After the second two week hiatus of 2013 Formula 1 is back in action, and for the second time in a row Nico Rosberg has snagged the pole position during qualifying.
Rosberg took P1 for the Spanish Grand Prix on the strength of a 1:20.718 lap in Barcelona. Rosberg is hoping to find a race pace to match his speed in qualifying, which he failed to do following his previous pole in Bahrain when he finished the race in P9. Rosberg’s teammate Lewis Hamilton qualified P2 to secure the front row for Mercedes AMG.
Behind the two Mercedes wheel men in row two will be Sebastian Vettel in P3 and Kimi Raikkonen in P4. Earlier in the week Raikkonen had commented that Lotus F1 Team needed to focus on finding better pace during qualifying. Kimi’s teammate Romain Grosjean qualifying P7 gives the two Lotus drivers their second best starting positions of the season, so it would seem that Lotus is starting to work out their qualifying kinks.
Scuderia Ferrari grabbed both spots on row three with Fernando Alonso edging out Felipe Massa by .001 seconds to take P5. Massa will drop three spots from his P6 slot on the grid, however, due to a penalty he received for impeding Mark Webber, who ended up in P8 for the start.
Massa was not alone in being penalized as Esteban Gutierrez of Sauber received an identical three-place grid penalty for impeding Raikkonen. The Mexican rookie has had a frustrating season thus far, qualifying no better that 14th and finishing no higher than P12.
McLaren teammates Sergio Perez and Jenson Button will start in P9 and P14 respectively. McLaren has gotten a lot of media attention since Bahrain, partially due to the on track conflict between the two drivers during that race and also because of their lack of success in comparison to the leading teams. Checo’s P9 ties his best qualifying position of the year, while Button’s P14 is his worst by four spots.
Paul di Resta rounds out the top 10, giving Force India yet another strong showing to grow on in the 2013 season.
There are a combined seven World Championships in the top five starting grid positions for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix. Rosberg, the man on pole, is the only driver lacking a championship. Vettel of course has three, Alonso two and Raikkonen and Lewis have one each. Neither of the Mercedes drivers has won a race yet in 2013, however. That is a statistic they hope to change in Barcelona.
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