Formula 1 2012 Chinese Grand Prix: Nico Rosberg Claims First Pole Position

Neil James@NeilosJamesFeatured ColumnistApril 14, 2012

SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 14:  Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP drives during the final practice session prior to qualifying for the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit on April 14, 2012 in Shanghai, China.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Nico Rosberg will start on pole position for the 2012 Chinese Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver set a time of 1:35.121 to claim his first ever pole position, more than half a second ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren.  But Michael Schumacher will start second after Hamilton takes his five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled change of gearbox—an all Mercedes (and German) front row.

Kamui Kobayashi will start third after putting in a blistering time for Sauber, and Kimi Raikkonen took fourth for Lotus.  Jenson Button starts fifth with Mark Webber in sixth.  Hamilton set the second-fastest time, but his penalty places him seventh.

Perhaps the biggest shock of the day was Sebastian Vettel missing out on Q3 for the first time since the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2009. 

The German was knocked out of the top 10 in the dying seconds of Q2, and though he was the last man over the line, he could not improve his position and will start 11th.

From 13th down, we have an unusual two-by-two lineup—the two Williams, Force Indias, Toro Rossos, Caterhams, Marussias and HRTs will start side by side.


Full times and positions from the Shanghai International Circuit:

Pos. Driver Team Time
01 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:35.121
*02 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:35.626
03 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:35.691
04 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:35.784
05 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1:35.898
06 Jenson Button McLaren 1:36.191
07 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:36.290
08 Sergio Perez Sauber 1:36.524
09 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:36.622
10 Romain Grosjean Lotus NO TIME
11 (Q2) Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:36.031
12 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:36.255
13 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:36.283
14 Bruno Senna Williams 1:36.289
15 Paul di Resta Force India 1:36.317
16 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:36.745
17 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:36.956
18 (Q3) Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:37.714
19 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1:38.463
20 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1:38.677
21 Timo Glock Marussia 1:39.282
22 Charles Pic Marussia 1:39.717
23 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1:40.411
24 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1:41.000

* Will start seventh after the five-place grid penalty

The race starts at 15:00 local time on Sunday. The Formula One website will convert it to your local time zone.