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GP Week : Issue 219
QUALIFYING Lewis Hamilton's fourth pole of the season, the first time he's achieved the feat in his grand prix career, belied the pressure applied by the fast Ferrari of sebastian Vettel. Indeed Vettel's performance threatened to steal the headlines on Saturday afternoon as the German split the Mercedes to record his first front row start for Ferrari. He was still four tenths off the pace of Hamilton's best over a single lap but earlier in the weekend demonstrated the Maranello outfit has the race pace to caused headaches for those in silver. Hamilton's lap was also another psychological blow to teammate Nico Rosberg. Since the Chinese Grand Prix there had been extra niggle in the relationship after Rosberg accused Hamilton of driving unecessarily slowly, compromising his race. At the time the reigning world champion said he would do his talking on the track, and so he did to beat the sister car by close to six tenths of a second. Such was his pace that even his Qualifying 2 lap would have been good enough for pole, leaving us all to wonder where the new, rejunvenated Rosberg who'd arrived in Bahrain had got to. Rosberg's day wasn't as bad as Daniil Kvyat's, the Russian's disastorous start to his season continuing as he was the biggest casualty in Q1. He'd been regularly complaining of a lack of power, his time more than a second off the pace of teammate Daniel Ricciardo. The lack of speed followed on from an embarassing spin in final practice which saw him needlessly beached on a rare patch of gravel having turned it around on the apex of turn four. Not for the first time in 2015 it had been a below par weekend for Kvyat. It will be little consolation that Max Vertstappen failed to fire in the qualifying hour. Having impressed with his racing ability in the opening three races of the season, the Toro Rosso driver was the slowest qualifying in Q2, a tenth off even Fernando Alonso. Compounding things was the fact Carlos Sainz progressed to the final phase of the session, suggesting Verstappen left time on the table. The middle phase of qualifying was perhaps the most competitive of the season. Throughout practice it became clear both Ferrari and Mercedes were once again at the head of the table, with Williams in between the leaders and a particularly tight midfield which included everyone bar Manor. On raw pace McLaren was very much among that group, evidenced by Alonso becoming the first McLaren driver to escape Q1 this year and ultimately putting his car 14th on the grid. There are problems though, a lot of them. Jenson hamilton holds on formula 1 round 4 bahrain gp – Qualifying Pos DRiVER tEam Q1 Q2 Q3 laPs 1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:33.928 1:32.669 1:32.571 16 2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:34.919 1:33.623 1:32.982 13 3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:34.398 1:33.878 1:33.129 17 4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:34.568 1:33.540 1:33.227 15 5 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:34.161 1:33.897 1:33.381 16 6 Felipe Massa Williams 1:34.488 1:33.551 1:33.744 16 7 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:34.691 1:34.403 1:33.932 15 8 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:35.653 1:34.613 1:34.450 15 9 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:35.371 1:34.641 1:34.462 18 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:35.007 1:34.123 1:34.484 20 11 Sergio Perez Force India 1:35.451 1:34.704 12 12 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:35.310 1:34.939 9 13 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:35.438 1:35.034 9 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:35.205 1:35.039 10 15 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:35.611 1:35.103 14 16 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:35.677 7 17 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:35.800 6 18 Will Stevens Manor 1:38.713 6 19 Roberto Mehri Manor 1:49.722 6 Jenson Button McLaren No Time 1 Q1 107% Time 1:40.503 19 GPWEEK.com // 19 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> BAHRAIN PARTNERS: