• Chinese Grand Prix - Qualifying

Immense Rosberg secures maiden pole

ESPNF1 Staff
April 14, 2012
Nico Rosberg required only one run after going half a second quicker than the field © Getty Images

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Nico Rosberg delivered an immense qualifying lap to take pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix as Mercedes secured a front-row lockout.

Going out early in Q3, Rosberg put in close to the perfect lap to set a time of 1:35.121 and it soon became evident that no-one could touch him as Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton both crossed the line over half a second behind. Hamilton was the quicker of the two, but will take a five-place grid penalty promoting Schumacher to the front row.

Rosberg was so confident in his time that he was walking up to the weighbridge while other drivers attempted a second run, and was able to preserve a set of tyres. Kamui Kobayashi was equally impressive as he was fourth quickest for Sauber, jumping on to the second row with one late run. He too benefits from Hamilton's penalty and will start third alongside Kimi Raikkonen.

Row three will be made up of Jenson Button and Mark Webber as Button struggled to get heat in to his front tyres in the cooler conditions of Q3. Hamilton will start seventh alongside Sergio Perez as both Sauber's made it through to the top ten, while Fernando Alonso is ninth and Romain Grosjean tenth after not setting a lap time.

The obvious surprise in Q2 was the elimination of Vettel, who was the victim of an extremely competitive session. Webber and Vettel went out to set laps and Webber went quickest, dropping Vettel to tenth place. Grosjean was late in setting a lap and when he improved in to the top ten Vettel was left in 11th. He improved to within 0.3s of the quickest time but it still left him outside the top ten.

Felipe Massa was 12th and only half a second off the leading pace in the second session, and from there back it's two-by-two as the Williams, Force India's and Toro Rosso's line up side-by-side.

Jean-Eric Vergne was the man to drop out in Q1 for the second time in three races this season. Vergne was 0.8s slower than his team-mate, but ahead of the Caterham pair by at least 0.7s. Then came the usual suspects on the final two rows; Marussia and HRT. Timo Glock outqualified Charles Pic comfortably, while Pedro de la Rosa easily got the better of Narain Karthikeyan on the back row.