April 5th, 2014 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Nico Rosberg was in jubilant mood after securing pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix. He wasn't the only one - the whole Mercedes team was on a high after Lewis Hamilton's second place completed the team's first front-row lockout of the season.
Rosberg was also on pole for last year's Bahrain Grand Prix. He is now the third German driver to have taken pole position twice for the Bahrain Grand Prix - Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel achieved the feat before Rosberg. In the 2013 race, Rosberg struggled from pole position, eventually finishing ninth. Given the dominance of Mercedes so far in 2014, a repeat of that unfortunate result seems unlikely.
The pole-sitter reacted as follows after qualifying:
"t's fantastic to be on pole again here in Bahrain. I really enjoy the track and I won my GP2 Series title here so it has some pretty special memories for me. We've had a good weekend so far and I've been able improve my pace throughout the practice sessions so I was hoping for a strong qualifying.
"It's so difficult to get everything completely right with all the new technology and set-up requirements on the car but I felt really comfortable this evening and was able to put some great laps together. I'm looking forward to the race as I had a good run on high fuel but we're going to need to be careful with tyre degradation."
Second-placed Lewis Hamilton was gracious in defeat. He admitted to a mistake in Q3 which cost him the chance to challenge Rosberg for pole position. Fortunately for Hamilton, his first Q3 run was good enough to secure second on the grid for Sunday's race. Hamilton said after qualifying:
"Second place is pretty good for us today. I made a mistake on my last lap which was a shame but it's great for the team to have both cars on the front row. They've done a fantastic job this weekend with the set-up simulations and we did a lot of testing here before the season started which has helped.
"The car has felt good so far but I definitely felt more comfortable in practice than I did this evening in qualifying. I'm not really sure why but we'll have a good look at the data tonight and see if there is anything we can identify before the race tomorrow.
"Congratulations to Nico today, he's done a great job so far this weekend and nailed a really quick lap in qualifying. I'm happy that it's my team-mate there on pole and not someone else!"
The race is likely to be a fight between the two Mercedes drivers, as it was last weekend in Malaysia. Hamilton took top honours last time out, but Rosberg will be determined to be first across the finish line tomorrow, particularly as he is starting out in front.