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Nico Rosberg Takes Pole Position In Spanish Grand Prix

posted 11 May 2013, 10:46 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 11 May 2013, 10:47 ]

Rosberg and team mate Lewis Hamilton make an all-Mercedes front row for Spanish race.

BARCELONASPAIN (MAY 11, 2013)(FOM) -  Germany's Nico Rosberg handed Mercedes their third pole position in succession on Saturday (May 11) with team mate Lewis Hamilton sealing a front row lockout at the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix.

The pole was Rosberg's second in a row after Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, took pole in China last month.

Red Bull's triple world champion and series leader Sebastian Vettel qualified third with Finland's Kimi Raikkonen, currently second overall and 10 points behind the German, alongside on the second row for Lotus.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, the local favourite at his home race, will start fifth with Brazilian team mate Felipe Massa next to him.

"I had a really good lap in the's always a good motivation, especially for the team. Front row. Fantastic. But of course we have to be a bit cautious because of what we saw in Bahrain," said Rosberg, who finished ninth in that race.

"So it's nice, but to be enjoyed with caution."

Mercedes last swept the front row in China last season, a race won by Rosberg while then team mate Michael Schumacher failed to finish.

Saturday was the first time since 1955, when Argentina's Juan Manuel Fangio and Britain's Stirling Moss were racing for the 'Silver Arrows', that a Mercedes works team had chalked up three poles in a row.

The German manufacturer left Formula One as a works team in 1955, however, and only returned in 2010 after buying the title-winning Brawn GP.

The statistics suggest Mercedes have a strong chance, given that only once in the last 22 years has a driver won in Barcelona without starting on the front row - and that was Schumacher in 1996 from third.

Hamilton, denied pole in Spain with McLaren last year due to a fuel irregularity, was fastest in the first two phases of qualifying but Rosberg made sure of the pole with a time of one minute 20.718 seconds.

Hamilton's best was 1.20.972.

"He did a great job...but as Nico said we are going to approach it with caution because tomorrow it's going to be tough," said the Briton, third in the championship.

"I didn't have two option sets (of tyres) at the end which would have helped a little bit but I think Nico was just quicker today."

There was despondency at Hamilton's former team McLaren, struggling to extract performance from their car, with 2009 world champion Jenson Button failing to make the final stage of qualifying for the first time this year.

The Briton will start 14th, with the new upgrade package brought to this race failing to live up to expectations more than anyone could have feared.

The only glimmer of hope for McLaren was provided by Mexican Sergio Perez, who qualified ninth.

Further back, former champions Williams - last year's race winners with Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado - were in even deeper trouble.

A year on from the only win of his F1 career, Maldonado qualified 18th with Finnish rookie team mate Valtteri Bottas 17th.

Qualifying from the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya on Saturday

1. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1:20.718

2. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1:20.972

3. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) RedBull - Renault 1:21.054

4. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus - Renault 1:21.177

5. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1:21.218

6. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 1:21.219

7. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus - Renault 1:21.308

8. Mark Webber (Australia) RedBull - Renault 1:21.570

9. Sergio Perez (Mexico) McLaren 1:22.069

10. Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India - Mercedes 1:22.233

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11. Daniel Ricciardo (AustraliaToro Rosso - Ferrari 1:22.127

12. Jean-Eric Vergne (FranceToro Rosso - Ferrari 1:22.166

13. Adrian Sutil (Germany) Force India - Mercedes 1:22.346

14. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1:22.355

15. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Sauber - Ferrari 1:22.389

16. Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber - Ferrari 1:22.793

- - - - - - - - - -

17. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams - Renault 1:23.260

18. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams - Renault 1:23.318

19. Giedo van der Garde (Netherlands) Caterham - Renault 1:24.661

20. Jules Bianchi (France) Marussia - Cosworth 1:24.713

21. Max Chilton (Britain) Marussia - Cosworth 1:24.996

22. Charles Pic (France) Caterham - Renault 1:25.070

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1-10: third and final qualifying session

11-16: second qualifying session

17-22: first qualifying session