Rosberg beats Hamilton to pole at Suzuka


Nico Rosberg took pole position at the Japanese Grand Prix after beating Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton by just under 0.2s in qualifying at Suzuka. Rosberg was fastest than Hamilton on both of his final two runs in Q3 and found most of his advantage in the middle sector, where Hamilton locked up at the hairpin on his quick lap. The qualifying result could carry more significance than usual if Sunday's race is affected by Typhoon Phanfone and runs for just a handful of laps behind the safety car. Either way, Rosberg holds the advantage heading into Sunday's race as he aims to reclaim the championship lead on Sunday after retiring two weeks ago in Singapore. Valtteri Bottas secured third place on the grid for Williams, but was over 0.6s off Rosberg's best time. He beat team-mate Felipe Massa by 0.4s, with Fernando Alonso not far off in fifth. Daniel Ricciardo will start sixth after Red Bull opted for wet weather set-ups on their cars in anticipation for a downpour on Sunday. Kevin Magnussen will start seventh ahead of McLaren team-mate Jenson Button. Sebastian Vettel took ninth ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, who only completed one run in Q3 and will start 10th. Jean-Eric Vergne just missed out on a place in the top 10 after setting a time 0.2s off Sebastian Vettel, who was 10th at the end of Q2. Vergne will start ahead of Sergio Perez in 12th, team-mate Daniil Kvyat in 13th and Nico Hukenberg in 14th. The Saubers of Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez will line up 15th and 16th respectively. Once again Lotus struggled for pace with both cars dropping out in Q1 ahead of the Caterhams and Marussias, although Pastor Maldonado will start from the very back after exceeding the number of engines allowed in a season this weekend. Marcus Ericsson was the fastest of the bottom four with a time over 0.1s quicker than Marussia's Jules Bianchi. With no set-up time on Friday, Kamui Kobayashi will start from 20th on the grid and was 0.2s off his Caterham team-mate Ericsson. Max Chilton will start from the back row after trailing Kobayashi by 0.4s.