Rosberg victorious around the streets of Monaco

Rosberg Monaco GP 2013 winner

Nico Rosberg scored his second career victory in Formula 1 by winning the glamorous Monaco Grand Prix in the Mercedes.

This was the team’s first win of the season thanks to Rosberg’s superb driving. He controlled the race from the front with ease despite two safety cars and a red flag.

Mercedes was unable to repeat its qualifying one-two, as Lewis Hamilton fell to fourth behind the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.

Rosberg held his lead at the start and was able to maintain an advantage of around two seconds for the majority of the race, whether in tyre conservation mode or showing his true pace.

Hamilton lost ground when the safety car came out amid the first scheduled pitstops.

Felipe Massa repeated his qualifying crash at Sainte Devote, prompting the interruption and sending the Ferrari driver to hospital for checks.

As all those yet to pit immediately dived in to do so, Hamilton had to queue behind team-mate Rosberg and emerged behind the two Red Bulls.

Hamilton then spent the rest of the race mounting attacks on Webber for third, getting alongside through Rascasse at one point but never making it ahead.

Rosberg was unfazed by a mid-race stoppage, caused when contact between Max Chilton’s Marussia and Pastor Maldonado’s Williams sent the latter flying violently into the Tabac barriers.

Maldonado was unhurt in the incident, for which the race stewards punished Chilton with a drive-through penalty.

While Rosberg cruised to victory ahead of the Vettel, Webber and Hamilton train, which only spread out in the final moments, the rest of the pack engaged in some spectacular and wild racing.

Force India’s Adrian Sutil pulled off brave passes on Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso into Fairmont Hotel hairpin.

He then benefited when contact between Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez at the chicane late on left the Lotus with a puncture and caused damage that would ultimately force Perez to park.

Button came through to sixth position, having earlier had a spat with his McLaren team-mate Perez when the Mexican cut the chicane to hold him off.

Perez was ordered to let Button past, but overtook him cleanly at the same place later on.

The Mexican then had another chicane incident with Fernando Alonso, and this time it was the Ferrari asked to move aside having cut the corner.

Raikkonen was next on Perez’s list, but on that occasion the chicane move ended in contact.

Alonso lost out to Button in the traffic jam behind Perez’s wounded car and finished in seventh position with Jean-Eric Vergne chased the Ferrari driver in eighth.

Paul di Resta converted P17 on the grid to ninth position, thanks to pitting as early as lap nine and making his tyres last to the end.

Raikkonen’s recovery drive ultimately earned him a championship point, as he overtook Nico Hulkenberg’s Sauber on the final lap.

The other major incident came when Romain Grosjean ploughed into the back of Daniel Ricciardo at the chicane, causing the final safety car.

Jules Bianchi also crashed, slewing into the Sainte Devote barriers, having earlier sustained damage on debris from the Chilton/Maldonado crash.

So a fantastic weekend by Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes. Quick in practice, grabbed pole position in qualifying and now race victory. He matches his father Keke’s 30-year achievement by winning the legendary street circuit.

The result puts Vettel further ahead in the world championship chase with 107 points to Raikkonen’s 86. Alonso’s 78, Hamilton’s 62, Webber’s 57 and Rosberg’s 47. In the constructors’ stakes, Red Bull have 164 to Ferrari’s 123, Lotus’s 112 and Mercedes’ 109, with Force India on 44 from McLaren’s 37.

A slight cloud hangs over Mercedes’ triumph, however, as prior to the race Red Bull and Ferrari lodged a protest concerning a three-day Pirelli tyre test which Mercedes took part in following the Spanish Grand Prix.

Monaco Grand Prix, race result after 78 laps:

1.  Rosberg        Mercedes      2:17:52.056
2.  Vettel         Red Bull-Renault    +3.888
3.  Webber         Red Bull-Renault   +6.314
4.  Hamilton       Mercedes       +13.894
5.  Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   +21.477
6.  Button         McLaren-Mercedes    +23.103
7.  Alonso         Ferrari     +26.734
8.  Vergne         Toro Rosso-Ferrari    +27.223
9.  Di Resta       Force India-Mercedes   +27.608
10.  Raikkonen      Lotus-Renault    +36.582
11.  Hulkenberg     Sauber-Ferrari    +42.572
12.  Bottas         Williams-Renault   +42.691
13.  Gutierrez      Sauber-Ferrari    +43.212
14.  Chilton        Marussia-Cosworth   +49.885
15.  Van der Garde  Caterham-Renault    +1:02.590

