Formula 1

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton


Hamilton’s margin over the field was a stunning 0.452 seconds as Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber took third and fourth on the grid.

Vettel’s title rivals Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso could manage only ninth and 10th.

Scot Paul Di Resta was fifth ahead of Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo.

It was Di Resta’s career-best qualifying position and Ricciardo, a contender to replace Webber next year, equalled his own highest grid position.

Hamilton’s pole was his first since the Chinese Grand Prix and it came as a result of what team boss Ross Brawn described as “a very special lap”.

Vettel edged out Webber by just 0.009secs as Red Bull put themselves in a strong position for the race.

Mercedes are still concerned about their rear tyre usage, especially with higher temperatures forecasted for the race on Sunday.

The race looks set to be fought out by the Red Bulls and Mercedes, whose tyre wear in the cooler conditions of Friday was better than usual.

But Raikkonen and Alonso, who both admitted coming into this race that they needed to make up ground on Vettel, face a tough battle after struggling for pace all weekend.

Jenson Button won the internal McLaren battle by qualifying 11th and beating team-mate Sergio Perez by 0.4secs, but the team were way off the pace.

Ricciardo’s sixth place on the grid was perfectly timed following Webber’s announcement on Thursday that he will be leaving F1 at the end of the year.

Ricciardo is one of three contenders for the second red Bull seat in 2014, along with Raikkonen and the other Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne, who qualified 13th after running wide on his final lap in second qualifying, which was on target to match Ricciardo’s.

Englishman Max Chilton struggled in the Marussia – he qualified last, 1.7 seconds slower than team-mate Jules Bianchi.


Pos Driver                Team                 Time            Gap   
 1. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes             1m29.607s
 2. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m30.059s  + 0.452s
 3. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m30.211s  + 0.604s
 4. Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m30.220s  + 0.613s
 5. Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m30.736s  + 1.129s
 6. Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m30.757s  + 1.150s
 7. Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes 1m30.908s  + 1.301s
 8. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault        1m30.955s  + 1.348s
 9. Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault        1m30.962s  + 1.355s
10. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m30.979s  + 1.372s
Q2 cut-off time: 1m31.592s                                   Gap **
11. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m31.649s  + 0.659s
12. Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m31.779s  + 0.789s
13. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m31.785s  + 0.795s
14. Sergio Perez          McLaren-Mercedes     1m32.082s  + 1.092s
15. Nico Hulkenberg       Sauber-Ferrari       1m32.211s  + 1.221s
16. Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault     1m32.359s  + 1.369s
Q1 cut-off time: 1m32.512s                                   Gap *
17. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Renault     1m32.664s  + 1.669s
18. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari       1m32.666s  + 1.671s
19. Charles Pic           Caterham-Renault     1m33.866s  + 2.871s
20. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Cosworth    1m34.108s  + 3.113s
21. Giedo van der Garde   Caterham-Renault     1m35.481s  + 4.486s
22. Max Chilton           Marussia-Cosworth    1m35.858s  + 4.863s