Lewis Hamilton lost pole position at the Bahrain GP to Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, in the floodlit qualifying session in the Sakhir circuit on Saturday.
Despite being the fastest in all three practice sessions, Hamilton lost pace in the second run of Q3 and said he did not feel comfortable with his car in the qualifying, like he did in practice. Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo came third.
In Q1, Force India's Nico Hulkenberg took the lead with 1m 34.874s, followed by the Williams of Valtteri Bottas on 1m 34.934s and the other Force India of Sergio Perez on 1m 34.998s.
However, there were not many surprises in Q2 as teams decided on soft tyres and Mercedes returned to the lead. Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen made a late comeback with 1m 34.925s to finish 10th, that in turn pushed world champion Sebastian Vettel to 11. Red Bull's defending champion had a tough time in qualifying after being spun off in the third practice session as he did not get a run on the soft tyres. Hulkenberg finished on 1m 35.116s but was out-qualified by teammate Perez.
Hence, Q3 was a battle between Mercedes duo Rosberg and Hamilton, Red Bull's Ricciardo, Force India's Perez, the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Raikkonen, the McLarens of Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen, and the Williams cars of Bottas and Felipe Massa.
Rosberg finished 1m 33.18s while Hamilton finished 1m 33.464s to book the front row comfortably for Mercedes. Ricciardo came the closest to challenging them as the Australian came third with 1m 34.051s. However, the 24-year-old will drop 10 places, courtesy of a penalty for unsafe release during last week's Malaysian Grand Prix.
Williams stands fourth with Bottas' 1m 34.247s and Force India came fifth with Perez's 1m 34.346s. Raikkonen put Ferrari on fifth 1m 34.368s.
The grid at the end of the day reads thus:
Rosberg, Hamilton; Bottas, Perez; Raikkonen, Button; Massa, Magnussen; Alonso, Vettel; Hulkenberg, Kvyat; Ricciardo, Vergne; Gutierrez, Grosjean; Maldonado, Sutil; Kobayashi, Bianchi; Ericsson, Chilton.