Nico Rosberg On Pole For Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix, Ferrari Occupies Row Two

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The grid is set for the Formula 1 2013 Bahrain Grand Prix, and Nico Rosberg will be leading the pack from the pole position on race day.

The Mercedes AMG wheel man grabbed the top spot during qualifying after going back-and-forth with Sebastian Vettel by lapping in 1:32.330. The reigning World Champion will start from P2 for Red Bull Racing. P3 went to Fernando Alonso who capped off a very successful weekend thus far for Scuderia Ferrari.

 Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber rounded out the top five, giving both Mercedes and RBR two drivers up front, but both drivers will drop down the grid due to various penalties. Hamilton will drop five spots for changing gearboxes prior to qualifying, and Aussie Grit will fall three places due to an incident with Jean-Eric Vergne last week in China. Those penalties make Ferrari the only team with both cars in the top five, as Felipe Massa who qualified sixth move up to P4.

Force India grabbed P5 and P6 with Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil both having strong showings. Behind them will be Webber in P7 after the penalty, then Kimi Raikkonen in P8, followed by Hamilton starting ninth.

Lotus F1 Team had a double podium finish at the 2012 Bahrain GP and will have to fight up from the middle of the pack if they want to repeat that performance and perhaps upgrade to a win. With Kimi in P8 and Romain Grosjean in P11 it would appear that Lotus still hasn’t figured out how to consistently hit pace in qualifying.

Things to watch for going into the Grand Prix will be if Mercedes can get both of their cars to the finish after another strong Friday and Saturday, if RBR has gotten over their internal turmoil and can pull out two solid finishes, how quickly Lotus pulls up from the middle of the pack, and if Ferrari will be the team to beat up front since they occupy all of row two.

Follow Spenser Walters on Twitter @SpenserWalters

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