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Rosberg takes historic pole at Shanghai

NEWS STORY
14/04/2012

While Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets this morning - just as he did yesterday - his team's decision to change the gearbox on his MP4-27 means that whatever he does this afternoon the very best grid position he can hope for tomorrow is fifth. Nonetheless, in an attempt to minimise the damage - and not find himself back with the "monkeys" - he'll pushing hard to take his third pole of the season this afternoon.

Teammate Jenson button was second quickest this morning, and therefore must be favourite to start from pole tomorrow afternoon, however, the McLaren driver is not yet 100 percent happy with his car.

The Mercedes duo continue to show good pace however, there remains that question mark over tyre performance, particularly when it comes to Sunday afternoons.

Red Bull continues to confuse, for a brief while this morning it appeared that Sebastian Vettel was at one with his car, however, the German, who always wears his heart on his sleeve, looks far from happy. On the other side of the garage however, Mark Webber appears a little more settled. The two drivers, for reasons best known to themselves, continuing to use different exhaust layouts, Vettel opting for the older system.

The only way Fernando Alonso is going to leave China with his championship lead intact is for the weather conditions to deteriorate again, Ferrari struggling for traction and speed. This afternoon, both drivers will have their work cut out to make it to Q3.

While Maldonado did well to finish sixth this morning, Sauber look likely to be best of the rest, ahead of Lotus - which has yet to reveal its true form here - Force India, Williams and Toro Rosso.

Tyre options are medium and soft his weekend, Pirelli expecting the difference on race day to be around 0.6s with two, possibly three, pit stops.

While grip was a lot better this morning than yesterday, thanks mainly to the sunshine, we still saw a lot of drivers running wide, while the bump(s) continue to catch drivers out - Paul di Resta having a particularly heart stopping moment at the very end of this morning's session.

As the lights turn green for the start of Q1, the air temperature is 21 degrees C, while the track temperature is 26 degrees, altogether different from yesterday. Humidity is 53 percent.

After almost two minutes of nothing, di Resta heads down the pitlane, followed by Massa and Kovalainen. Ferrari claiming that it will take a miracle to make it ot Q2 with both cars - it's that bad.

Di Resta crosses the line at 38.190, with Massa posting 37.964 moments later. Kovalainen goes third with a 39.893, Karthikeyan, on softs, posts 43.178.

Grosjean goes straight to the top of the timesheets with a 37.521 but this is almost instantly beaten by Button (37.165) and then Hamilton (36.763). A 37.226 sees Raikkonen go third.

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