Nico Rosberg will start the Brazilian Grand Prix on pole ahead of his team-mate Lewis Hamilton, after narrowly out-qualifying the Briton by 0.078 seconds. The Mercedes pair were again in a class of their own as Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel qualified third, half a second behind Rosberg’s benchmark.

Hamilton topped the final practice session earlier today, as well as both Q1 and Q2 sessions during qualifying, however, it was Rosberg who was strongest in the first two sectors which earned him pole.

Williams’ Valtteri Bottas out-qualified his team-mate Felipe Massa, ending the session three-tenths of a second behind Vettel. Although the Finn will drop three places before the start of tomorrow’s race after he passed Felipe Nasr in FP2 under red flag conditions.

Nico Hulkenberg qualified sixth, a tenth of a second behind Kimi Raikkonen and quite a few positions ahead of his team-mate Sergio Perez, who failed to make Q3 and was only able to manage 13th position.

Red Bull Racing’s Daniil Kvyat was seventh ahead of Massa and Daniel Ricciardo, who will receive a 10-place grid penalty for an engine change. Ricciardo’s new engine obviously still lacking the power Red Bull are looking for after failing to beat Kvyat with an older spec engine.

Felipe Nasr was just pipped to the top ten shootout after Max Verstappen registered a late lap which elevated him into eighth position at the conclusion of Q2. Nasr will have to face the Stewards after he impeded Massa’s flying lap in Q1.

Lotus had a qualifying to forget with Pastor Maldonado failing to escape Q1 and qualifying 16th for the third year running, while a string of mistakes saw Romain Grosjean miss out on Q3. The Frenchman radioed back to the garage apologising for a mistake on his first timed run in Q2, then lost control of the car on his second timed lap and spun at Turn Seven. Grosjean attempted a final lap to make it into the final qualifying session but his tyres were damaged from the spin.

Both McLaren drivers were again early departures from qualifying; Fernando Alonso didn’t even make it 10 minutes before he was told to stop the car after a loss of power.

Alonso, all too accustomed to the shortcomings of Honda’s power units, pulled up a deck chair on the side of the track and watched the remainder of Q1 whilst visibly enjoying the sun’s rays.

Alexander Rossi out-qualified Will Stevens in the other Manor Marussia, and sealed the mini qualifying battle between the pair 3-2.

Sunday’s 71-lap Brazilian Grand Prix gets underway at 14:00 local time. (GMT -2).

Formula 1 Grande Prêmio Petrobras do Brasil 2015 – Qualifying Results
Pos Q3 Qualifiers Team / Entry Time Gap Laps
1. Nico Rosberg de Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid 1:11.282 12
2. Lewis Hamilton uk Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid 1:11.360 + 0.078 12
3. Sebastian Vettel de Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T 1:11.804 + 0.522 16
4. Valtteri Bottas^ fi Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37 1:12.085 + 0.803 18
5. Kimi Räikkönen fi Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T 1:12.144 + 0.862 16
6. Nico Hülkenberg de Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08B 1:12.265 + 0.983 18
7. Daniil Kvyat ru Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11 1:12.322 + 1.040 20
8. Felipe Massa br Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37 1:12.415 + 1.133 21
9. Daniel Ricciardo^ au Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11 1:12.417 + 1.135 17
10. Max Verstappen nl Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10 1:12.739 + 1.457 15
Pos Q2 Qualifiers Team / Entry Time Gap* Laps
11. Felipe Nasr br Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34 1:12.989 + 1.324 14
12. Carlos Sainz Jr. es Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10 1:13.045 + 1.380 15
13. Sergio Pérez mx Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08B 1:13.147 + 1.482 13
14. Marcus Ericsson se Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34 1:13.233 + 1.568 14
15. Romain Grosjean fr Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid 1:13.913 + 2.248 11
Pos Q1 Qualifiers Team / Entry Time Gap** Laps
16. Pastor Maldonado ve Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid 1:13.385 + 1.703 5
17. Jenson Button uk McLaren Honda MP4-30 1:13.425 + 1.743 6
18. Alexander Rossi us Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03B 1:16.151 + 4.469 6
19. Will Stevens uk Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03B 1:16.283 + 4.601 6
Outside 107% Team / Entry Time Gap** Laps
NQ. Fernando Alonso es McLaren Honda MP4-30 no time 2

* Denotes gap to fastest Q2 time of 1:11.665 posted by Lewis Hamilton
** Denotes gap to fastest Q1 time of 1:11.682 posted by Lewis Hamilton

^ Post-qualifying penalties:

  • Valtteri Bottas – who originally qualified 4th-fastest – will drop 3 grid places for overtaking during red-flag conditions in Free Practice 2.
  • Daniel Ricciardo – who originally qualified 9th-fastest – will drop 10 grid places for the use of new power unit elements.

Image via Mercedes AMG F1 Petronas

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Josh Kruse

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