Mercedes’ drivers seal the front row for the Formula One grand prix on Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.
Mercedes driver, Nico Rosberg will be the leading man as the FIA Formula One 2013 Spanish Grand Prix gets underway tomorrow. The German driver not only pipped his team mate, Lewis Hamilton to pole position but also some of their closest Championship rivals in the process.
Rosberg’s hard work in the final seconds of Q3 led him to pick up first place for the grid tomorrow and also meant that the team has now achieved a hat trick of pole positions so far this season and Rosberg’s third career pole to date.
Hamilton may have failed to catch team mate Rosberg to pinch the top grid slot from his grasp, but his second place spot puts the team in with a good chance of achieving a solid result in the race and the opportunity to pick up some valuable points in the battle for the Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles.
Lotus Renault’s Kimi Raikkonen appeared to quietly climb his way up the top 10 in Q3. The Finnish driver’s good performance was rewarded with fourth place in the line-up for the grid tomorrow. The former World Champion may have had a problem free Q3, but in Q1 it was reported that Sauber’s rookie driver, Esteban Gutierrez got in Raikkonen’s way during his last hot lap. It is yet to be confirmed whether the incident caught the attention of the stewards and if they will take any action with it.
The Ferrari duo seemed to be slightly off the pace compared to their closest competitors on the track. Fernando Alonso had the upper hand though over his Brazilian team mate, Felipe Massa. The Spaniard had to settle for fifth place after qualifying came to a close despite performing in front of his home crowd this weekend. Massa could not catch his team mate to pinch the higher grid slot and will start from sixth place.
Towards the front and middle of the top 10, there were in team battles forming between drivers as they fought to pip their team mate to a better position. Raikkonen was victorious over his French team mate, Romain Grosjean, who did well to get into the top 10 but could only manage to secure seventh place at the end of Q3.
Mark Webber also lost out to his team mate, Vettel when the chequered flag waved to mark the end of the qualifying session. The Australian driver will accompany Grosjean on the fourth row of the grid from eighth place tomorrow. Prior to participating in Q3, it was reported that Webber may have been unhappy with Massa in Q2 as he appeared to hold him up on his final flying lap. It is yet to be confirmed whether the stewards will look into the incident and take any action as a result.
McLaren pair at the end of Q2 and going into Q3. New recruit to the team, Sergio Perez impressed by getting himself into Q3 after he seemed to pick up the pace and put in the drive of his life in the final part of Q2. Perez will line up in the latter part of the top 10 to start in ninth place. The Mexican driver’s team mate, Jenson Button was not quite as lucky though. The 2009 World Champion sadly failed to make the grade and reportedly struggled for grip with his tyres in Q2. Button was forced to face the consequences of this and bowed out of qualifying following the conclusion of Q2. The Englishman will start the race from 14th place tomorrow. In addition to the problems in Q2, Button reported via the team radio in Q1 that Williams’ driver Pastor Maldonado held him up during his final flying lap. It is still to be confirmed whether the stewards will look into the incident and take any further action with it.
Force India’s Paul Di Resta was one of the few privileged drivers to make it through to the all-important top 10 shootout in Q3. The Scotsman was not able to catch the nine drivers ahead of him and will start the race from 10th place.
Aside from Button’s unexpectedly swift exit from qualifying early on, the rest of the field were left to battle over 11th to 22nd place with the exception of Button’s 14th position.
Today’s qualifying result concerning the pole position person mirrors the last race at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Rosberg began the race from first place, but did not manage to fend off the threat that Vettel posed on him and his fellow countryman snatched the victory by the end. Rosberg is likely to have his fingers crossed that the same situation does not occur on race day tomorrow. On this occasion though, Rosberg does have the protection of his team mate, Hamilton between the two of them as the race gets underway and Vettel will have to pass the Englishman first before he can challenge for the lead. It is certain that Vettel will want to resume his usual place at the front, and he snatched first place from Rosberg last time round and will be sure to fight for the opportunity to do so again.
As it currently stands historically at the Circuit de Catalunya, of the 22 races held there, a driver that has started from the front row has gone on to take the victory on 20 occasions. The statistics may be in favour of Rosberg and Hamilton, but as well as Vettel setting his sights on the race win, there will be local hero Alonso wishing to put on a show for his home crowd and be rewarded with the victory. It is certain that there can only be one winner but it remains to be seen as to which lucky driver it will be.