Not classified/retirement:

Perez          McLaren-Mercedes   72 laps
Grosjean       Lotus-Renault      63 laps
Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   61 laps
Bianchi        Marussia-Cosworth    58 laps
Maldonado      Williams-Renault     44 laps
Massa          Ferrari      28 laps
Pic            Caterham-Renault    7 laps

World Championship standings, round 6:

1.  Vettel        107
2.  Raikkonen      86
3.  Alonso         78
4.  Hamilton       62
5.  Webber         57
6.  Rosberg        47
7.  Massa          45
8.  Di Resta       28
9.  Grosjean       26
10.  Button         25
11.  Sutil          16
12.  Perez          12
13.  Ricciardo       7
14.  Hulkenberg      5
15.  Vergne          5

1.  Red Bull-Renault          164
2.  Ferrari                   123
3.  Lotus-Renault             112
4.  Mercedes                  109
5.  Force India-Mercedes       44
6.  McLaren-Mercedes           37
7.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari         12
8.  Sauber-Ferrari              5

Next race: Canadian Grand Prix, Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal. June 7-9.

Rosberg leads Mercedes front row at Monaco

Rosberg Monaco 2013

Nico Rosberg achieved his hat trick of pole positions in Formula 1 with a brilliant lap around the tight and twisty Monaco circuit.

The Mercedes driver fended off the challenges from Red Bull Racing to take the top spot, edging out his team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the process too.

Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were initially first and second following the first Q3 runs, and with the rain appearing set to increase, it looked like Red Bull Racing might have the front row sealed.

But Mercedes found extra pace in the final moments of Q3, with Lewis Hamilton first leaping to the front with a time of one minute, 13.967 seconds, until Rosberg pipping him by 0.091 seconds with a pole position time of one minute, 13.876 seconds.

Vettel was 0.013 seconds down on Hamilton as he denied Webber third place. Kimi Raikkonen took fifth for Lotus, while Ferrari had a tough qualifying session.

Fernando Alonso could only manage sixth, while his team-mate Felipe Massa was unable to take part at all following his practice three crash. The team couldn’t repair the car in time for Q1.

McLaren’s Sergio Perez and Jenson Button were seventh and eighth, split by Adrian Sutil’s Force India.

Jean-Eric Vergne completed the top ten with a strong performance for Toro Rosso.

There was an element of lottery in getting into the top ten as Q2 came to a frenetic end, with everyone opted for slick tyres in the final four minutes and then trying to get the best out of an ever-quicker track.

Romain Grosjean was among those to lose out. His P13 was an anti-climax after a star Q1 performance, when he had shot to the front briefly on the single flying lap he had time for once Lotus had repaired his practice crash damage.

The other big story of Q2 was Giedo van der Garde’s effort. The Dutchman got Caterham through Q1 for the first time this season and was a top ten contender in Q2.

He eventually ended up P15, beating Q1 pacesetter Pastor Maldonado’s Williams. Maldonado was two positions behind team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

Also out in Q2 were Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo, who share row six.

Paul di Resta was left enraged with Force India’s tactics as he missed the Q1 cut and ended up P17. Esteban Gutierrez was also knocked out and will start behind Charles Pic in P19.

Jules Bianchi will join Massa on the back row, having parked on his out-lap with a fire in his Marussia’s airbox.

So an exciting qualifying session. Mercedes have locked-out the front row yet again but with overtaking so damn difficult around Monaco, we could see the Silver Arrows taking the race victory.

Qualifying times from Monte Carlo:

1. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1m13.876s
2. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes              1m13.967s
3. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1m13.980s
4. Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1m14.181s
5. Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1m14.822s
6. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1m14.824s
7. Sergio Perez          McLaren-Mercedes      1m15.138s
8. Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes  1m15.383s
9. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1m15.647s
10. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m15.703s
11. Nico Hulkenberg       Sauber-Ferrari        1m18.331s
12. Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m18.344s
13. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1m18.603s
14. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Renault      1m19.077s
15. Giedo van der Garde   Caterham-Renault      1m19.408s
16. Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1m21.688s
17. Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes     1m26.322s
18. Charles Pic           Caterham-Renault      1m26.633s
19. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari        1m26.917s
20. Max Chilton           Marussia-Cosworth     1m27.303s
21. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Cosworth     No time
22. Felipe Massa          Ferrari     No time

107 per cent time: 1m29.293s

Gran Turismo 6 heads towards the grid at the end of 2013

Gran Turismo 6

Polyphony Digital celebrated their 15th anniversary of ‘the Real Driving Simulator’ with the news of Gran Turimso 6, the latest game for the Sony PlayStation 3 console.

