Rosberg secures pole in Suzuka

Rosberg secures pole in Suzuka

Mercedes ace Nico Rosberg will start on pole for Sunday's Japanese GP after edging out team-mate Lewis Hamilton during qualifying.

The German currently holds a 23-point advantage in the World Championship and he strengthened his chances of securing a maiden world title by setting a time of 1:30.647 at Suzuka International Racing Course, to finish just two hundredths of a second ahead of Hamilton.

The 31-year-old was in confident mood after qualifying, admitting that he feels in good form ahead of Sunday's race.

"I was going well the whole weekend," said Rosberg. "That's what allows me to put a lap in like that."

Hamilton, who has won the last two Japanese GPs after qualifying in second position, was also pleased with his performance on Saturday and is hoping to challenge his team-mate further during the race.

"I'm happy with qualifying," the Brit said. "It's been a weekend a lot of work, getting the set-up right, some big changes went into qualifying. Considering that, to be that close, I was really happy with it. I did as well as I could, I think. History has shown you don't have to be on pole to get the win."

Ferrari duo Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel were third and fourth quickest respectively although the latter will have to start from seventh on the grid, due to a penalty he received for crashing out of last week's Malaysian Grand Prix.

Vettel's demotion benefits Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, who were fifth and sixth quickest, as well as Sergio Perez of Force India, who was seventh fastest.

The rest of the top ten is made up of Haas' Romain Grosjean, Nico Hulkenberg of Force India and the second Haas car of Esteban Gutierrez.