F1 Brazilian Grand Prix 2014: Nico Rosberg pips Lewis Hamilton to continue Brazil domination and suggest title battle isn't over yet

Rosberg looks to have the better of Hamilton around the Interlagos circuit having topped every session so far

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The Independent Online

Nico Rosberg's domination of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton this weekend continued as he grabbed his 10th pole position of the season.

Fastest in all three practice sessions ahead of Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix, Rosberg followed up by topping the timesheet at the end of each of the three qualifying runs.

The crucial one, of course, came at the death and seconds after he had been ousted by Hamilton, the German took pole - and with it the trophy for most in a year - by just 0.033secs.

In terms of responding to Hamilton's run of five successive wins that have opened up a 24-point gap between the duo, Rosberg so far could not have produced a more perfect performance.

 

The Interlagos circuit has never sat well with Hamilton and he has only claimed one podium - and that a third place - in seven prior attempts around one of Formula One's most famous venues.

For a few seconds, though, there was a glimmer of hope Hamilton had stolen a pole from under the nose of Rosberg as, after his final hot lap, he was on top by a tenth of a second.

Rosberg, however, had other ideas, clinching top spot on the grid by a fraction of a second.

Rosberg's problem this season, though, is that from the nine previous occasions he has been on pole, he has only won two races.

Appreciating the circumstances, he said: "This will be a perfect job only if it works out tomorrow.

"So far it's going well, but I need to make it happen in the race, unlike Austin for example (where he was on pole but finished second at the United States Grand Prix)."

Asked as to whether the pressure was different now he is hunter rather than hunted, Rosberg added: "It's pretty similar.

"The adrenalin is there, the tension, the excitement, they have not changed that much

"I'm trying to push myself to go for it, to be optimistic, to learn from Austin. I know what I need to do tomorrow, so I'm good to go."

As far as Hamilton is concerned, knowing he is in the box seat when it comes to the title, he said: "Qualifying was great fun. Nico did a great lap.

"It was great to keep going out and fighting, the gap should always be that close, so it was really exciting and I hope people enjoyed it.

"Tomorrow should also be exciting with the pit stops and weather, but I'm going to work as hard as I can for the win."

In front of his home fans Felipe Massa kept the Mercedes duo honest and will start third, much to his obvious delight.

"It's very emotional to be here, here in Brazil, to have a competitive car and to start in the top three," said Massa.

"Unfortunately I didn't get eveything out of the car (on the final lap) because I had traffic and problems with the car, so I couldn't improve, whereas other people were improving a little bit.

"I didn't have enough to beat them (Mercedes) perhaps, but it would have been very close. I can only hope this is the start of something this weekend."

Massa will have team-mate Valtteri Bottas alongside him on the second row, with the Williams duo followed by McLaren's Jenson Button and Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel in fifth and sixth respectively.

Kevin Magnussen was seventh quickest, with the Ferrari pair of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen eighth and 10th, either side of Daniel Ricciardo in his Red Bull.

With no Caterham and Marussia, the latter officially out of business after the doors were closed on the Banbury-based factory on Friday, the FIA reverted to the qualifying format as run in the United States last Saturday.

With 18 cars on the grid, four exited at the end of both Q1 and Q2, so retaining the top-10 shoot-out.

Sauber duo Esteban Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil, neither of whom will be driving for the team next season, dropped out of Q2 and start 11th and 13th respectively either side of Force India's Nico Hulkenberg.

Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat qualified 14th, but with seven places of a 10-place penalty carrying over from an engine change in the United States last weekend, the young Russian drops to 17th.

Rather than Kvyat being last, the final place on the grid is occupied by Sergio Perez in his Force India.

Perez was handed a seven-place grid penalty for causing a collision with Sutil on the opening lap in Austin, and as his sanction followed that of Perez, the Mexican will start 18th after qualifying 17th.

For the drivers around them, Lotus pair Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado move up to 14th and 16th, sandwiching Jean-Eric Vergne in his Toro Rosso.

Final Positions after Qualifying:

1 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes GP 1mins 10.023secs,

2 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr)Mercedes GP 1:10.056,

3 Felipe Massa(Bra)Williams 1:10.247,

4 Valtteri Bottas(Fin)Williams 1:10.305,

5 Jenson Button(Gbr)McLaren 1:10.930,

6 Sebastian Vettel(Ger)Red Bull 1:10.938,

7 Kevin Magnussen(Den)McLaren 1:10.969,

8 Fernando Alonso(Spa)Ferrari 1:10.977,

9 Daniel Ricciardo(Aus)Red Bull 1:11.075,

10 Kimi Raikkonen(Fin)Ferrari 1:11.099,

11 Esteban Gutierrez(Mex)Sauber-Ferrari 1:11.591,

12 Nico Hulkenberg(Ger)Force India 1:11.976,

13 Adrian Sutil(Ger)Sauber-Ferrari 1:12.099,

14 Daniil Kvyat(Rus)Scuderia Toro Rosso No Time,

15 Romain Grosjean(Fra)Lotus F1 Team 1:12.037,

16 Jean-Eric Vergne(Fra)Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:12.040,

17 Sergio Perez(Mex)Force India 1:12.076,

18 Pastor Maldonado(Ven) Lotus F1 Team 1:12.233

Daniil Kvyat and Sergio Perez have seven-place grid penalties, Kvyat's is the remainder of his engine change penalty from the United States Grand Prix, while Perez is demoted for causing a collision with Adrian Sutil at the United States Grand Prix. They will start 17th and 18th.

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