always up there durong qualy and doesn’t appear to buckle under any pressure. Something about him seems like he will be the perfect fit at Ferrari in the future, not Vettel.

    Great drives today by Kimi, Perez and Bottas getting the upper hand on their teammates. Not sure what happened to Alonso specially with such a big gap to Kimi. Sounds like electrical problems with power going up and down…

    Be very interesting to watch Alonso and Seb try and move up together in the field along with Ricciardo.

    1. rob says:

      That last bit: Funny you should say that. I’ve been thinking the same thing for quite a while. If he gets the Webber treatment at RB then a nice drive at Maranello could be offered. Makes for interesting coffee talk, no?

    2. Quade says:

      Why would Ricciardo or Vettel ever want to leave Redbull for Rerrari?

      1. Rockman says:

        Ferrari history suggest they have highs and lows on form which last few years. Unfortunately Alonso joined them at a time of confusion, no direction, stale ideas etc.

        Perhaps if Dan moves one day, the team is ready to pick up the pieces and build something more worthy than we’ve seen in the last few years…

        I just hope Alonso can manage to secure a more competitive seat before he eventually says byebye. His talent definitely deserves more WDC than his record currently shows.

    3. Sujith says:

      Yes Riciardo is doing a wonderful job so far. Too bad he has had penalties. But Blame that on his stupid team!!

    4. KARTRACE says:

      I am not sure about Seb but with this rubbish of F14T Alonso could only go nowhere slowly. What a waste of time for Fernando. Ferrari has produced this F14T at the same time they never tell us that they managed also producing a time travel machine. So they vent all the way in pre 1996 F1 era…. No wonder why LDM is jumping all over the World with “fresh” ideas. Instead of firing that mediocre impotent team management he is looking elsewhere. When Alonso was signaling that not all is well in the team he jumped on Alonso’s case. LDM is a weak leader. If SF could fall as low as to mix tires on Alonso’s car, then what else to expect. If I was Alonso I would pull out of this circus, right now. Let then fix the team, the car, tires…. That detail on its own speaks volumes, it shows that they are in the panic mode an no one knows what’s going on over there.

      1. Sri says:

        where can Alonso go? to McLaren? They are not streets ahead either. RBR and Mercedes are settled. So where else can he go?

  53. Andrew M says:

    Bahrain has always been a strong Nico circuit, so not surprised to see him take pole. If he takes the win he’ll be in a very strong position going back into Europe, all he has to do is match Lewis (slightly less in fact) to maintain his championship lead.

  54. AJ says:

    Great job Daniel, but so unlucky too.

    Without his (team induced) mishaps he would be 2nd in the championship on 30 points and starting best if the rest in P3 tomorrow.

    Instead he’s got nothing to show for his work so far this year and he’ll be back in the pack tomorrow.

    10 place penalty carryover penalty from Malaysia is way too harsh.

  55. Matt says:

    Great result for Merc, but were we expecting anything less? Ham joined last year on the back of what was going to happen this year.

    Great result for Ricciardo. “The guys a class act”.

  56. David in Sydney says:

    And finally the circuit looks OK – just shroud it in darkness – looks much better than Singapore under these conditions.

  57. Tom says:

    Interesting qualifying. Difficult to resist the temptation to read too much into it.

    Looks like Nico coped with the changed conditions on the softer tyres a little better than Lewis, being faster in Q2. Expecting it to be a titanic duel between them tomorrow. Think Lewis’ body language was noticeably more downcast than it was after qualifying in Malaysia (despite saying he wasn’t disappointed), there was surely more time to come from him had he not made that mistake on his final lap.

    Daniel Ricciardo is fast becoming one of my favourites. Great speed and seems he’s totally unfazed by being with the world champions. Another top performance from him today. I understand Vettel had some problems with the car, but it’s striking me how Ricciardo has been able to generally match Vettel’s pace so far this year and it casts some doubt for me over Vettel’s recent run of successes. Mark Webber was generally quite a long way off in 2013, so that gives two options: either Vettel is on another planet, or the car was even more dominant than it appeared and Webber was past it. I like Mark as a guy but with Ricciardo’s performances so far I’m beginning to suspect it’s the latter. Can’t help but wonder what someone like Fernando Alonso would have done with the Red Bulls of the past few years. (Suspect I’ll get flamed for this paragraph.)

