Vettel claims first 2012 pole in Sakhir, Bahrain

Amidst the protests and violence around the circuit, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel claimed his first pole position of the year, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton will start alongside the German, crossing the line just under 1/10th of a second slower ahead of Vettel’s team mate Mark Webber who was a further 1/10th of a second adrift. Jenson Button will line up alongside Webber on the second row!

Pole sitter in China, Nico Rosberg will start from fifth place after making a couple of small errors in his qualifying run; although Ross Brawn did elude to Mercedes not being as fast in Bahrain as they were in China, it seems that the Mercedes’ isn’t as good in warmer conditions. Rosberg’s team mate Michael Schumacher will start from 17th, qualifying 18th but moves up a place because of Williams’ Pastor Maldonado five place penalty for a gearbox change. Schumacher was knocked out in Q1 by Caterham’s Heikki Kovalainen, the Mercedes driver was stuck in the pits with technical issues as the Finn improved his time by over a second, should make for an interesting race!

Biggest surprise; with the exception of Kimi Raikkonen being dumped out in Q2; Massa starting 14th is no surprise after three races, is Australian, Daniel Ricciardo qualifying his STR in sixth place ahead of Lotus’ Romain Grosjean in seventh. Another solid qualifying session for Sauber’s Sergio Perez qualifying in eighth with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and ‘invisible’ Force India’s Paul di Resta starting from ninth and 10th respectively, both drivers elected to not set a lap time. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again; I despise this practice of not setting a time in Q3; I believe a five place grid penalty should be forthcoming to any driver choosing not to set a lap time in Q3!

This time last year; we would be assuming that Vettel would disappear off into the sunset to win by a large margin but with three different winners in three races this season, it’s hard to predict but the Red Bull seems much faster overall and they already had decent race pace in the first three races, it’ll be a battle between the two McLaren and two Red Bull drivers for the win I believe, I don’t think that Rosberg has the car to win in the hotter conditions of Bahrain!

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