Rosberg secures Spanish Grand Prix pole

Updated: Saturday, 11 May 2013 16:04

Nico Rosberg secured back-to-back pole positions for the first time in his Formula One career as Mercedes locked out the front row ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix.

Mercedes have become this season's one-lap specialists as they have now taken pole at the last three races, although race pace has then left something to be desired.

On this occasion at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya, Rosberg beat team-mate Hamilton by a quarter of a second, with the duo the only two drivers to dip below one minute and 21 seconds for the lap.

The statistics do bode well, though, as 17 of the 22 drivers on pole for this race at this track have gone on to take the chequered flag.

And only once in those 22 races has a driver not won from the front row of the grid, that being Michael Schumcher from third in 1996.

Penalties for Massa and Gutierrez

Felipe Massa and Esteban Gutierrez have both been given three-place grid penalties.

The stewards determined Massa and Gutierrez "unnecessarily impeded" Mark Webber and Kimi Raikkonen respectively during today's qualifying session at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

After qualifying sixth in his Ferrari, Massa will now drop to ninth, elevating Lotus' Romain Grosjean, Webber in his Red Bull and Sergio Perez for McLaren up to sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.

Webber, baulked by Massa around the sweeping right-hand corner between turns 11 and 12, said: "Felipe doesn't do that kind of thing on purpose.

"Maybe the radio wasn't working for him, the communication wasn't good.

"He got caught out, which is a frustrating thing for any of us top guys because we are always generally very good with each other and Felipe normally is."

As for Gutierrez, the young Mexican managed to grab 16th, but will now fall to 19th, allowing the Williams duo of Valtteri Bottas and Pastor Maldonado, along with Caterham's Giedo van der Garde to all move up a place.

For Gutierrez, it is his second penalty in three races as the 21-year-old was handed a five-place drop for the last grand prix in Bahrain after running into the back of Force India's Adrian Sutil in China.