The new racing title will feature 1,200 cars from several famous car manufacturers, along with seven new racing locations – including Silverstone – adding to a total of 33 circuits to drive on.

Downloadable content will also become available once Gran Turismo 6 goes on sale at the end of the year. The packs will consist of new cars and tracks.

The official press statement did not mention about a PlayStation 4 version, which comes as a surprise. As Gran Turismo 6 will go on sale around the same time as Sony’s next-generation gaming console.

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. today announced Gran Turismo®6 (GT6™), the latest version of PlayStation®’s best-selling franchise, will be released in Holiday, 2013. The news was revealed today by legendary Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi at an event held to celebrate 15 years of the 70-million-selling series.

GT6 for PlayStation®3 will bring new levels of authenticity to ‘the Real Driving Simulator’ as well as introducing stunning new tracks and cars and a revised user interface. A new compact game engine will improve operation and increase the flexibility to expand it with downloadable content. Meanwhile, the game is also set for expanded connectivity with other devices such as smart phones and tablets and increased social and community functions.

All of the cars and tracks from Gran Turismo®5, which has sold over 10m copies since launching in 2010, will be retained in GT6. But notable new additions to the already impressive line-up of historic cars, road cars and the latest race cars, brings the total car list to 1200 at launch, with new cars set to be continually added online. Several thousand aerodynamic parts and custom wheels will be available for almost all cars, and players can personalize their own custom cars in game to the greatest ever level possible.

The UK’s famous Silverstone Circuit will be just one of seven new locations in Gran Turismo 6, taking the total to 33, with 71 different layouts available, 19 of them brand new. There will also be regular additions of new tracks set to be made available online. The improved course maker function will provide gorgeous scenery spanning several tens of square kilometers including the magnificent backdrop of Andalucía.

The theme of Gran Turismo’s innovative collaborations with partner companies will increase with the inception of GT6. A number of exciting new projects that blur the line between the virtual and real will be announced in the run up to the game’s launch. Not least of these is GT Academy, a collaboration with Nissan to unearth real racing driver talent that first ran in 2008. It was announced during the event that the competition returns for its biggest ever year in 2013, with the entry mechanic set to take place on an exclusive GT6 demo in July.

Other notable partnerships in the development of GT6 have been with tyre manufacturer Yokohama Rubber and suspension company KW Automotive. Both companies are active in the commercial car industry and in racing, and they have acted as technical development partners for the game’s new physics engine, for its tyre and suspension kinematic modeling, creating an even more realistic experience for GT fans.

“It is amazing to think that it is 15 years since we first released Gran Turismo,” explained Kazunori Yamauchi, during the announcement at Silverstone Circuit. “Things have changed a lot since then and now Gran Turismo 6 is a further evolution of my dream. We’re pleased to deliver GT6 to PlayStation 3 as we have a very loyal community on that platform. However, we have refactored the game to make it very flexible and expandable, with a view to making many future developments. I am very pleased with everything about the new game and the new additions, but the launch will be only the beginning for GT6. The game will continue to develop throughout its life. I already have many ideas for things I want to achieve in the next 15 years of Gran Turismo!”

Summary of new Gran Turismo 6 features announced by Kazunori Yamauchi:

New Game Engine
• Refactoring
• Compact, nimble operation
• Flexible expandability
• A new rendering engine that pushes the limits of the PS3

New Physics Engine
• New suspension and kinematics model
• New tyre model
• New aerodynamics model
• Technical partnership with Yokohama Rubber and KW Automotive

1200 Cars, abundant custom parts, and on-going DLC
• From historic cars to the latest racing cars, the game contains a total of 1200 cars.
• Multiple aerodynamic parts and custom wheels will be available for almost all cars.
• Players can create their own personalised custom car in the game.
• Cars will be continually added online

