Rosberg takes Japanese GP pole

The German's Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton will start alongside him in second with Kimi Raikkonen locking down third spot for Sunday's race in his Ferrari.

Nico Rosberg on pole for Japanese GP.

With five races remaining, Rosberg holds a 23-point lead over Hamilton, who is seeking a third straight victory in Japan.   -  AP

World championship leader Nico Rosberg will start the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix from pole position after setting the fastest time in qualifying on Saturday.

The German's Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton will start alongside him in second with Kimi Raikkonen locking down third spot for Sunday's race in his Ferrari.

Hamilton trails Rosberg by 23 points with five rounds left after the Briton retired while leading in Malaysia with a blown engine and heads into the race desperate to revive his flagging title prospects with a third straight win at the Suzuka Circuit.

Results:

1. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1:30.647 2. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1:30.660 3. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 1:30.949 4. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari 1:31.028 5. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Red Bull - TAG Heuer 1:31.178 6. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull - TAG Heuer 1:31.240 7. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India - Mercedes 1:31.961 8. Romain Grosjean (France) Haas - Ferrari 1:31.961 9. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India - Mercedes 1:32.142 10. Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Haas - Ferrari 1:32.547 - - - - - - - - - - 11. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams-Mercedes 1:32.315 12. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams-Mercedes 1:32.380 13. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 1:32.623 14. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 1:32.685 15. Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren 1:32.689 16. Jolyon Palmer (Britain) Renault 1:32.807 - - - - - - - - - - 17. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1:32.851 18. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) Renault 1:33.023 19. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber - Ferrari 1:33.222 20. Felipe Nasr (Brazil) Sauber - Ferrari 1:33.332 21. Esteban Ocon (France) Manor - Mercedes 1:33.353 22. Pascal Wehrlein (Germany) Manor - Mercedes 1:33.561 - - - - - - - - - - 1-10: third and final qualifying session 11-16: second qualifying session 17-22: first qualifying session