    Other stand-out performers for me were Bottas, Perez and Raikkonen, although sadly I doubt the Ferrari will make much progress in the race. Podium is definitely possible for Bottas and Perez.

  58. aveli says:

    check out mercedes’ trick turbo on the sky website. so clever much cooler charge with a lot less piping. now this can be applied to road cars to make them much more efficient and durable.

  59. f-duct says:

    Good job by Rosberg, i am still in doubt he can keep this up over the year. For every Rosberg pole position we might see two or three from Hamilton. China is Rosbergs best track but in Spain and Canada Hamilton is always very strong. Should Rosberg stay ahead it will be very interesting how Hamilton reacts outside of the car and if Rosberg becomes more extroverted.

    Ricciardo again seems to have better reliabilty which makes him look faster than he really is compared to Vettel. Kvyat without any prior F1 experience is causing more damage to Vergnes F1 future than Ricciardo ever did in 2 years and they started at the same time ! At least we now know that Red Bull is the second best car even in dry conditions.

  60. Dan says:

    So Massa, Bottas was quicker than you……….

  61. David Hope says:

    I still don’t get why the engines can’t be developed. Madness locking in such an advantage – you wouldn’t do it with the chassis.

    Also bizarre that you can spend 50m on front wing tweaks but do nothing major engine related

  62. Oly says:

    These F1 cars are too complex, too many things can go wrong. It’s third race of the season and we still don’t have the slightest clue which driver is better compared to his teammate because every team in every quali/race has some kind of car issues.. to me this becomes a lottery not high-end racing.

  63. yst_01 says:

    Ham and Ros made so many mistakes in their last run in Q3, than Vettel had made over the last for years……

    1. AlexD says:

      Vettel himself is making more mistakes these races that he made in the last 4 years. Cars are different, more difficult to drive. Red Bull was the perfect aero car when it mattered the most.

  64. TJ says:

    Ricciardo is the only Renault powered car in the top 10. Quite a superb effort given the lower power output of the engine. Just blows that he gets penalised twice for the team screwing up last week and drops back to 13th.

  65. BeaverBill says:

    Kimi came out with 2 bad races due to problems and now it’s Alonso’s turn to have problems. . It wasn’t as if Kimi was a slouch, and neither is Alonso. Don’t think the bashings should go any farther really, time will tell all

    Sure hope that “the rest” pick up later on this year for the fight at the front or we’ll be watching the back of the pack for any sort excitement….unfortunately, it doesn’t look too promising now does it, Mercedes is cleaning house.

  66. rob says:

    You have to be kidding!!! If Mark was/is not much of a driver, Red Bull would have dropped him long ago, or not given him a drive in the first place. Porsche would not have grabbed him to head up their team, if they were not convinced he was the best man for the job. Contrary to the opinions of some boofheads, team principals are not stupid people.

  67. jakobusvdl says:

    Amazing that only three races in the teams are all running so much more reliably, even lotus!
    James two questions;
    Have you got a table of how the teams are getting through their allocation of power pack components?
    Will you have time to do any podcasts this year? The ones from last year were brilliant – great information, analysis, interviews, contributors, the best informed F1 podcasts I”ve come across.

    1. James Allen says:

      The Toro Rossos, Red Bulls are on second power unit, so is Kobayashi

      Maybe one other I’d have to check

      No plans to do podcasts as things stand.

  68. Nedder says:

    Are those the only two options?

  69. Derek Lorimer says:

    Great effort Daniel. Shame about the penalty

  70. Martin says:

    You’ll get many different opinions on the quality of drivers. Even if you look at lower classes where the chassis are all the same, how a driver works with the race engineers makes a big difference to how well a driver goes.

    Different drivers have different skills. Adrian Newey noted that Webber had exceptional sensitivity for downforce levels and this made him exceptionally good in fast corners, something Mark Hughes noted on a few occasions. He didn’t have as great a feel for the mechanical grip levels and this is a key area that Vettel was using to great effect with managing the Pirelli tyres.

