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Nico on pole after Kvyat crash

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 26-09-2015 skysports.com

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Nico Rosberg will start from pole position at the Japanese Grand Prix after qualifying was brought to an early end by a huge crash for Daniil Kvyat. 

Looking ragged all weekend, the Red Bull driver got on the grass on the run to the hairpin at Suzuka and was fired into the barriers. A violent crash ensued and the car flipped over before coming to a rest. Fortunately the Russian reported he was "okay" over the team radio.

For Rosberg, it was his first pole-position since the Spanish Grand Prix in May and only the second time he has out-qualified Lewis Hamilton all season.

"First of all, very happy. It's a great day today. Also a great comeback by the team after our performance in Singapore. I pretty much nailed my laps today, so pretty happy with the way it went, and great position to start tomorrow," says Rosberg who makes it back-to-back poles at Suzuka.

The world champion will be left ruing a scruffy opening attempt in Q3 which saw him battle understeer, costing valuable tenths of a second as he locked-up and slid wide at the hairpin.

"On the first lap I lost a bit of time into Turn 11 and into the last corner," Hamilton said. "Nico is driving well this weekend, but I felt pretty good on the last lap. The lap started off so well, I was a tenth and a half up by Turn Seven and then the red flag came out out and I was like 'no!'."

Valtteri Bottas will start third for Williams as the Grove team returned to form. Singapore victor Sebastian Vettel split the two white cars to complete the second row after edging out Felipe Massa by less than a tenth of a second. The second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen joins the Brazilian on the third row.

Daniel Ricciardo starts seventh, with Romain Grosjean eighth for Lotus. The Frenchman once again a long way ahead of team-mate Pastor Maldonado who was only 13th.

Sergio Perez and Kvyat completed the top ten, with neither posting a time in Q3 due to the session being red-flagged following the latter's crash.

"It was a mistake.I put two wheels on the grass and there's no run-off area, so it was a quite large accident I think," Kvyat told Sky Sports F1.

The Russian could be forced to start from the pit-lane on Sunday due to the amount of damage caused to his car. 

In what is becoming a habit, Nico Hulkenberg missed out on Q3 with the 11th quickest time - the fourth time in five races he has occupied that position. However, the German will be demoted three-places due to a penalty he picked up for contact with Massa in Singapore.

Once again there were struggles for both McLaren drivers. Fernando Alonso was the slowest of the 14 runners in Q2 and declared "I cannot do much more than this," on the radio after the session.

At least he made it that far, as Jenson Button exited in Q1. "The position we are in, we cannot make any mistakes," Button chastised the team after the session. His issue was on the opening run he hadn't been instructed on what engine mode to use and ran out of battery power.

"On my first run I wasn't told what engine mode to be in - every time before our timed lap we're told before we start - and I wasn't told. So I went to the wrong setting and it emptied the pack after half a lap," he told Sky Sports F1.

The Briton was then forced to abandon his final flying lap after Max Verstappen stopped on the exit of the hairpin and caused a yellow flag.

An unhappy Dutchman told Sky Sports F1 that his car just lost all power at the corner and complained it was the fourth or fifth time it had happened this season.

Button wasn't the only driver affected by Verstappen's stoppage. "I was on a good lap!" blasted Felipe Nasr over the radio as he dropped out in Q1. Not only did the Brazilian miss out on the chance to progress, but it also meant he qualified behind team-mate Marcus Ericsson, despite the Swede having an early off into the gravel at Spoon.

At the back of the grid Will Stevens out-qualified Alexander Rossi once again, with the American outside of the 107% rule. He will have to ask the stewards for permission to start Sunday's race.

Q3

1. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:32.584

2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:32.660

3. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1:33.024

4. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:33.245

5. Felipe Massa, Williams, 1:33.337

6. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:33.347

7. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1:33.497

8. Romain Grosjean, Lotus, 1:33.967

9. Sergio Perez, Force India, No time

10. Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull, No time.

Q2

11. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 1:34.390

12. Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, 1:34.453

13. Pastor Maldonado, Lotus, 1:34.497

14. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:34.785

15. Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, No time.

Q1

16. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:35.664

17. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:35.673

18. Felipe Nasr, Sauber, 1:35.760

19. Will Stevens, Manor, 1:38.783

Outside 107%

Alexander Rossi, Manor, 1:47.114

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