The folk at Brackley are becoming showmen – as are the two pilots of the Mercedes cars. For a dominant team, they regularly provide mouthwatering entertainment and despite taking their nineteenth consecutive pole position and making it an entire calendar year of Saturday glory, Hamilton and Rosberg were at the heart of late drama in Spielberg. It was the former, who held on to claim his 45th career pole, yet more through luck than judgement, as he found himself heading backwards into the turn one run-off area, ruling himself out of contention to improve as the clock ticked down to zero in Q3. Moments later, Nico Rosberg also found himself on an off-road adventure and therefore, ended second best again.
After finishing at the bottom of the pile in FP3, Lewis Hamilton reversed his fortunes in fine style this afternoon, claiming his 44th career pole and his 4th in Montreal. The Briton took the spoils by a substantial margin of three tenths over teammate Nico Rosberg, who, despite looking strong throughout the day, grappled with a lack of rear grip in the final segment and was unable to challenge his teammate’s supremacy. Some of the leading stories of the day, however, played out in the opening eighteen minutes of qualifying, as power problems for Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel saw them both fall at the Q1 stage.
It is quite remarkable that the driver billed to be the most naturally talented of his generation by many analysts, had never taken a pole position around F1’s most iconic circuit. However, Lewis Hamilton has addressed this oversight today, claiming a maiden Monaco pole position in style, recording two laps which were both good enough for top spot. Nico Rosberg seemed the favorite to win this particular act in the Mercedes inter-team scrap, as Lewis struggled through the opening two segments, but the German could not match his teammate in Q3, with his final attempt to usurp him scuppered by a lock-up into Sainte Devote. In the most important qualifying session of the year, it was Hamilton who hit the jackpot.
Just when critics limber up to lament another predictable outcome, Formula 1 has the ability to throw a surprise. Lewis Hamilton may have taken four consecutive pole positions, but it was Nico Rosberg’s time to shine, as he dominated qualifying to take top spot by a relatively comfortable margin. The German was imperious today and has achieved the result which has the potential to launch his 2015 title tilt in earnest. Elsewhere, Sebastian Vettel’s third place was courtesy of a typically efficient performance but teammate Kimi Raikkonen failed to deliver and was duly engulfed by his rivals and will start P7. Toro Rosso proved that their practice pace was no fluke, with Sainz sensationally lining up in P5, and will be joined on the third row by his fellow rookie Max Verstappen.
As the sun set and the lights took over, it was Lewis Hamilton who once again lit up the timing screens on a Saturday, to claim a fourth consecutive pole position and his first in Bahrain. However, Mercedes’ evening was rather dampened, when Sebastian Vettel managed to edge Nico Rosberg off of the front row in Q3. In fact, a cautious Rosberg was fortunate to retain P3, as both Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas both threatened to displace him. Regardless, the stage is set for an epic race tomorrow, as both Ferrari’s have placed themselves well and truly in play for the race win.
After securing a milestone 40th career pole in Malaysia, Lewis Hamilton has continued his string of Saturday success, by claiming his 41st today. The Brit’s benchmark time came on his first timed lap – a lap time which was nearly eclipsed by a fast-charging Nico Rosberg, who has been growing into the weekend. Ferrari were never a threat in qualifying trim, nor were they expected to be. However, with Sebastian Vettel in P3, they could well take the fight to the Silver Arrows in tomorrow’s race.
As so often is the case at Sepang, the climatic extreme took centre stage, as the skies proved just as entertaining as the cars on track. However, take nothing away from the Qualifying session, which was a blockbuster, enhanced by the proverbial double six rolled into the equation by stormy conditions. Q3 was well worth the rain delay as Mercedes’ straggle hold on the front row of the grid was breeched by the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel – the first time a Ferrari has claimed one of the first two spots on the grid since the Malaysian Grand Prix of 2013. Nico Rosberg was the man to lose out, dropping to P3 while Lewis Hamilton reached the milestone of 40 career pole positions, by a margin small enough to make even the reigning champion sweat.