    Being a heavier driver he had a weight distribution and centre of gravity disadvantage even when the cars weighed the same amount. Stronger drivers have an advantage in being able to brake slightly later when the cars are stopping from more than 300 km/h, but with the current tyres that quickly wears them out, so the advantage is negated.

    Being comfortable with a car is key to a driver getting close to the maximum possible out of a qualifying lap. The drivers are anticipating the grip levels and the wind effects. If your car is not predictable, such as how it down shifts then the cost of errors tends to be greater. We saw with Vettel in early 2012 that when the aerodynamic tunnels were not working properly that Webber’s greater aerodynamic feel would give him an edge in qualifying, but in the races Vettel was generally faster.

    If you were to take Ricciardo – he was under contract with Red Bull anyway – but we didn’t see any talk about other teams wanting him. Yet Red Bull picked him over Kimi on performance grounds. Not many observers agreed with that. Terms were used such as “potential to grow”. But you look at it now and it doesn’t seem so silly an idea. You get comments about Kimi being the fastest in F1 at times. Now in a 2005 McLaren that suited his style he was quick. We now get comments about how Kimi has lost 0.2 from his prime. There’s no way an external observer can judge that. To spot 0.01 of a second in a corner is not possible, especially with different cars 5-10 years apart. Drivers can look smooth, but that isn’t always fast.

    Trying to assess drivers analytically takes a lot of effort. Even the teams struggle with it, as McLaren’s lack of success with Perez showed. Whether we mark a driver up or a team mate down in our heads varies from person to person.

    If you were to take the top drivers in F1 – especially those who all weigh about the same – Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, Rosberg, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Bottas, Massa, (I’m excluding Butotn and the Hulk do to weight), then on a high quality qualifying lap they are all going to do about the same time – within two tenths of the car’s potential. How often they do it marks out the ones we think of as really quick (Vettel and Hamilton generally at the moment). In a race stint the differences become much more apparent.

    My $0.02 worth anyway.

    1. Red Rider says:

      Interesting and thoughtful post Martin

  71. Richard says:

    F1 cars being what they are these days depend on perfect set up for outright speed, and Hamilton knew he was up against it for pole because he was not as comfortable in the car during qualifying as he was in practice. His body language gave it away. I expect this is how it will go throughout the season seesawing between the two Mercedes drivers, but give Rosberg his due in that he worked hard at it to achieve the result. That being the case one would expect Rosberg to dominate in the race, but of course anything can happen. Good to see Williams up there, and Bottas is a force to be reckoned with as Massa is finding out. Excellent performance from Ricciardo, pity about the penalty as he deserves better.

  72. Nator says:

    The difference with Ricciardo is, is that he is enjoying himself. All the other blokes (mercs exempt) are scrapping away and don’t have a good feel about the car. Dan has never been in a Top Shelf team, he can see the positives, and not focusing on negatives. I expect a blistering start, probably make up 2-3 places on first lap with an aggressive race strategy to bring him home 4th or 5th whilst battling tyre issues in the last 5 laps or so.

  73. JohnBt says:

    I like the grid line up for Bahrain especially when the top guys are not really at the front except Lewis and Nico.

    Such a pity for Ric, but my respect for him grows with each race, let’s see how far he can claw back from 13th.

    Well at least we’re having a good fight between Lewis and Nico then the rest. Look forward to the race tonight.

  74. Arya says:

    James, what is with the fresh reports of Alonso going to Woking and Mclaren tweeting a photo of Ron-Alonso in 2007?

    Any credibility to that story?

    1. James Allen says:

      McLaren tweeted a photo of Ron and Alo in Bahrain from 2007

      I don’t think Alo wants to work with him again even if Ron can imagine it

      1. Arya says:

        Yeah, he might change his mind if Mclaren can convince him that Ron would not be a part of day to day running or if Ross, by some miracle, joins Woking.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Or if they can convince him they can give him a championship winning car, because let’s face it – Ferrari have failed to deliver.

  75. Sujith says:

    James, there was a tweet shared by @LorenzoDL83 mentioning the following radio conversation from Alonso at some point in the weekend so far probably on Friday not sure.

    “The only thing I want to know is this. where is the savior of the country(Raikkonen), what advantage I have over him?”

    Do you think this really happened? Can you confirm on that?

  76. Elie says:

    Great quali by Nico- obviously every driver finds form at certain tracks they like. Fantastic effort by Ricciardo probably best in Sat. 6/10 improvement from q2 to q1 for Raikkonen- but he was fighting the car the whole lap he cant do that on Sund.

    I really hope there is no incidents at the first turn on Sunday- there are many lead drivers out of position and a couple on the ascendancy ( Bottas Perez).

    Fernando wont stay 9th even for 1 corner, Seb will make a move. Dan isnt usually very good at starts (last week excepted) – expect him to get swallowed up- maybe even by Kimi- the ferrari start system is brilliant.

    If there are no dramas I think Hamilton will win with a

  77. Random 79 says:

    They were very closely matched, but Mark could never seem to get comfortable with changes like the Pirelli’s and blown exhausts.

    And sorry for rehashing it, but Mark still did beat him on Top Gear in equal machinery ;)

    1. aveli says:

      vettel won 13 races and webber was upset with vettel because he refuse to gift him a win. if that is not thrashing, i don’t know what is.

      1. Random 79 says:

        Yes 2013 was a thrashing, no argument, even if Mark did find himself racing on three wheels once or twice.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Did I mention Mark beat Vettel on Top Gear?

  78. sudipt123 says:

    Let’s hope kimi converts this qualifying result in a podium finish, that is if he’s not taken out by wheel to wheel racing.

  79. peter says:

    Why is ricciardo having a penalty this weekend? Once he already had a penalty last weekend? So he is taking 2 penalty for the unsafe release?

    1. Random 79 says:

      I don’t agree with it, but that’s what they’re doing now:

      Automatic drive through followed by automatic grid drop – no questions, no arguments.

    2. KARTRACE says:

      It is ridiculous, what those regulations are meant for. It was teams fault so they should pay the fine and that is. It wasn’t drivers error. So crazy.

  80. Anup Kadam says:

    Hi James,
    I am a big fan of Ferrari and especially Fernando Alonso.so i would like to hear from you want actually Ferrari is lagging and how then can or can they now really get on top of their issues. I know that they are missing the straight line speed so how can they improve. and i have heard that Ferrari was worked hard on the aero package this year so do the Ferrari has improved their downforce level of the car or its still the same. What about the traction coming out off the corner`s. had they improved ? overall i would like to know in which areas the car has improved and still lagging behind. and can anyone challenge the Mercs. i only see the Redbull having that potential but still it will take sometime.

    1. Yago says:

      Ferrari is not far from red bull one lap pace, with a similqr performance of the engine. So the main problem is clearly the engine! Amazing that when they finaly have a decent chassis they are let down by the engine. It is a nightmare for Ferrari!

    2. KARTRACE says:

      With all due respect if James could answer all of it the he must immediately get job at SF sorting out Scuderia and making us all proud of team that we support. I am afraid this season is over.

  81. Tealeaf says:

    Webber is/was a better driver than Rosberg and beaten every team mate up til Seb, Ricciardo has the same problem Webber had and that’s average race pace and lack of true consistency but when they’re on it over 1 lap they’re both as fast as anyone, sure Redbull overall had the fastest car last year but nowhere near the dominance of this Mercedes, Renault still seems to be scratching their heads and the Merc domination will continue until at least mid season by which point the titles would be sealed and Merc might even have the advantage the whole season which will make this season like 1988 all over again.

    1. TJ says:

      Average race pace?? he’s had 2 races in a half decent car, finished in 2nd on one occasion and was running a comfortable 4th in the other.

      His disadvantage the past 2 seasons is he put the Torro Rosso high up on the grid where it didn’t belong on many occasions so when it came to the race the far better race cars he qualified higher then were able to pass making it look like he wasn’t as good a racer. Nothing to do with his ability, but the car simply wasn’t good enough.

