• Bahrain Grand Prix - Qualifying

Vettel secures Bahrain pole for improved Red Bull

ESPNF1 Staff
April 21, 2012

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Sebastian Vettel secured pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix as the improved Red Bull edged out Lewis Hamilton.

Vettel and his team-mate Mark Webber had been behind the two McLarens going in to their final laps but as Nico Rosberg faltered, both improved and Vettel's time of 1:32.422 was enough to give him his 31st pole position. Hamilton also improved on his final lap to take second, 0.1s behind Vettel with Webber a similar distance further back.

Jenson Button starts fourth after aborting his final lap, with Rosberg fifth. The Mercedes had looked quick throughout practice and the opening two qualifying sessions, but a couple of slight errors cost last weekend's winner.

Daniel Ricciardo will line up in sixth place after an impressive afternoon, beating the Lotus of Romain Grosjean who found the least time between Q2 and Q3. Sergio Perez is eighth ahead of Fernando Alonso and Paul di Resta - neither of which set a lap time. Di Resta set sector times on medium tyres to enable him to start the race on the prime compound, but television coverage of Force India was non-existent during the session.

In the second session Hamilton managed to finally match Rosberg's pace as another close session saw 0.4s separate first from 11th place. Kimi Raikkonen was the one to miss out by one place and will line up alongside Kamui Kobayashi, while Felipe Massa also dropped out in Q2. Pastor Maldonado didn't run at all due to a KERS issue, and once he takes a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change he'll start in 22nd.

Q1 saw a big shock as the track continued to evolve throughout the session. As the midfield put on soft tyres to try and get through, the front-runners stayed in the garage and plummeted down the timesheets. Caterham had been impressive on the first runs and Schumacher found himself on the edge when Kovalainen's last-ditch lap knocked him out in 18th place.

He provisionally lines up ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne - who dropped out for the third race in a row - but that could change as Vergne missed a red light in the pit lane that was instructing him to stop at the weighbridge. Behind them were Vitaly Petrov, the impressive Charles Pic, Pedro de la Rosa, Timo Glock and Narain Karthikeyan.

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