Nico Rosberg beat team mate Lewis Hamilton to pole position in the Japanese GP. After setting the pace all weekend, Rosberg led every session and snatched pole from Hamilton on his final run by just 0.013s.

Rosberg was on form all weekend until he lost provisional pole to Hamilton after the first runs. He came through on his second run and was able to post a lap of 1:30.647 which was 0.013s faster than Hamilton’s, or as Mercedes calculated, 82 cm of the Suzuka race track, giving him his eighth pole position of 2016.

Ferrari emerged as best of the rest following a nip-and-tuck battle with Red Bull to take 3rd for Kimi Raikkonen and 4th for Sebastian Vettel, although the German will be starting 7th on Sunday after he was hit with a 3-place grid drop for the first corner incident at the Malaysia GP.

Max Verstappen took 5th fastest ahead of team mate Daniel Ricciardo in 6th and Force India’s Sergio Perez in 7th. All three will be promoted one place on the grid as Vettel takes his penalty.

Despite problems all weekend, Haas managed to get both cars into Q3 for the first time in their history with Romain Grosjean qualifying 8th and Esteban Gutierrezz 10th, split by the other Force India of Nico Hulkenberg.

Williams endured a disappointing qualifying as both cars qualified behind Force India with Valtteri Bottas 11th and Felipe Massa 12th. Behind them, Toro Rosso couldn’t make it out of Q2 with Daniil Kvyat in 13th following a bad first sector and Carlos Sainz 14th after spinning in Spoon curve on his final attempt.

McLaren disappointed on Honda’s home Grand Prix as Fernando Alonso qualified 15th despite running the latest engine upgrade while Jenson Button couldn’t make it out of Q1 to settle for 17th.

Jolyon Palmer’s effort was hindered by Sainz’s late spin on his way to 16th for Renault while Kevin Magnussen was the other surprise exit in Q1, the Dane qualified 18th followed by the Sauber’s of Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr in 19th and 20th respectively.

The Manors brought up the rear as Pascal Wehrlein out-qualified Esteban Ocon by just two hundredths of a second. The German’s grid penalty, however, for changing his gearbox will put him last on the grid.

The race starts Sunday at 14:00 local time (GMT +9)

Q3 Qualifiers Team / Entry Result Gap
1. Nico Rosberg de Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W07 Hybrid 1:30.647
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W07 Hybrid 1:30.660 + 0.013
3. Kimi Räikkönen fi Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H 1:30.949 + 0.302
4. Sebastian Vettel^ de Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H 1:31.028 + 0.381
5. Max Verstappen nl Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer RB12 1:31.178 + 0.531
6. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer RB12 1:31.240 + 0.593
7. Sergio Pérez Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM09 1:31.961 + 1.314
8. Romain Grosjean fr Haas F1 Ferrari VF-16 1:31.961 + 1.314
9. Nico Hülkenberg de Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM09 1:32.142 + 1.495
10. Esteban Gutiérrez Haas F1 Ferrari VF-16 1:32.547 + 1.900
Q2 Qualifiers Team / Entry Result Gap**
11. Valtteri Bottas fi Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW38 1:32.315 + 1.601
12. Felipe Massa br Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW38 1:32.380 + 1.666
13. Daniil Kvyat ru Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR11 1:32.623 + 1.909
14. Carlos Sainz Jr es Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR11 1:32.685 + 1.971
15. Fernando Alonso es McLaren-Honda MP4-31 1:32.689 + 1.975
16. Jolyon Palmer Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 1:32.807 + 2.093
Q1 Qualifiers Team / Entry Result Gap*
17. Jenson Button McLaren-Honda MP4-31 1:32.851 + 1.192
18. Kevin Magnussen dk Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 1:33.023 + 1.364
19. Marcus Ericsson Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C35 1:33.222 + 1.563
20. Felipe Nasr br Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C35 1:33.332 + 1.673
21. Esteban Ocon fr Manor Racing Mercedes MRT5 1:33.353 + 1.694
22. Pascal Wehrlein^ de Manor Racing Mercedes MRT5 1:33.561 + 1.902

* Denotes gap to fastest Q1 time of 1:31.659 posted by Sebastian Vettel

** Denotes gap to fastest Q2 time of 1.30.714 posted by Nico Rosberg

^Post-Qualifying Penalties:

  • Sebastian Vettel – who provisionally qualified xx-fastest – will drop 3 grid places for causing an avoidable collision at the preceding Malaysian Grand Prix
  • Pascal Wehrlein – who provisionally qualified 22nd-fastest – will drop 5 grid places for an unscheduled gearbox change.

Image via Twitter – Sky Sports F1

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Ahmad Shallouf

Contributing Writer at MotorsportM8