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Rosberg takes Bahrain pole

NEWS STORY
05/04/2014

Ahead of today's qualifying session the air temperature is 24 degrees C, while the track temperature is 29 degrees.

The evening start and consequent drop in temperatures would normally indicate a change in the hierarchy but having been quickest in all three practice sessions there's nothing to indicate that Mercedes won't dominate this session also.

Worryingly, the five of the next six cars behind the works Mercedes were powered by the German manufacturer and while we can expect Ferrari and Red Bull to raise their game tomorrow it is likely that it will be an all-Mercedes podium.

Of those Mercedes customer teams, Force India appears to have a slight advantage, not only in terms of pace but also the fact that the Silverstone-based outfit appears to have more confidence, Williams and McLaren both running a suspiciously low number of laps this morning.

Red Bull was dealt a blow when Sebastian Vettel made an unforced error which saw him spin off after just 8 laps, leaving the German at the foot of the timesheets and not getting to run the option rubber.

Daniil Kvyat continues to impress and looks likely to continue his points winning run tomorrow, surely some sort of record for a rookie, Russian or otherwise.

Talking of being impressed, it was only a minor mistake which prevented Nico Hulkenberg finishing higher today, the German could be in for another strong points haul tomorrow.

And remember, thanks to those stewards in Malaysia, no matter what Daniel Ricciardo pulls out of the hat today he drops ten grid places following that unsafe release last week.

While the Mercedes teams are looking very strong, spare a thought for Lotus which after a good day yesterday really struggled this morning, Maldonado and Grosjean finishing eighteenth and twentieth.

A number of drivers have had problems keeping on the black stuff today - though not as bad as yesterday - a situation not helped by the strong gusts of wind hitting the circuit from various directions.

The option tyres are around 2s quicker than the primes however, more importantly, they are durable and therefore the 'must haves' tomorrow.

The lights go green and Gutierrez leads the way, the Mexican followed by Hulkenberg, Perez, Kvyat, Vergne and Grosjean. All are on primes bar Gutierrez.

Having locked-up into T10, Gutierrez subsequently posts 1:38.521, but this is soon beaten by Perez who crosses the line at 37.953. However, Force India teammate Hulkenberg then posts 36.883.

As the majority of the big guns head down the pitlane, Grosjean goes second ahead of Kvyat, Perez, Vergne and Gutierrez.

Ricciardo goes quickest in S2, the Australian ultimately stopping the clock at 36.676.

As Alonso goes second (36.729), we note that Grosjean was on options, as are Maldonado, Kobayashi, Chilton, Sutil and Ericsson.

On his first flying lap Hamilton raises the bar with a 35.323, teammate Rosberg posting 35.439 moments later, already over 1.3s quicker than third placed Ricciardo.

Vettel can only manage seventh (34.154) as Button goes sixth (37.023) and Magnussen ninth (37.433).

With just over seven minutes remaining, the Williams duo have yet to make an appearance.

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