Nico Rosberg managed to take pole in today's qualifying session in Russia, his second pole in a row. After a weekend with practice sessions full of interference from heavy rain, trucks leaking oil over the track, and the incident earlier today when Carlos Sainz jr. crashed heavily in a barrier, the qualifying session passed incident free.
Despite Mercedes' worries that the track could prove a similar challenge as Singapore did for the german team, citing that both tracks had asphalt of a type supposedly not suitable for their car, the silver arrows managed to score times significantly faster than their opponents', with Rosberg scoring the fastest time, and his team mate Hamilton finishing as runner up. It remains a mystery whether it actually was a tyre issue they suffered from in Singapore or if it was something power unit-related.
Not only the works Mercedes team, but the Mercedes customers had a good day today. Williams' Valtteri Bottas managed to squeeze in a time five hundreds of a second behind Hamilton, Hulkenberg and Perez from Force India gained 6th and 7th place respectively, and Lotus' Romain Grosjean delivered an 8th fastest time. Grosjean's team mate Maldonado could not perform better than a 14th fastest time, which landed him right behind McLaren's Jenson Button, and Williams driver Massa had his worst qualifying session this year with only a 15th fastest time.
Much like Mercedes, Ferrari did not have an as nightmarish time on the track as they predicted, although closest Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel, were several hundreds away from their main rivals Mercedes, and the italian team scored times right between Bottas and Hulkenberg. Ferrari powered Sauber's Nasr managed a 12th place, 5 places better than team mate Ericsson.
The two Red Bull teams had a neutral run today, with young Verstappen in 9th, Ricciardo in 10th, and Kvyat in 11th, barely missing out on Q3. Sainz is already awake from the incident earlier today, and will only stay in hospital overnight as a precaution. If he get the go to race tomorrow it is likely he will start from the back of the grid.
As they predicted, McLaren had a less than exciting run, even if Button managed to set a time faster than Lotus' Maldonado and Williams' Massa, both with Mercedes engines. Early reports indicate that Alonso will racce with the newly upgraded Honda unit in tomorrow's race. The spaniard had an engine or hybrid related issue under yesterday's second practice session, but it turned out that the unit with problems was an old unit from Suzuka, and the new one remains operational. Either way, the spaniard will recieve a 35 grid drop penalty for taking the upgraded engine.
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing
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