Nico Rosberg’s run of P1s continued in qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix where he took pole position by 0.013s ahead of Lewis Hamilton.
Despite the dark clouds overhead, qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix took place on a dry Suzuka circuit.
As with the earlier practice sessions it was Rosberg who emerged as the frontrunner with the German quickest in Q1 and again in Q2.
However, it was Hamilton who drew first blood in the pole position shoot-out as he crossed the line with a 1:30.758.
That put him 0.195s up on Rosberg while Kimi Raikkonen slotted into third place.
Max Verstappen, who was P5, reported that he had “lost gear synch” and returned to the pits.
A second run on fresh soft tyres saw Rosberg leave the pits ahead of Hamilton, who had to back off on his out-lap to make space behind Raikkonen.
Rosberg hit back at his team-mate’s provisional P1 with a 1:30.647 while Hamilton, despite being purple in the first sector, fell 0.013s short.
It was Rosberg’s 30th career pole.
Raikkonen was third, 0.302s down, while Sebastian Vettel qualified in fourth place. Vettel faces a three-place grid penalty for crashing into Rosberg at the previous race at Sepang.
The Red Bulls were next in line with Verstappen ahead of Daniel Ricciardo.
Haas qualified both cars inside the top ten with Romain Grosjean P8 while Esteban Gutierrez was tenth on the day.
They were joined inside the top ten by the Force Indias with Sergio Perez seventh to Nico Hulkenberg’s P9.
It was not a great afternoon for Honda at their home grand prix.
Jenson Button dropped out in Q1, finishing P17, while Fernando Alonso just scraped through.
However, in Q2 the best he could manage was a 1:32.689 which put him P15.
1 Rosberg Mercedes 1:30.647
2 Hamilton Mercedes 1:30.660
3 Raikkonen Ferrari 1:30.949
4 Vettel Ferrari 1:31.028
5 Verstappen Red Bull 1:31.178
6 Ricciardo Red Bull 1:31.240
7 Perez Force India 1:31.961
8 Grosjean Haas 1:31.961
9 Hulkenberg Force India 1:32.142
10 Gutierrez Haas 1:32.547
11 Bottas Williams 1:32.315
12 Massa Williams 1:32.380
13 Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:32.623
14 Sainz Toro Rosso 1:32.685
15 Alonso McLaren 1:32.689
16 Palmer Renault 1:32.807
17 Button McLaren 1:32.851
18 Magnussen Renault 1:33.023
19 Ericsson Sauber 1:33.222
20 Nasr Sauber 1:33.332
21 Ocon Manor 1:33.3353
22 Wehrlein Manor 1:33.561