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Rosberg pips Hamilton to pole position at Japanese Grand Prix

For the third year in a row, the Mercedes driver has secured top spot ahead of his team-mate at Suzuka.

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg during qualifying Suzuka.
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg during qualifying Suzuka.

CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER NICO Rosberg edged out Mercedes team-mate and title rival Lewis Hamilton by 0.013 seconds to claim pole for Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Rosberg was quicker than Hamilton throughout Saturday’s first two qualifying sessions, but saw the British driver initially post the quickest time in Q3.

However, Rosberg, who leads the drivers’ standings by 23 points following Hamilton’s dramatic retirement in Malaysia last time out, just about held the edge when the duo completed their final laps.

A time of one minute and 30.647 seconds was enough for the German to take pole at Suzuka for the third year in succession. In 2014 and 2015, it was Hamilton who went on to win the race.

This time around, Rosberg will hope to maintain the momentum that has seen him follow up success at Sepang by posting the quickest times in every track session this weekend so far.

The two Mercedes were followed by the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen (+0.302secs) and Sebastian Vettel (+0.381s), while Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were fifth and sixth respectively.

The top 10 was rounded out by the drivers of Force India and Haas, although it’s look will change on Sunday as Vettel takes a three-place grid penalty following his collision with Rosberg in Malaysia.

Provisional Classification:

1. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes): 1:30.647secs
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes): 1:30.660s
3. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari): 1:30.949s
4. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari): 1:31.028s
5. Max Verstappen (Red Bull): 1:31.178s
6. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull): 1:31.240s
7. Sergio Perez (Force India): 1:31.961s
8. Romain Grosjean (Haas): 1:31.961s
9. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India): 1:32.642s
10. Esteban Gutierrez (Haas): 1.32.547s

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