Nico Rosberg claimed pole position for Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix in a shortened qualifying session caused by a scary high speed crash for Daniil Kvyat.
The Mercedes driver made the most of what was ultimately his only timed lap in Q3 to secure pole with a margin of 0.076s from team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton was left to rue a heavy lock up on his lap at the hairpin which cost him pole position.
The Williams of Valtteri Bottas emerged as the best of the rest in third ahead Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen.
However, the talking point of the session was a huge crash for Red Bull driver Kvyat midway through Q3 which brought out the red flags.
The Russian clipped the grass on the way into the hairpin which sparked a violent crash resulting in a heavy impact with the barriers.
The car dug into the gravel trap pitching it into a roll before coming to a halt.
Kvyat exited the car under his own strength but his car is expected to require a mammoth rebuild for tomorrow’s race.
The sister Red Bull driven by Daniel Ricciardo fared much better with the Australian seventh quickest ahead of the Lotus of Romain Grosjean, Force India’s Sergio Perez and Kvyat.
Nico Hulkenberg ended qualifying in 11th position but a three place grid penalty issued for his clash with Massa at Singapore will see him start from 14th on the grid.
As a result of the penalty, Carlos Sainz was 11th fastest ahead of the Lotus of Pastor Maldonado and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso.
Max Verstappen will begin Sunday’s race from 15th despite posting a time good enough to progress to Q2.
The Dutch teenager suffered an electrical fault which saw his Toro Rosso come to a halt on the exit of the hairpin, while he was placed eighth in Q1.
The stranded Toro Rosso robbed several drivers the chance to improve one of which was Jenson Button.
The McLaren driver thought he had enough pace to get through to Q2 but in the end he had to settle for 16th.
He was joined by the Sauber pair of Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr, who were ahead of the Manor duo of Will Stevens and Alexander Rossi.
Result: Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix Qualifying
|2||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1:32.660s||+0.076s Q3|
|3||Valtteri Bottas||Williams/Mercedes||1:33.024s||+0.440s Q3|
|4||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||1:33.245s||+0.661s Q3|
|5||Felipe Massa||Williams/Mercedes||1:33.337s||+0.753s Q3|
|6||Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||1:33.347s||+0.763s Q3|
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1:33.497s||+0.913s Q3|
|8||Romain Grosjean||Lotus/Mercedes||1:33.967s||+1.383s Q3|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||No time set||Q3|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||No time set||Q3|
|11||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1:34.453s||+1.869s Q2|
|12||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus/Mercedes||1:34.497s||+1.913s Q2|
|13||Fernando Alonso||McLaren/Honda||1:34.785s||+2.201s Q2|
|14||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m34.390s||+1.806s Q2 (penalty)|
|15||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||No time set||Q2|
|16||Jenson Button||McLaren/Honda||1:35.664s||+3.080s Q1|
|17||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||1:35.673s||+3.089s Q1|
|18||Felipe Nasr||Sauber/Ferrari||1:35.760s||+3.176s Q1|
|19||Will Stevens||Marussia/Ferrari||1:38.783s||+6.199s Q1|
|20||Alexander Rossi||Marussia/Ferrari||1m47.114s||+14.530s Q1|