33 locations, 71 layouts
• 33 Locations and 71 layouts will be provided from day1 (7 more locations and 19 more layouts than GT5)
• More new tracks will continue to be provided online

New Course Maker
• Massive scenery spanning several tens of square kilometers
• A new course generation algorithm

Community/Club/Race Organizer
• Players can form their own communities
• Various community levels from local and domestic to global
• Players themselves can create and manage their own online events

New User Interface
• Balancing directional key operation and touch operation
• Quick response
• Shortening of loading times

Multi Device Compatibility
• PlayStation®
• Smart Phone
• Tablet
• PC

At the same time as the PS3 version of GT6 the “Real Driving Simulator” launches, a mobile version and web application version of GT6, will be created to enjoy Gran Turismo’s massive community space.

Check out the trailer to Gran Turismo 6:

It looks really good and I am really excited to play this. It’s incredible how much progress has been made to the game-playing experience and visuals over the last 15 years. Hopefully all these new features will make Gran Turimso 6 a joy to play.

Jack Bauer lives for a brand new day

Jack Bauer 24 rooftop

Kiefer Sutherland will return to the role as a counter-terrorism superhero following the news that Fox has revival the real-time thriller show 24 in a new 12-episode format.

The new series, entitled ‘24: Live Another Day‘ will adopt the same 24 ‘hourly’ episodes from the past eight seasons, but will be condensed to just twelve episodes.

It’s been three years since the popular Fox drama was axed, following a run of 192 episodes between the year of 2001 and 2010.

Following the exploits of CTU agent Jack Bauer, played by the Emmy Award-winning actor Sutherland, the drama was widely thought to have run out of steam by the end of its final season.

Plans for a 24 spin-off movie never materialised while Sutherland’s other Fox drama, Touch, was cancelled after a two-year run.

Fox Entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly said 24 show runner Howard Gordon, whose credits also include Homeland, was “really energised” by the idea of a rebooted 24.

“They always had this idea of someday doing a feature film. I think they all agreed that ‘24‘ compressed into two hours is not 24,” said Reilly.

“What they’ll be able to do is go in chronological order of the day, but skip hours… Now we’ll get the best part.”

Sutherland said: “The response to 24 is unlike anything I have ever experienced as an actor before.

“To have the chance to reunite with the character, Jack Bauer, is like finding a lost friend. The story ideas from Howard Gordon are exciting and fresh, and will not disappoint.”

Gordon, whose other credits include Homeland, the US adaptation of hit Israeli drama Prisoners of War, said: “Jack Bauer has always been an exciting, thrilling character, and I confess that I’ve missed him.

“I think the audience has too. The character has evolved through the years, and this new and exciting event series format is perfect to tell the next chapter of his story and continue to reflect how the world is changing. Fans can rest assured that the Jack they know and love will be back.”

Such fantastic news that Jack Bauer is back. 24 is one of my favourite television shows and I look forward to hearing Kiefer shouting “Dammit!” once again.

Alonso takes home victory in front of his passionate fans

Alonso Spanish GP race winner 2013

Fernando Alonso sent his passionate fans into hysteria as the Ferrari driver charged from fifth on the grid to take his first victory at the Circuit de Catalunya since 2006.

Kimi Raikkonen emerged as Fernando’s main rival, while Sebastian Vettel and the front-row-starting Mercedes faded in the race.

Despite a three-place grid penalty for impeding in qualifying, Felipe Massa recovering from ninth to take the final podium spot.

In a race full of tyre conservation, Alonso’s approach was to go flat-out.

While Vettel split the Mercedes into Turn 1, Alonso accelerated around the outside of both Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton at Turn 3 to move into third.

Rosberg clung on at the front of the field through the first pitstops.

By the time they were done, Alonso was his main challenger, having pitted one lap ahead of Vettel and jumped the Red Bull.

Rosberg’s plunge down the race order began on lap 12, when Alonso passed him into Turn 1, with Vettel and Raikkonen further demoted him before that lap was completed.

Once in front, the home crowd favourite began to pull away.

Despite running longer, Vettel turned out to be on the same four-stop strategy as Alonso, but the championship leader was unable to match the Ferrari’s sheer pace.

Raikkonen, however, could pull off a three-stop strategy. The Finn lost time behind Vettel in the middle of the stint, and then raised his pace after overtaking the Red Bull on lap 33.

