|Photo: Carlos Lopez|
Nico Rosberg is not the highest paid driver never to have scored a pole in Formula 1 anymore but he still is the highest paid driver not to have ever won a race and there lies the key to the 2012 Chinese GP tomorrow.
Thanks in part to clever plumbing the Mercedes W03 is super fast over a single run but so far it has gone nothing but backwards in race conditions. Rosberg not only scored pole but he destroyed the opposition by a half second, a huge gap in F1.
The grid will be unusual and will certainly make for interesting first laps, two Mercs, Kobayashi and Kimi? I might even wake up in the middle of the night to watch.
There was something quite curious in the final Q3 results: P6 through 9, Button, Webber, Perez and Alonso (P10 Grosjean chose not to run Q3)all went slower in Q3 than they did is Q2. That's quite strange, a small difference in air temperature and wind direction change cost some cars well over a half second (Button 2/10ths, Webber 6/10, Perez 7/10. Alonso 7/10)?
Did these drivers hedge their best and are doing a rain dance tonight?
The shocker of the session has got to be Vettel not making it into Q3, no smiled ar Red Bull for sure, except for Webber that is. Vettel reverting to a different exhaust configuration? almost sounds like panic or, dare I say it a possible hissy fit?
Now back to Mercedes, their first pole, first front row (Hamilton, P2 in qualifying, has a penalty for a gearbox change) since the days of Fangio. Great headlines, great PR, what a coincidence it came right around the time heavy rumblings from the M-B board about the lack of results. Does it take Oliver Stone to see a connection between the stewards hilarious finding on the legality of the Mercedes F-duct and the understandable desire to keep Mercedes happy?
The 2010 F-Duct was was banned, drivers cannot activate something that changes the balance of the car except for the rear wing DRS element. OK the latest Brawn cleverness is not independent of DRS but surely it's a driver activated device that is NOT just the rear wing element. That i was found to be legal is quite amusing.
That is not to take away from Rosberg's pole lap, pretty close to perfection I'd say.
Bunus points if you are still amazed how at the first corner, F1 cars can turn in at 300+ km/h at full throttle and scrub speed winding around around that Taijitu shaped complex.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m35.121s 2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m35.626s + 0.505 3. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m35.691s + 0.570 4. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m35.784s + 0.663 5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m35.898s + 0.777 6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m36.191s + 1.070 7. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m36.290s + 1.169 8. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m36.524s + 1.403 9. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m36.622s + 1.501 10. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault No time Q2 cut-off time: 1m35.831s Gap ** 11. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m36.031s + 0.331 12. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m36.255s + 0.555 13. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m36.283s + 0.583 14. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m36.289s + 0.589 15. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m36.317s + 0.617 16. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m36.745s + 1.045 17. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m36.956s + 1.256 Q1 cut-off time: 1m36.933s Gap * 18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m37.714s + 1.516 19. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m38.463s + 2.265 20. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m38.677s + 2.479 21. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m39.282s + 3.084 22. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m39.717s + 3.519 23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m40.411s + 4.213 24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m41.000s + 4.802 107% time: 1m42.931s
* Gap to quickest in Q1
** Gap to quickest in Q2
Timing table via Autosport