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GP Week : Issue 199
QUALIFYING the team was unlikely to have to ask Felipe to move over ... “The team did an excellent job throughout the whole of qualifying, so we are very happy,” reported debutatnt Head of Vehicle Performance Rob Smedley. “We have good race pace which we showed in testing and with Ricciardo's penalty we'll be P3 and P7 on the grid, which is a good step for ward towards where we want to be. The FW36 has good overtaking capabilities so we are feeling positive for tomorrow. Overall, it's been a good day to start off my time at Williams.” A Force India on the second row was no surprise – but which Force India was. Regular star Hulkenberg made a single error on his final Q2 run and missed the cut, leaving Perez to not only make it, but throw out a podium challenge: “After the problems we had in the first two races I feel this has been the first real opportunity to show the potential of the car. I believe we could have been even closer to the front, but I couldn't warm up my brakes enough on the out lapofmyfinalruninQ3 and so I didn’t improve. “We're already thinking about tomorrow and I think the clear target must be to aim for the podium. We're in the best possible position to fight at the front and I’m going to make the most of it.” The first non-Merc was Kimi, sixth in Q3, fifth on the grid and on this occasion, he was relatively happy: “We are improving in all areas, on the engine, data acquisition, electronics and the new parts fitted to the car have given me a better feeling from the front end. Sure, we are not yet where we want to be, but I think we are on the right path and we have the right people to give us every possibility to continue to move for ward. It’s hard to say how tomorrow’s race will go, because in the simulation done yesterday, I was struggling on the Medium tyre, while the balance was better on the Soft. “We know we can’t fight with Mercedes, but today’s result gives me more confidence than at the previous races and I will do my best to bring home a good result.” Between Kimi and Fernando, in 10th, was six-tenths, both McLarens and Massa’s Williams. Indeed, as several noted, take out the front row and the times were pretty close – it augured well for a close race ... for third. 2014 FORMULA 1TM GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX 57 LAPS ROUND 3/19 << Last Race – Malaysia Last Weekend 1 Next Race – China >> Two Weeks’ Time 2014 FORMULA 1TM GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING CLASSIFICATION 1 – For the first time in his career, Nico Rosberg has taken 2 pole positions at the same circuit, following on from this pole at last year’s race. It is the first time this year that Rosberg has qualified on the front row, and with Lewis Hamilton alongside, it is the 5th time Mercedes have locked out the front row since their return in 2010. The two drivers were first and second in each sector, and they have now led all-but-3 sessions in all of 2014. 2 – Despite being over a second slower than Rosberg, Valtteri Bottas is starting 3rd, equaling the best of his career (Canada 2013), but the first time he has started this high in dry conditions. Sergio Perez also equals his best start from the 2012 Belgian GP – he never started higher than 7th in his 2013 campaign with Mclaren. Force India haven’t been this high for any race since the 2012 German GP at Hockenheim. 3 – Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen starts higher than he has so far this year, and his best in Bahrain since 2008, while Jenson Button also has a season-best in 6th place. Felipe Massa’s 7th place means it is the first time both Williams have been this high on the grid since the 2010 Brazilian GP (when they were on pole). Kevin Magnussen is outqualified by Button for the first time, while Fernando Alonso was slowest of all in Q3, and a massive 0.624s slower than his own teammate. 4 – The last time Sebastian Vettel failed to reach Q3 twice in a period of three races, you have to go back to the 2008 Monaco, Canadian and French GPs, when he was still a Toro Rosso driver. In another surprise, Nico Hülkenberg’s run of 8 consecutive Q3 appearances came to a crunching end here, on a circuit where he has still never started in the top-10. Daniil Kvyat’s 12th is actually his worst of the year, while Daniel Ricciardo is an unlucky 13th, having now outqualified Sebastian Vettel as many times as Mark Webber did in the entire 2013 season (twice). That statistic is still valid in spite of his penalty. 5 – Although Jean-Eric Vergne failed to reach Q3 for the first time this year, 14th is his best ever start in Bahrain. Romain Grosjean has at least got out of Q1 at the last 2 races, something teammate Pastor Maldonado hasn’t done all year. Kamui Kobayashi topped the Caterham/Marussia private battle, as they were the four slowest qualifiers for the second consecutive weekend. Adrian Sutil was penalized for his incident with Grosjean in Q1, putting him 22nd on the grid, tying his career lowest start from the 2008 Australian GP. He might take inspiration from the fact that Kimi Räikkönen started 22nd in Bahrain in 2006, and finished on the podium. 27 GPWEEK.com // 27 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> BAHRAIN PARTNERS: