- Bahrain Grand Prix - Qualifying
Rosberg beats Hamilton to pole in Bahrain
Nico Rosberg beat Lewis Hamilton to pole position for the first time this season after Hamilton made a mistake on his final flying lap by running wide at Turn 1.
As expected, it was a two-way battle between the Mercedes drivers for the top spot in qualifying, but Rosberg reversed the order seen in all three practice sessions as he set a time 0.279s quicker than his team-mate. On his second run he was matching his sector times from his first attempt but when the news of Hamilton's mistake made his cockpit he was able to back off and return to the pits.
Daniel Ricciardo took third place as Red Bull was once again Mercedes' closest competitor. His best effort was 0.866s slower than Rosberg, but he will start from 13th once his grid penalty from Malaysia is applied That will move Valtteri Bottas up to third on the grid and give Williams its best qualifying position of the season. Sergio Perez set new heights for Force India this season and will start alongside Bottas, with Kimi Raikkonen recovering from a tricky weekend so far to set the sixth fastest time and start fifth on the grid.
Jenson Button was just a fraction of a second off Raikkonen in seventh, while Felipe Massa will start seventh. Kevin Magnussen will start eighth ahead of Fernando Alonso who failed to hook up a quick lap in the top-ten shootout.
Vettel was Q2's biggest casualty after struggling with downshifts during qualifying and the Red Bull moving about underneath him. His time was 0.060s off a place in Q3 and nearly 0.4s off team-mate Ricciardo's best effort in the same session. Nico Hulkenberg was also a surprise victim of the Q2 cut and will start ahead of Daniil Kvyat, the penalised Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne, Esteban Gutierrez and Romain Grosjean.
Pastor Maldonado was pipped to Q2 by just 0.009s by team-mate Grosjean, but will take some consolation by being faster than Adrian Sutil's Sauber. Sutil was involved in some jostling for position with Grosjean ahead of their fast laps and the stewards found him guilty of impeding the Lotus. As a result he will have a five-place penalty moving him to the back of the grid. Kamui Kobayashi was 19th fastest but was within 0.5s of the cut for Q2. Jules Bianchi was the fastest of the two Marussias ahead of Marcus Ericsson and Max Chilton.