Lotus had a potential edge going into the closing stages of the Spanish Grand Prix, with Raikkonen a few seconds ahead of Alonso at a point when both had a single pit-stop left to go.

But on his fresher set of Pirellis, Alonso stormed up behind Raikkonen at a rate of two seconds per lap, breezed past the Lotus then vanished into the distance, swiftly building a 12-second advantage.

Raikkonen was left to fend off Massa, who had been rapid all race and got a green light from Ferrari to try to catch the Lotus. Tyre wear affected this charge and Felipe was forced to back off, so third was the result.

Vettel’s attempts to run longer on his set of tyres ultimately cost him so much pace that he fell behind the earlier-pitting Massa.

The defending world champion had to settle for fourth, followed by his Red Bull Racing team-mate Mark Webber.

As for Mercedes, Nico Rosberg finished sixth after running a three-stop strategy while his team-mate Lewis Hamilton dropped right down the order in a lapped P12. His

Force India’s Paul di Resta chased the pole sitter to the chequered flag.

McLaren ended up eighth and ninth after 66 laps around the Circuit de Catalunya.

Jenson Button had tumbled to P17 in the opening laps, but nursed his tyres through three stops and emerged ahead of his early-charging, but four-stopping, team-mate Sergio Perez.

Daniel Ricciardo fended off Esteban Gutierrez to give Scuderia Toro Rosso the final championship point.

It was still a breakthrough day for Gutierrez, as a long first stint meant Sauber’s rookie managed to lead a Formula 1 race for the first time.

Last year’s Spanish Grand Prix winner Pastor Maldonado struggled home in P14, recovering from a pitlane speeding penalty.

Romain Grosjean was an early retirement with a broken right-rear suspension on his Lotus.

Two pitlane incidents attracted the race stewards’ attention.

Caterham could face sanctions after Giedo van der Garde lost a wheel on his out-lap, while Nico Hulkenberg had an unsafe release penalty following a pitlane clash with Jean-Eric Vergne, prior to which both had been points contenders.

So a great result for Ferrari and Fernando Alonso. This was the Italian team’s 221st victory in the sport and the Spaniard’s 32nd. And yet the talk after the race was all about tyres.

The drivers are forced to race below the limit in order to conserve the tyres. The sport is going through a difficult balancing act between entertainment and sporting this season.

Have Pirelli gone too far in making the tyres not durable? That is the big debate at the moment and yet we don’t want to see dull, processional racing as seen in the last decade. Hopefully the tyres won’t play a major factor in the upcoming races. Monaco could be interesting though as it’s narrow and difficult to overtake.

Spanish Grand Prix race results, after 66 laps:

1.  Alonso         Ferrari    1h39:16.596s
2.  Raikkonen      Lotus-Renault  +9.338
3.  Massa          Ferrari        +26.049
4.  Vettel         Red Bull-Renault    +38.273
5.  Webber         Red Bull-Renault    +47.963
6.  Rosberg        Mercedes        +1:08.020
7.  Di Resta       Force India-Mercedes     +1:08.988
8.  Button         McLaren-Mercedes      +1:19.506
9.  Perez          McLaren-Mercedes      +1:21.738
10.  Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   +1 lap
11.  Gutierrez      Sauber-Ferrari      +1 lap
12.  Hamilton       Mercedes     +1 lap
13.  Sutil          Force India-Mercedes    +1 lap
14.  Maldonado      Williams-Renault      +1 lap
15.  Hulkenberg     Sauber-Ferrari     +1 lap
16.  Bottas         Williams-Renault    +1 lap
17.  Pic            Caterham-Renault    +1 lap
18.  Bianchi        Marussia-Cosworth   +2 laps
19.  Chilton        Marussia-Cosworth   +2 laps

Not classified/retirement:

Vergne         Toro Rosso-Ferrari 14 laps
Van der Garde  Caterham-Renault   45 laps
Grosjean       Lotus-Renault    58 laps

World Championship standings, round 5:

1.  Vettel         89
2.  Raikkonen      85
3.  Alonso         72
4.  Hamilton       50
5.  Massa          45
6.  Webber         42
7.  Di Resta       26
8.  Grosjean       26
9.  Rosberg        22
10.  Button         17
11.  Perez          12
12.  Ricciardo       7
13.  Sutil           6
14.  Hulkenberg      5
15.  Vergne          1

1.  Red Bull-Renault          131
2.  Ferrari                   117
3.  Lotus-Renault             111
4.  Mercedes                   72
5.  Force India-Mercedes       32
6.  McLaren-Mercedes           29
7.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari          8
8.  Sauber-Ferrari              5

Next race: Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo. May 23-26.

