- Brazilian GP - Qualifying
Rosberg edges Hamilton in head-to-head battle for pole
Nico Rosberg beat Lewis Hamilton to pole position by just 0.033s at the Brazilian Grand Prix as he attempts to narrow the gap to his Mercedes team-mate in the championship this weekend.
After being fastest in every session this weekend, Rosberg had to improve again on his final lap as Hamilton put the pressure on with his final attempt. With a time of 1:10.023, Rosberg took his tenth pole position of the season, although it should be noted that he has only converted two of those into victories. Hamilton just needs to finish second at the final two races to secure the title, but is still unlikely to let Rosberg run away with it on Sunday with double points threatening to turn the title race on its head in Abu Dhabi if he suffers any issues.
Williams were in the hunt throughout the qualifying session and Felipe Massa finished the session 0.224s off pole position. Both Massa and team-mate Valtteri Bottas failed to complete their final laps however, with Massa blaming traffic on his last run. He will start third at his home race ahead of team-mate Bottas, as Williams looks as competitive as it has since Massa took pole in Austria.
Jenson Button secured fifth place for McLaren ahead of Sebastian Vettel and team-mate Kevin Magnussen. Fernando Alonso will start eighth ahead of a disappointing ninth-place grid slot for Daniel Ricciardo, who was aiming for the second row after Friday practice. Kimi Raikkonen rounded off the top ten with a lap over a tenth off his Ferrari team-mate Alonso.
Esteban Gutierrez secured his best qualifying result of the season in 11th ahead of the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg and his Sauber team-mate Adrian Sutil. Daniil Kvyat made Q2 but with a six-place penalty still hanging over from his engine change in Austin, the Toro Rosso driver will start from the back row of the grid.
Romain Grosjean missed out on a place in Q2 by less than a tenth of a second but beat Jean-Eric Vergne to 15th, which will become 14th, by just 0.003s. Sergio Perez, who completed just one practice session after Dani Juncadella crashed his car on Friday, was another 0.036s off Vergne as the fight for a place in Q2 proved incredibly tight. However, Perez will drop to the back of the grid once his seven-place grid penalty for his first lap accident in Austin is applied, which, combined with Kvyat's penalty, promotes Pastor Maldonado to 16th.