Rosberg leads three-pointed star to Spanish GP lock-out

Saturday 11th May, 2013 - 11:26pm


Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg has claimed his third career pole position by leading Mercedes to a one-two in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix.

The Mercedes factory team demonstrated it has made significant progress in time for the first European grand prix of the season with Rosberg sitting on the front row and sidekick Lewis Hamilton lining up beside him.

Rosberg quickly confirmed the new-found pace of the Mercedes in the first half of the 10-minute top ten shootout by registering a decent banker lap of 1:20.824s. It was a time only he would better in the end.

Championship leader Sebastian Vettel will start from third with Lotus team leader Kimi Raikkonen fourth.

Vettel’s team-mate Mark Webber had a disappointing Q3 with his only single flying lap good enough for eighth.

With just over a couple of minutes remaining only half of the top 10 had posted laps.

Fernando Alonso, who had a fling at Rosberg’s time earlier, led a procession of cars out of the pits including the two Red Bulls and Hamilton which had watched the action to that point from the garage.

Rosberg then set the timing screens alight by shaving one tenth of his previous best to cover the 4.655km lap in 1:20.718s.

The surprise was Alonso only managing fifth fastest, one position ahead of Felipe Massa who had been involved in an incident in Q2 which impeded Webber.

The story of the weekend has been the diabolical struggle McLaren has had to deal with as it ushered in a host of updates to the MP4-28 Mercedes-powered cars.

The Woking team could manage little celebration with Jenson Button ousted in Q2, qualifying 14th while Sergio Perez progressed with a last gasp flying lap to make it into Q3 seventh fastest.

It was the first time the Mexican has out-qualified Button this season with Perez going on to ultimately qualify in ninth position.

Earlier during the third practice run Perez had a power steering problem and some of the directional vanes on the brake ducts flew off the car mid-lap.

Qualifying results

 1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:20.718s
 2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:20.972s
 3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:21.054s
 4 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1.21.177s
 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:21.218s
 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:21.219s
 7 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:21.308s
 8 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:21.570s
 9 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:22.069s
10 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:22.233s
11 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:22.127s
12 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:22.166s
13 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:22.346s
14 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:23.166s
15 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:22.389s
16 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:22.793s
17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:23.260s
18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:23.318s
19 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:24.661s
20 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:24.713s
21 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:24.996s
22 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1:25.070s



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