Rosberg beats Hamilton to Brazilian GP pole

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Brazil, Autódromo José Carlos Pace, Interlagosbr

Nico Rosberg emerged ahead in a close qualifying battle with Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton. Sebastian Vettel qualified for third on the grid but was no match for either Mercedes driver.

After nearly 5 minutes of a clock ticking away without a car on track, Nico Hulkenberg was the first man to venture out on track. He did go out on medium tyres, just like most that immediately followed him out.

Contrary to Ferrari, Force India, Red Bull and Williams, Mercedes and the others didn't bother venturing out on the harder tyre. Because of using the faster tyre, both Mercedes immediately appeared up front the timing sheets as soon as they completed a flying lap, with Hamilton a marginal 0.064s faster than his team mate.

Just after the Mercedes set their times, about halfway into the session, Fernando Alonso parked his McLaren Honda MP4-30 on the grass with another technical issue. The "no power" message was clear enough for the team, and his stoppage close to a marshall post allowed the session to continue under yellow until the car was cleared in less than 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, Alonso positioned himself in a deck chair to watch the remainder of the session from the sidelines.

With yellows cleared, all remaining 19 runners continued with the usual business. At the end of Q1, without any further incidents, Maldonado got eliminated by being 16th fastest, ahead only of Button, Rossi and Stevens. Alonso didn't set a time, but didn't appear to bother a lot as he was seen sunbathing as the session drew to a close.

Q2 was a straightforward affair, with Mercedes simply setting the fastest times without the slightest problem. Felipe Nasr eventually got eliminated in 11th, followed by Sainz, Perez, Ericsson and Grosjean. The latter spun off on his flying lap, badly flat spotting his tyres are ruining has chances for a place in Q3.

It was McLaren's driver who stole the show, with Button and Alonso deciding to wave the crowd from the podium. The duo passed it along the way to the interview area, with Alonso later stating "We passed that close to the podium, Jenson and me, and said we will not be that close again so let’s take a picture."

In Q3, Mercedes were out quickly and set the first flying laps, with Rosberg just 0.088s seconds quicker than Hamilton on the first outing. Sebastian Vettel went thirdquickest, 6 tenths down on Rosberg's best.

On the second outing, Rosberg was once again first out, improving on his previous time in every sector, securing pole position for the Brazilian Grand Prix. Hamilton got close nonetheless thanks to a lightning final sector, but he lost too much in the first two sectors to take pole.

Results

Pos.No.DriverTeamQ1Q2Q3Laps
16Nico RosbergMercedes AMG1:11.7461:12.2131:11.28212
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:11.6821:11.6651:11.36012
35Sebastian VettelFerrari1:12.2401:11.9281:11.80416
477Valtteri BottasWilliams1:12.9341:12.3741:12.08518
57Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:12.1851:12.2431:12.14416
627Nico HulkenbergForce India1:12.5951:12.4851:12.26518
726Daniil KvyatRed Bull Racing1:12.7301:12.5271:12.32220
819Felipe MassaWilliams1:12.9801:12.8581:12.41521
93Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing1:12.6391:12.8251:12.41717
1033Max VerstappenToro Rosso1:12.8241:12.7121:12.73915
1112Felipe NasrSauber1:13.1111:12.989-14
1255Carlos SainzToro Rosso1:13.2671:13.045-15
1311Sergio PerezForce India1:13.1401:13.147-13
149Marcus EricssonSauber1:13.3461:13.233-14
158Romain GrosjeanLotus F11:13.0561:13.913-11
1613Pastor MaldonadoLotus F11:13.385--5
1722Jenson ButtonMclaren1:13.425--6
1853Alexander RossiMarussia1:16.151--6
1928Will StevensMarussia1:16.283--6
2014Fernando AlonsoMclaren---2

Note - Ricciardo Penalised 10 Grid Places For An Unscheduled Engine Change. Bottas Penalised 3 Places For Overtaking Under Red Flags In Fp2.