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Vettel takes Bahrain pole

NEWS STORY
21/04/2012

Ahead of today's all important qualifying session, the air temperature is 31 degrees C, while the track temperature is 43 degrees. It remains hazy.

We say "all important", however, Reuters is reporting that following overnight clashes between protestors and police the body of a protestor has been found. If true this will only lead to further clashes thereby leading to a continued spiral of violence.

The sport should not have been put in this position and if we get through this weekend without incident we must consider ourselves very lucky. Nonetheless, some of those at the very top of the sport have shown total insensitivity to the situation indeed, they have shown an appalling ignorance. Whatever happens over the next 36 to 48 hours, this could prove a watershed moment for Formula One much like Ayrton Senna's death in 1994.

Nico Rosberg was quickest this morning, as he was yesterday afternoon, the German looking to have really been boosted by his success in China.

Red Bull has clearly made an improvement, despite an overheating scare for Vettel this morning, the Milton Keynes due finishing second and third when one looks at the combines times from all three sessions.

While McLaren is clearly up there, the team doesn't seem 100 percent on the ball, with neither driver entirely convincing.

While there is a question mark over Mercedes ability to get the most from its double-DRS, not to mention a way of being kinder to its tyres, the German team looks good, with Rosberg and Schumacher more than able to continue the good form of last weekend - good pit work willing.

Stefano Domenicali believes Ferrari will be lucky to get even one car into Q3 today, and looking at the red cars performance thus far he's right, the Maranello outfit under from Lotus, Force India, Toro Rosso and Sauber.

Having changed the gearbox in his car, Pastor Maldonado will take a five-place grid penalty.

With the usual suspects likely to go out at the first hurdle, as ever it will be interesting to see who joins them. Furthermore, with tyre wear such a concern here, it is likely that some drivers might opt for limited running this afternoon, and possibly a poor grid slot, in order to have fresh tyres for tomorrow.

Di Resta is first out for Q1, Force India appearing to suffer after missing yesterday afternoon's session due to "logistical reasons". Hulkenberg, Vergne, Glock and Pic are also keen to get to work.

Di Resta posts 1:43.620 as Massa, Perez, , Ricciardo, Senna and Karthikeyan head down the pitlane.

Hulkenberg posts 35.970 as Vettel, Webber, Hamilton and Button leave their garages, in the Mercedes garage Schumacher blows a kiss to the camera.

The Ferraris are on track also, Alonso already on the soft rubber such is the Spaniard's desperation to make the cut. The HRTs are the only other drivers on the soft rubber.

Kobayashi posts 35.529, as Perez goes third. Moments later, having gone quickest in the first two sectors, Button goes quickest (34.792) deposing Webber who had momentarily held the top spot with a 35.283.

Vettel splits Button and Webber with a 35.035 only to be demoted when a 34.780 puts Alonso quickest. Schumacher goes third but is leapfrogged by Hamilton who posts 34.813.

A 34.552 sees Raikkonen go quickest, as Rosberg and then Webber have moments.

On his second flying lap Rosberg goes third (34.588) as Button questions the wisdom of another lap.

Maldonado improves to eleventh with a 35.670 as teammate Senna slips into the danger zone along with Ricciardo. Massa and the Force Indias are hovering.

Grosjean posts 34.041 to go quickest, as the Force India duo come out on softs.

Hulkenberg posts 34.601 to go fourth and di Resta fifth with a 34.624.

As Perez goes quickest in S1, Vergne posts 35.014 to go tenth. Massa takes second courtesy of a 34.372.

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