Nico Rosberg has claimed his fifth consecutive pole position in Brazil today, after beating his teammate Lewis Hamilton by seven hundredths of a second in qualifying. The Mercedes duo have locked out the front row ahead of Sebastien Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, who start from the third and fourth position grid slots.
Qualifying hour got underway under clear skies today, with the big story in Q1 being yet another retirement from Fernando Alonso who was told to “stop immediately” in the last five minutes of the session. Whilst the Spaniard made light of the situation by playing up the cameras, even invading the podium with teammate Jenson Button when he got back to the pits, it still doesn’t bode well for the fortunes of that team with two races left of the season.
Also dropping out of the first part of Qualifying was Maldonado, Rossi, and Stevens at the chequered flag. The two Brazilians; Felipe Massa and Felipe Nasr were also under investigation, after the Sauber driver blatantly blocked the Williams on his out lap. We’re expecting a grid penalty for tomorrow imminently.
In the second part of the session it was Nasr, Perez, Ericsson, Sainz, and Grosjean who all dropped out. The second Lotus driver suffered flat spots all around after spinning his Lotus on entry to turn 7, which ruined his chance of setting a lap time good enough for the top ten. Sainz meanwhile just lost out on his final run after the chequered flag, whilst whilst Nasr briefly got into the top ten before being usurped by Max Verstappen in the other Toro Rosso in the closing stages.
On to the top ten shootout, where it was Rosberg ahead of Hamilton in the first run for pole by eight hundredths of a second. On his next run the Mercedes driver improved by two tenths of a second, and whilst Hamilton was slower in the first sector he matched Rosberg in the middle. When he crossed the line however, it was just 0.078 in it between the two.
Behind Vettel and Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Kvyat, Massa, Bottas (with his grid penalty), Ricciardo, and Verstappen rounding out the top ten.