9 Oct 2016

Rosberg pips Hamilton to take pole in Japan

10:44 am on 9 October 2016

Formula One championship leader Nico Rosberg seized pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix on Saturday, fending off Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in a close-run qualifying session.

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's German driver Nico Rosberg celebrates after winning the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Sakhir circuit in Manama on April 3, 2016.

Formula One championship leader Nico Rosberg Photo: AFP

Rosberg has led every session of the race weekend and confirmed his superiority around the circuit with a fastest lap of 1.30.647 minutes, just 13 thousandths of a second quicker than Hamilton.

Rosberg said he was happy with the result.

"I was going well the whole weekend and had a good balance in the car, feeling good, feeling comfortable so that's what allows me to put in a lap like that in the end," he said.

Rosberg's 30th pole position of his career was the German's third in a row at Suzuka as Mercedes, who can wrap up a third successive constructors' title today, claimed first place on the grid for the 52nd time in the past 54 races.

Starting from the front also gives Rosberg a golden opportunity to extend his 23-point lead over defending champion Hamilton with four rounds remaining after Japan.