Nico Rosberg claimed his fifth successive pole position as he edged Lewis Hamilton by less than a tenth at the Interlagos circuit on Saturday.
Having hit the front in FP3 earlier in the day, Lewis Hamilton thrived in the Brazilian heat on Saturday afternoon as he set the pace in Q1 and Q2.
However, when it came down to it Nico Rosberg was quickest.
The German posted a 1:11.461 to lead the way after their first flying lap in the pole position shoot-out.
He followed that up with a 1:11.282 while Hamilton fell short by 0.076s. It was Rosberg’s fifth successive pole position and his second in Brazil.
Sebastian Vettel was third as yet again Ferrari were unable to make any inroads into the Mercedes pairing. The German was 0.522s down.
Valtteri Bottas edged Kimi Raikkonen to fifth which could make for an interesting Sunday afternoon while Nico Hulkenberg was sixth.
Daniil Kvayt was the better of the two Red Bull racers in seventh ahead of Felipe Massa, who failed to shine at his home race.
Meanwhile Romain Grosjean qualified P15 after a massive slide on his first flying lap resulted in a visit to the run off area and a set of shot Pirellis. He had left it late to qualify so tried to put in a good lap on those tyres but missed out on a Q3 berth by over a second.
Fernando Alonso’s weekend went from bad to worse as the double World Champion was told to “stop immediately, stop immediately” as McLaren became aware of a serious problem with his car. He parked on the grass ahead of Turn 10, which meant only yellow flags were needed to clear the car.
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:11.282
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:11.360 +0.078
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:11.804 +0.522
4 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:12.085 +0.803
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:12.144 +0.862
6 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:12.265 +0.983
7 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:12.322 +1.040
8 Felipe Massa Williams 1:12.415 +1.133
9 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:12.417 +1.135
10 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:12.739 +1.457
11 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:12.989
12 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:13.045
13 Sergio Perez Force India 1:13.147
14 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:13.233
15 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:13.913
16 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:13.385
17 Jenson Button McLaren 1:13.425
18 Alexander Rossi Manor 1:16.151
19 Will Stevens Manor 1:16.283
20 Fernando Alonso McLaren No time