    2. aveli says:

      rosberg wins when his car is capable of winning. webber stood by and watched vettel win 9 races in a row and he did not a thing about it. al he did was complain that vettel didn’t gift him one.

  82. Marde says:

    Well, Ferrari is not confirming that Alonso was losing power. To be honest they are not talking about any technical problems on Alonso’s car on they website.

    “As for the Spaniard, he looked on the pace in the first two session, but did not get the most out of the car in the final part and had to settle for tenth place with aq 1.34.992.”

    - See more at: http://formula1.ferrari.com/news/bahrain-gp-raikkonen-qualifies-row-alonso#sthash.Fq34fGyo.dpuf

    Neither Pat Fry was mentionig any technical problems on Alonso’s car on his quote after quali.

    1. Yago says:

      I notticed it too, but you don’t need them to confirm anything. The times are there to watch, right from his firs lap in Q2. It is not just the odd lap, it was three laps with a considerable deep of his times! Alonso said they didn’t know what it was. Probably the team is protecting something or are not sure what the problem was.

    2. German Samurai says:

      Alonso fluffed qualifying.

      Haven’t you guys noticed he’s not a flash qualifier after all this time.

      Blew it last year too in Bahrain locking his left tyre going into turn 10 in his final qualifying lap.

      22 poles out of 220 races is not a good return for a guy who has had great cars throughout his career.

  83. james encore says:

    WITHOUT USING TOP GEAR ….

    The BBC have his pole lap up,
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/26905696

    He never uses 8th gear or as far as I could see more than 13,000 RPM
    16 seconds in he hits 325KM/H /200MPH in 7th gear with 11,500 RPM showing. (With DRS open)

    I know these engines don’t need to run at their maximum revs, and the maximum power is limited by fuel flow. (I’m still getting my head round the MGU on the turbo, which can be a brake, and effectively a supercharger, the need to limit fuel flow is from a desire to prevent insane levels of turbo boost being used for short periods – I think they can explode the same about of fuel at 10K RPM as they can at 15K but at 15K there is more loss to friction in the engine).

    I wonder what speed they can manage on a low downforce circuit. They must expect to use 8th gear *somewhere* this year. I seem to remember DC getting over 350K at the old Hockenheim with the help of a slipstream.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Wait ’til Monza ;)

  84. Grant says:

    It’s interesting that we never see “Hamilton BEATS Rosberg” headlines in the British media, when Lewis has done so.

    Interesting indeed James. ……

      1. Random 79 says:

        I think someone is making his first attempt at irony ;)

    1. KARTRACE says:

      So what happen, slipped up ?

    2. AlexD says:

      There is something very-very-very wrong with you….sorry to say it….
      Everything must always go your way, right?

  85. Damon says:

    Massive Hamilton fan but I didn’t believe the hype when he blew Rosberg away last week! There’s nothing to chose between them speed wise, Rosberg has still got to be favourite for the title if the car stays this dominant throughout the season.

  86. Anil Parmar says:

    Mark struggled using the counter-intuitive blown diffuser concept, which Seb adapted to, hence why he struggled throughout the slower corners and in particular tracks like Bahrain, Abu Dhabi etc. That’s why he was also handy at tracks like Silverstone, Malaysia etc.

    It’s also why he was very competitive in early-mid 2010 (exhaust blowing was a big thing then)and early 2012 (the ban of off throttle blowing hurt RB’s rear end grip).

  87. Carbonated says:

    Just like last week when people were claiming Rossberg’s confidence was destroyed by LH, a lot of poster’s are digging Alonso’s grave because he was outqulified by Kimi. Do you honestly think Kimi wasn’t going to win a pole all year?

    Whether he had a bad lap or trouble with the car doesn’t matter, points aren’t earned qualifying but on Sunday.

    Alonso isn’t a great qualifier we all know that? His peers regard him as one of if not the best but what do they know?

  88. Red Rider says:

    The first two corners should be fun. There might be some bowling going on.

  89. Roni says:

    Awesome win, medium tires beating Rosberg on soft?

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