Sebastian Vettel & Fernando Alonso feel they're well placed on grid for Bahrain GP
Despite missing out on pole, title rivals pleased with starting berths
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 20/04/13 4:20pm
Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso have warned that while Nico Rosberg may have been 'unbeatable' in the battle for pole in Bahrain they are both well placed to ensure the battle for race victory proves a very different story.
As the Formula 1 paddock reacted to the surprise of Rosberg charging through to claim a dominant pole at Sakhir, thoughts simultaneously turned to how the Mercedes man might fare in the race with the W04 yet to prove it can match its single-lap prowess over a full grand prix distance.
Those uncertainties are heightened by the fact that the sweltering nature of Sunday's 57-lap race around the stop-start track is likely to put Mercedes' long-time Achilles heel firmly to the test - rear-tyre wear.
Red Bull and Ferrari, who displayed similarly-matched race pace during Friday's race simulations, are stronger in this area and both Vettel and Alonso, who will start from menacing second and third places respectively, certainly didn't appear too downbeat about missing out on pole.
"Definitely not disappointed," Vettel insisted.
"Congratulations to Nico, he put a very, very strong lap in. It was all his today. Initially when I crossed the line I saw that I didn't go first, I saw second place on one of the screens, and I didn't know how much I was missing. The lap was fine, you always find a little bit here and there, but when I got told the gap to P1 to Nico it was clear even with a perfect lap he was unbeatable today.
"But nevertheless, very happy. I think we managed to save some tyres throughout qualifying, it will be all about tyres and tyre degradation tomorrow, so we will see what happens. But for sure it's good to start from the front."
Three-times Bahrain victor Fernando Alonso heads into Sunday's race aiming for his first back-to-back victories since 2010 and will start from the same third place that proved his springboard to victory in Shanghai last weekend.
The Spaniard also appeared content with his starting position as he goes in search of yet another podium finish as a minimum target.
"Very, very happy with third place," Alonso declared. "Normally in qualifying we are struggling a lot and today the car was very competitive in qualifying so I think this puts us in a very strong position to start tomorrow's race with the group of the leaders and fight for the podium with a little bit more margin."
Fernando later added on Twitter: "Very good lap today in q3. Very happy. Rosberg too fast today. Now we will prepare the race. With the heat will be tough."