Nico Rosberg beats Lewis Hamilton to pole in Japan

Qualifying ended early after Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat walks away unhurt from serious crash

Nico Rosberg beat Lewis Hamilton to pole position in qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix. Photograph: Reuters

Nico Rosberg beat Lewis Hamilton to pole position in qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix. Photograph: Reuters

 

Nico Rosberg beat Lewis Hamilton to pole for Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix as Mercedes returned to form in qualifying. Hamilton was denied the chance to make a final attempt on his team-mate’s time after a bad crash near the chicane involving Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat, which brought an early end to Q3. Kvyat was unhurt.

Rosberg, who is 41 points behind Hamilton with six races remaining, said: “I’m very happy. It was a great day and a good comeback for the team after a difficult weekend in Singapore. It’s a great car. We’ve turned things round. I nailed my laps today. I’m pleased with the way it went and I’m in a great position for tomorrow.”

Sunday’s pole will be Rosberg’s first since the Spanish Grand Prix four months ago. He won pole here last year before being beaten by Hamilton in a wet race. He added: “Hopefully it will be a dry race tomorrow. That will help. I didn’t struggle in the rain last year but I struggled on the inter tyre. I was really comfortable with the way the car handled today. Suzuka is the ultimate track and to have a good car here is awesome.”

Hamilton has won 11 out of 14 poles this season but missed out on the last two. He said: “The first lap I lost a bit of time in turn 11 and in the last corner. Nico is driving well this weekend. I felt pretty good on that last lap but the main thing is that Kvyat is OK.”

Valtteri Bottas qualified third, just under four tenths of a second behind Hamilton, with Sebastian Vettel – winner of the last race in Singapore – fourth. For the second race weekend in a row McLaren’s Jenson Button failed to make it to Q2. His team-mate Fernando Alonso did but then failed to get through to the top-10 shootout.

A disappointed Button, who is expected to retire from F1 at the end of the season, said: “They didn’t tell me what setting to be in at the start of the lap. In the last half of the lap I didn’t have any deployment. We can’t make mistakes like this.”

Final positions after qualifying:

1 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes GP 1min 32.584sec 2 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes GP 1:32.660 3 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Williams 1:33.024 4 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1:33.245 5 Felipe Massa (Bra) Williams 1:33.337 6 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:33.347 7 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 1:33.497 8 Romain Grosjean( Fra) Lotus F1 Team 1:33.967 9 Sergio Pérez (Mex) Force India 1:34.174 10 Daniil Kvyat (Rus) Red Bull 1:34.201 11 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Force India 1:34.390 12 Carlos Sainz (Spa) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:34.453, 13 Pastor Maldonado (Ven) Lotus F1 Team 1:34.497 14 Fernando Alonso (Spa) McLaren 1:34.785 15 Max Verstappen (Ned) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:34.522, 16 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren 1:35.664 17 Marcus Ericsson (Swe) Sauber-Ferrari 1:35.673 18 Felipe Nasr (Bra) Sauber-Ferrari 1:35.760 19 Will Stevens (GBR) Manor Marussia F1 1:38.783 20 Alexander Rossi (US) Manor Marussia F1 1:47.114

Rossi did not set a Q1 time that was within 107% of the fastest time of that session, Hamilton’s 1:32.844, so will need permission from the stewards to start the race. Also Hulkenberg has a three-place grid penalty for causing a collision at the Singapore Grand Prix so will start 14th.

(Guardian service)

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.