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Chinese Grand Prix 2012 at Shanghai : Qualifying : Rosberg leads Mercedes GP 1-3 as Lewis Hamilton splits them

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Shanghai Grand Prix

Its so good to have another Asian race, so you wake up, have coffee and there is qualifying on TV for you. And on the television you see Chinese girls with tattoos of ‘I love Kimi Raikkonen’ alongwith a weird rendition of the Finnish flag on their cheeks.

Qualifying Session 2

As the boring Q1 finishes, Narain Karthikeyan is last as usual but within 107% of qualification time so he gets to start again. Its now Q2 and 16 cars are out on track, Romain Grosjean is sitting inside since he used the prime tyres in the 1st session. Alonso is struggling, Ferrari is even slower than the Saubers at this point. Talking of Romain Grosjean, no one has told me who issued him a driver’s license ? Maybe he got his FIA superlicense here in India through some agent.

Nico Rosberg goes fastest and Michael Schumacher is second fastest in what could be his last Chinese Grand Prix as per the 3 year contract he is supposed to have signed with the Mercedes GP F1 team. The Mercedes GP team with Schumi were the fastest during Friday practice , they really seem to have got their setup right this time. A welcome change from mistake after mistake Smile

As the session comes to an end, Felipe Massa is 10th fastest, and every other car is clocking 11th fastest, Massa is living dangerously. And Perez with a P3 time pushes Massa to 11th place. So no qualifying session 3 for Massa, Fernando Alonso is the only Ferrari in top 10 at 10th place. Sebastien Vettel is 11th fastest and he wont be in the 3rd leg of qualifying. Massa is only 12th fastest. Very poor results for both Vettel and Massa. Vettel would be heartbroken especially when Mark Webber is P1 after Q2. Maybe its karma for calling Narain Karthikeyan a cucumber.

Qualifying Session 3

Nico Rosberg is the 1st car out on track, you may think it’s a bad move, but the track is getting cooler, so it could be smart of the Mercedes GP team as cooler track means slower lap times. Rosberg sets a 1:35.1 lap time. That’s pretty awesome I tell you. Michael Schumacher is a full half second slower and Lewis Hamilton now splits the 2 Mercedes.

The Red Bull struggle continues, Webber only manages a P5 on his 1st hot lap with only 5 cars on the track.

And as the session comes to an end Rosberg is still  P1 , Lewis Hamilton is P2 and Michael Schumacher is P3. First ever pole position for Nico Rosberg in 110 races as Michael congratulates him after disembarking from his car. Lewis Hamilton will only start 7th though due to a gearbox change.

And did I mention I like this new Star Sports raceday host, she keeps rooting for Michael Schumacher. Here are the final timings from the qualifying and a smashing portrait of the man of the moment : Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg - Pole Chinese Grand Prix

Pos  No  Driver  Team  Q1 Q2 Q3  Laps
1 8 Nico Rosberg  Mercedes  01:36.9 01:35.7 01:35.1 11
2 4 Lewis Hamilton  McLaren-Mercedes  01:36.8 01:35.9 01:35.6 14
3 7 Michael Schumacher  Mercedes  01:36.8 01:35.8 01:35.7 13
4 14 Kamui Kobayashi  Sauber-Ferrari  01:36.9 01:35.9 01:35.8 13
5 9 Kimi Räikkönen  Lotus-Renault  01:36.9 01:35.9 01:35.9 15
6 3 Jenson Button  McLaren-Mercedes  01:36.7 01:35.9 01:36.2 16
7 2 Mark Webber  Red Bull Racing-Renault  01:36.7 01:35.7 01:36.3 14
8 15 Sergio Perez  Sauber-Ferrari  01:36.2 01:35.8 01:36.5 17
9 5 Fernando Alonso  Ferrari  01:36.3 01:36.0 01:36.6 17
10 10 Romain Grosjean  Lotus-Renault  01:36.3 01:35.9   15
11 1 Sebastian Vettel  Red Bull Racing-Renault  01:36.9 01:36.0   11
12 6 Felipe Massa  Ferrari  01:36.6 01:36.3   14
13 18 Pastor Maldonado  Williams-Renault  01:36.5 01:36.3   14
14 19 Bruno Senna  Williams-Renault  01:36.7 01:36.3   14
15 11 Paul di Resta  Force India-Mercedes  01:36.6 01:36.3   14
16 12 Nico Hulkenberg  Force India-Mercedes  01:36.9 01:36.7   14
17 16 Daniel Ricciardo  STR-Ferrari  01:36.9 01:37.0   14
18 17 Jean-Eric Vergne  STR-Ferrari  01:37.7     8
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen  Caterham-Renault  01:38.5     9
20 21 Vitaly Petrov  Caterham-Renault  01:38.7     7
21 24 Timo Glock  Marussia-Cosworth  01:39.3     10
22 25 Charles Pic  Marussia-Cosworth  01:39.7     10
23 22 Pedro de la Rosa  HRT-Cosworth  01:40.4     7
24 23 Narain Karthikeyan  HRT-Cosworth  01:41.0     10