HAMILTON ON POLE: Nico Rosberg (right) will start the 2015 Bahrain GP in third place. Image: AP / Kamran Jebreili
MANAMA, Bahrain - Too much forward thinking back-fired on Nico Rosberg when his Bahrain GP qualifying went "pear-shaped".
Rosberg: "It just went wrong because I was thinking about the race too much."
He qualified third with team mate Lewis Hamilton on pole for the fourth race in a row. Rosberg explained that he had wanted to go easy in the second phase of qualifying on the set of tyres he would be starting the race with.
'I UNDERESTIMATED VETTEL'
Instead of Rosberg alongside on the front row for the Bahrain GP, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel will be lurking threateningly in the second grid position.
Rosberg said: "I underestimated Sebastian's speed and also how much it would cost me.
"I just lacked the rhythm as a result. I didn't get into the rhythm and I just had one shot at it at the end with a new set (of tyres), starting Q3 with a used set. So that's where I went wrong today.
"I'm disappointed, because Sebastian beat me. If I was second it would have been, still, damage limitation, but being third, that's really not ideal."
Rosberg had been on pole in Bahrain for the last two years and arrived in determined mood, eager to reassert himself over a team mate he has beaten just once in their last 10 races and not at all in 2015.
CHINA GP ROW
He had recognised, after accusing Hamilton of compromising his race in China GP by slowing the pace and leaving him vulnerable to the chasing Vettel, that he needed to do better in qualifying.
Rosberg was the qualifying king in 2014 - winning the inaugural pole trophy even if Hamilton ended up with 11 wins to his five.
This season, he has been unable to find the same one-lap pace while Hamilton has nailed it again and again.
Rosberg said: "I didn't expect to go on used (tyres) in the first part of Q3. I thought we'd go to new tyres. And I also didn't expect the used tyre to be so slow, like the used tyre was really, really poor.
"So that meant that I only really had a shot there at the end. And that was poor management. Really, really poor management on my side.
"So it just went a bit pear-shaped."
Starting grid for the 2015 Bahrain GP at the Bahrain International Circuit:
1 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes
2 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari
3 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes
4 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari
5 Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams
6 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams
7 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull
8 Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India
9 Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso
10 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus
11 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India
12 Felipe Nasr (Brazil) Sauber
13 Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber
14 Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren
15 Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Toro Rosso
16 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus
17 Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Red Bull
18 Will Stevens (Britain) Marussia
19 Roberto Merhi (Spain) Marussia
20 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren
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