Japanese GP: Rosberg on pole as Kvyat escapes huge crash

Nico Rosberg will start the Japanese Grand Prix from pole position after beating Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to the top spot in qualifying.

Rosberg's lap of 1:32.584 was enough to beat Hamilton by 0.076 seconds, the German securing his second pole position of the year as Mercedes returned to the top following its Singapore GP slump.

Hamilton did not have a chance to try to beat Rosberg as the session came to an early finish following a huge crash by Daniil Kvyat.

Kvyat went off the track when approaching the hairpin, having a massive impact against the wall. His car rolled, but the Russian emerged unscathed.

The accident ruined several drivers' final runs.

Valtteri Bottas qualified third for Williams, ahead of Singapore GP winner Sebastian Vettel, fourth in the Ferrari.

Bottas's teammate Felipe Massa was fifth from Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull.

Romain Grosjean put the quickest Lotus in eighth position, ahead of Force India's Sergio Perez and Kvyat, neither setting a time in Q3.

Nico Hulkenberg qualified just outside of the top 10, but the Force India driver will get a three-place grid penalty for his incident with Massa in Singapore.

Carlos Sainz was 12th in qualifying, complaining about vibrations during his final run in Q2. He missed the cut by less than two tenths of a second, leaving Q3 without any Toro Rossos.

Pastor Maldonado qualified in 13th in the second Lotus, ahead of the McLaren of Fernando Alonso, whose team had little to celebrate ahead of Honda's home race.

"It was my best ever lap at Suzuka," said a disappointed Alonso.

Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen will start from 15th position after he was unable to take part in Q2 as a result of a spin at the end of Q1.

Verstappen's car ended up parked across the track on the exit of the hairpin, ruining the laps of several drivers at the end of the first segment.

The Dutchman, visibly angry when returning to the pits, said he had suffered a loss of power and that his engine had shut down.

Jenson Button was knocked out in Q1 once more - and for the 10th time this season - after failing to improve his laptime on his final lap, when he found yellow flags at Sector 2 due to Verstappen's spin.

Button also complained that he had not been told which engine mode to use during his runs, something which compromised his pace.

Sauber's Marcus Ericsson survived an off during the first qualifying segment, when he lost his car at Spoon but managed to rejoin the circuit despite engine up on the gravel, but also failed to reach Q2.

Both the Swiss cars were knocked out, as teammate Felipe Nasr also failed to complete his final flyer due to the yellow flags on track. The Brazilian will start from 18th position.

Will Stevens qualified in 19th place, over three seconds behind Nasr, while teammate Alexander Rossi failed to even set a time and will need special dispensation to take part in the race.

PosDriverTeamQ1Q2Q3
1 Nico Rosberg  Mercedes 1:33.015 1:32.632 1:32.584
2 Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes 1:32.844 1:32.789 1:32.660
3 Valtteri Bottas  Williams 1:34.326 1:33.416 1:33.024
4 Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari 1:34.431 1:33.844 1:33.245
5 Felipe Massa  Williams 1:34.744 1:33.377 1:33.337
6 Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari 1:34.171 1:33.361 1:33.347
7 Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull Racing 1:34.399 1:34.153 1:33.497
8 Romain Grosjean  Team Lotus 1:34.398 1:34.278 1:33.967
9 Sergio Perez  Force India 1:35.001 1:34.174  
10 Daniil Kvyat  Red Bull Racing 1:34.646 1:34.201  
11 Nico Hulkenberg  Force India 1:35.328 1:34.390  
12 Carlos Sainz Jr.  Toro Rosso 1:34.873 1:34.453  
13 Pastor Maldonado  Team Lotus 1:34.796 1:34.497  
14 Fernando Alonso  McLaren 1:35.467 1:34.785  
15 Max Verstappen  Toro Rosso 1:34.522    
16 Jenson Button  McLaren 1:35.664    
17 Marcus Ericsson  Sauber 1:35.673    
18 Felipe Nasr  Sauber 1:35.760    
19 Will Stevens  Manor 1:38.783    
20 Alexander Rossi  Manor 1:47.114    

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Japanese GP
Sub-event Saturday qualifying
Track Suzuka
Article type Qualifying report