Nico Rosberg Takes 17th Career Pole at Suzuka
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News September 26, 2015
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg took his 17th career pole position at the Japanese Grand Prix after RedBull Racing driver Daniil Kvyat brought an early end to qualifying with a huge accident in the closing minutes of the session.
Rosberg's first run in Q3 put him just over a tenth ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton. The Jedi Knight made a mistake at the hairpin by locking his front tyre causing him to run deep. His second attempt at fighting back was gutted by Kvyat's accident, which ended the session with just over 30 seconds remaining.
Kvyat went to the medical centre for checks, but appeared to be okay after lifting himself out of the cockpit. Meanwhile, the accident prevented the drivers behind him from completing their second attempt.
Williams Martini Racing driver Valtteri Bottas proudly took third ahead of Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari and Felipe Massa in the second Williams. Kimi Raikkonen settled for sixth, despite setting faster times than Vettel in Q1 and Q2. While Daniel Ricciardo placed seventh for Red Bull Racing. Romain Grosjean gave Lotus the eighth fastest time ahead of Sergio Perez and Kvyat, who did not set a time in the end of the session.
Sahara Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg qualified just outside the top ten, but will drop to 14th once his three-place grid penalty for a collision with Massa in Singapore is applied. That will bump Carlos Sainz up to 11th ahead of Pastor Maldonado and Fernando Alonso. Max Verstappen will start 15th for Toro Rosso after his car loss power and ended in a spin coming out of the hairpin in the first session.
Jenson Button dropped out in Q1 making this the 11th Q1 elimination for the McLaren driver this season. Button will start ahead of Marcus Ericsson, Felipe Nasr, and the two Manors.
Ericsson spun at Spoon, but gave it another shot as Nasr's second lap was interrupted by Verstappen spinning at the hairpin. American F1 driver Alexander Rossi had a rough go of it, having to abort his first attempt after Ericsson spun in front of him and his second attempt for the yellow flags caused by Verstappen.
After the session, Verstappen received a 3 place grid penalty for not leaving his car in safe position and obstructing the racing line.