Rosberg denies Hamilton Suzuka Pole as red flags fly


Nico Rosberg took his second pole position of 2015 ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton as a heavy accident for Daniil Kvyat brought qualifying for the 2015 Japanese Grand Prix to a premature end.

Max Verstappen set the early pace in Q1 before the two Mercedes led by Hamilton slotted in to the top positions. There was some worries for Rosberg though as he spoke to the team over the radio –  “There’s a problem with the engine when I pull out of the garage.”

The Spoon curve would claim it’s first victim of the day as Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson spun off the circuit in to the gravel traps.

As the drivers put in their laps and the first session came to a close, Verstappen’s car came to a halt at the exit of the hairpin, bringing out the yellow flags and putting an end to hopes of improvement from anyone.

As Hamilton topped the times it was Jenson Button, Ericsson, Felipe Nasr, Will Stevens and Alexander Rossi who faced the chop at the end of Q1.

As Button returned to the pits he was heard on the radio saying “From the position we are in we cannot afford to make any mistakes”, apparently the team had set the wrong engine mapping for the British driver, making it even more of a struggle to get through Q1.

It was Rosberg who set the early pace in Q2 ahead of Hamilton and Felipe Massa where it was pretty much business as normal throughout the field. Fernando Alonso only managed one timed lap which at the time was good enough for eleventh, unfortunately for the Spaniard by the time the session came to a close he was forced down to fourteenth.

Nico Hulkenberg, Carlos Sainz, Pastor Maldonado, Alonso and Verstappen dropped out of Q2.

As qualifying entered its final phase it was looking definite that it would be a Mercedes on pole, but which one would it be?

Rosberg topped the timesheets, 0.076 seconds ahead of Hamilton in the early stages while Valtteri Bottas closed in on third place. Singapore race winner Sebastian Vettel looked like he was getting the most out of his Ferrari as he slotted in to fourth place.

As drivers went out for their final run of the session it was cut short with red flags; a mistake from Kvyat saw the young driver stray on to grass before being pitched in to the barriers and rolling over, thankfully he emerged from the high velocity crash unscathed.

The session however was over and it was Rosberg who would take the honours , denying Hamilton pole position once again in Suzuka. Bottas finished in third place ahead of Vettel, while Massa and Kimi Raikkonen share the third row. Daniel Ricciardo and Romain Grosjean line up on the fourth row with Sergio Perez and Daniil Kvyat rounding out the top 10.