Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg took pole position at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday, finishing ahead of Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull and Fernando Alonso of Ferrari for the event held amid anti-government protests in the divided nation.
Organizers of Bahrain's Grand Prix said Thursday that sporadic protests against the race and violent unrest across the Gulf nation do not pose a threat to the premier international event in the kingdom.
Formula One returns this week to Bahrain, casting the spotlight on an event that has defied criticism while a bloody political crisis has engulfed one of the West's most important allies in the region.
Two-time world champion Sebastian Vettel claimed pole position for the first time this season on Saturday at the Bahrain Grand Prix, where security remains tight amid expectations of anti-government protests.
The discovery of a protester's body near the scene of clashes on Saturday threatened to tip Bahrain deeper into unrest as a 14-month-old uprising overshadows the return of the Formula One Grand Prix to the strategic Gulf kingdom.