Fifth pole on the bounce for Rosberg


Nico Rosberg's bid to finish second in the Formula One driver's championship remains on course after the Mercedes driver claimed his fifth consecutive pole position at the Brazilian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Having seen team-mate Lewis Hamilton retain his title last month, Rosberg is bidding to stave off the threat of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in the chase for second.

Rosberg, who won this race from pole last year, holds a four-point lead over Vettel heading into the penultimate race of the season in Brazil and pipped Hamilton to pole in qualifying at Interlagos by less than a tenth of a second.

The German's first quick lap in Q3 placed him 0.088secs ahead of Hamilton, but that gap was reduced by a hundredth by the chequered flag after the Briton came close to matching Rosberg's improved second lap.

Vettel was unable to truly challenge the Mercedes duo for the front row and wound up almost half a second back in third - the position he occupied at the end of all three practice sessions.

Williams' Valtteri Bottas qualified fourth but will start from seventh after receiving a grid penalty for overtaking under red-flag conditions in practice, while Daniel Ricciardo drops from ninth to 19th because of an engine change.

McLaren's miserable season continued as Fernando Alonso was unable to complete a timed lap during Q1 due to an engine problem.

After observing the rest of the session from a camping chair atop a grassy bank, he joined team-mate Jenson Button - also eliminated from Q1 - for a rare climb to the top of the podium, to the delight of fans.

Pastor Maldonado joined Manor Marussia duo Will Stevens and Alexander Rossi to complete the group of five to fall at the first hurdle, with Romain Grosjean joining his Lotus colleague after spinning during Q2.

Sauber's Felipe Nasr qualified 11th fastest but, after blocking compatriot Felipe Massa late in Q1, found himself on the receiving end of a three-place grid penalty.


Provisional classification:

1. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1:11.282
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:11.360
3. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1:11.804
4. Valtteri Bottas (Williams) 1:12.085 - Must serve three-place grid penalty
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 1:12.144
6. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) 1:12.265
7. Daniil Kvyat (Red Bull) 1:12.322
8. Felipe Massa (Williams) 1:12.415
9. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 1:12.417 - Must serve 10-place grid penalty
10. Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso) 1:12.739