Rosberg leads Mercedes front row in qualifying at Spain

Nico Rosberg Mercedes Spain 2013

Nico Rosberg achieved his third pole position following a brilliant lap at the Circuit de Catalunya. His Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton lines up second after being quickest in Q1 and Q2.

This was Mercedes team’s third consecutive pole position despite showing little of their one-lap pace during the three practice sessions.

And yet come the qualifying hour, the speed of the Silver Arrows reveals the true performance against their rivals.

Rosberg repeated his Bahrain pole after producing two great laps in the top ten shootout.

His initial one minute, 20.8 seconds benchmark proved unbeatable, but the German was able to improve this with a time of one minute, 20.718 seconds to secure the front row spot.

Lewis Hamilton had to settle for second place, just 0.254 seconds adrift.

As for the Formula 1 championship leader Sebastian Vettel, the Red Bull driver will lines up third. Ahead of Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus and the home crowd favourite Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.

Alonso’s team-mate Felipe Massa mounted a strong challenge for pole position only to lose crucial time in the final sector and ended up in sixth position.

Unfortunately, the Brazilian was deemed to have impeded Mark Webber’s Red Bull in Q2 and will drop three places on the grid.

Hamilton had earlier starred in a thrilling end to Q2, throwing in a last-gasp lap that jumped him from a worrying P13 to a comfortable first, six tenths clear of the pack.

Sergio Perez also produced an eleventh-hour surge in Q2, getting up to seventh and then qualifying ninth in Q3. His McLaren team-mate Jenson Button was unable to match that. Was six tenths slower and will start in a disappointing P14.

Toro Rosso had looked promising in practice and both Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne had a realistic shot at Q3. Both were holding onto a top ten spot, before being narrowly squeezed out by others.

They will share row six, ahead of Adrian Sutil, who could not join team-mate Paul di Resta in the pole position shootout. The Scot took tenth place.

Going into the final seconds of Q2, both Saubers had made it into Q3. But in the subsequent flurry of improvements, Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez tumbled down to row eight.

The race stewards would later demote the Mexican further down the grid after blocking Kimi Raikkonen in Q1.

As for Williams, who started the race on pole and later won the Spanish Grand Prix last year. The new upgrades failed to improve the car’s overall speed meaning neither drivers got beyond Q1.

The 2012 winner, Pastor Maldonado will start the race in P18 (accused of blocking by Button) while team-mate Valtteri Bottas was just be one position ahead.

The back of the grid battle stepped up a gear with a very close tussle between Caterham and Marussia.

Giedo van der Garde finally emerged on top for Caterham, edging out Marussia’s Jules Bianchi by just 0.052 seconds.

Max Chilton and Charles Pic were a few tenths behind their respectable team-mates.

So a fantastic performance by Mercedes. But can the team win from the front? Tyre degradation will play a part in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix and yet if Mercedes can continue their impressive qualifying pace into the race, then we could see a Silver Arrows taking the chequered flag first.

Qualifying positions for the Spanish Grand Prix:

1. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1m20.718s
2. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes              1m20.972s
3. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1m21.054s
4. Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1m21.177s
5. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1m21.218s
6. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1m21.308s
7. Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1m21.570s
8. Sergio Perez          McLaren-Mercedes      1m22.069s
9. Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1m21.219s*
10. Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  1m22.233s
11. Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m22.127s
12. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m22.166s
13. Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes  1m22.346s
14. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1m23.166s
15. Nico Hulkenberg       Sauber-Ferrari        1m22.389s
16. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Renault      1m23.260s
17. Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1m23.318s
18. Giedo van der Garde   Caterham-Renault      1m24.661s
19. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari        1m22.793s*
20. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Cosworth     1m24.713s
21. Max Chilton           Marussia-Cosworth     1m24.996s
22. Charles Pic           Caterham-Renault      1m25.070s

107 per cent time: 1m27.448s

*Three-place grid penalty for impended