Rosberg takes first Mercedes pole in 57 years in China

Nico Rosberg took a surprise pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix, causing a major upset by leading the field by half a second.

Michael Schumacher was 3rd, but will start alongside his teammate due to Lewis Hamilton’s grid drop. Kamui Kobayashi was a surprise 4th, and will start 3rd tomorrow. Here is what happened:

Q1

Paul di Resta started proceedings with a 1:38.190. This was promptly beaten by over a second by Lewis Hamilton, pushing ahead of his teammate.

Kamui Kobayashi split the McLarens, while Webber pipped Lewis for 1st place. Jenson got within 0.06 seconds of Mark’s time to demote Hamilton to 3rd.

Felipe Massa was struggling in 16th, so he was forced to use a set of the soft tyres to survive Q1. A final push on the new rubber put Massa on top of the timesheets. However, he was soon displaced by Romain Grosjean.

Despite having good pace, Perez decided to use the option in Q1 as well, and set a 1:36.198 to end the session on top. Jean-Eric Vergne was almost a second off his teammate’s time, and was knocked out of Q1.

Drivers knocked out of Q1:

18) Jean-Eric Vergne – 1:37.714

19) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:38.676

20) Vitaly Petrov – 1:38.677

21) Timo Glock – 1:39.282

22) Charles Pic – 1:39.717

23) Pedro de la Rosa – 1:40.411

24) Narain Karthikeyan – 1:41.127

Q2

Kamui Kobayashi was first out, setting a 1:35,962, but was soon displaced by Nico Rosberg. The top 5 were separated by 2 tenths of a second.

It was a poor start for Red Bull, with Vettel only 6th and Webber 9th. Romain Grosjean messed up his first attempt, and left it until the final few minutes to set his time.

The two Ferraris went on their final runs at the same time. Alonso did his best to trouble the frontrunners, but was only 6th, while Massa was 10th.

Mark Webber ended Q2 on top, while the Renaults shoved Sebastian Vettel out of the top 10 in the final minute. The double world champion will start 11th on the grid.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Sebastian Vettel – 1:36.031

12) Felipe Massa – 1:36.255

13) Pastor Maldonado – 1:36.283

14) Bruno Senna – 1:36.289

15) Paul di Resta – 1:36.317

16) Nico Hulkenberg – 1:36.745

17) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:36.956

Q3

Kimi Raikkonen was straight out at the start of Q3, setting a 1:35.898. However, Nico Rosberg set a fantastic 1:35.121 to take top spot. Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton were half a second slower than the Mercedes driver.

Mark Webber was over a second off Rosberg’s time. Jenson Button had a similarly poor lap, ensuring both drivers were out of contention for pole.

Kamui Kobayashi shocked many in the paddock by going 4th ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. Hamilton and Schumacher were unable to improve on their times, leaving Rosberg half a second in front of the entire grid. This ensured that Mercedes take their first pole position since Italy 1955.

Lewis Hamilton will drop from 2nd to 7th, meaning that Mercedes have effectively locked out the front row, with Kobayashi an incredible 3rd.

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