Nico Rosberg was in a celebratory mood after claiming pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix today, repeating his success at last year’s race where he eventually finished in ninth due to overly aggressive tire wear.
The German driver edged out teammate Lewis Hamilton by just two-tenths of a second on Saturday night as both drivers saw their first runs in Q3 count. Both had prepared for a second run, but after a mistake by Hamilton meant that Rosberg was assured pole, and Mercedes opted to pit him and save a lap on his tires.
“It’s fantastic to be on pole again here in Bahrain,” Rosberg explained after qualifying. “I really enjoy the track and I won my GP2 Series title here so it has some pretty special memories for me. We’ve had a good weekend so far and I’ve been able improve my pace throughout the practice sessions so I was hoping for a strong qualifying.”
The team swept to a one-two finish in all three practice sessions in Bahrain, but Rosberg had played second fiddle to Hamilton each and every time. However, he finally got in front with a fine performance in qualifying, even if he did struggle to work with some elements of the new 2014 car.
“It’s so difficult to get everything completely right with all the new technology and set-up requirements on the car but I felt really comfortable this evening and was able to put some great laps together,” Rosberg admitted.
“I’m looking forward to the race as I had a good run on high fuel but we’re going to need to be careful with tire degradation.”
Given the fashion in which the team has dominated Formula 1 so far this year, it is hard to see any driver not in a Mercedes winning tomorrow’s race in Bahrain. However, the battle between Rosberg and Hamilton should be an interesting one as both chase their second win of the season under the lights.