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Rosberg takes pole as Kvyat crashes

NEWS STORY
26/09/2015

Ahead of today's qualifying session, the air temperature is 27 degrees C, whilst the track temperature is 37 degrees.

After yesterday's wash-out, things were altogether different this morning, and as a result we had running throughout the sixty minute session.

With Mercedes leading the way, one would be forgiven for thinking that Singapore was indeed a 'blip', that the team got its set-up wrong and the tight, twisty nature of the track simply doesn't suit the German car. However, it would also be fair to say that Ferrari has yet to show its hand.

Also looking strong this morning was Daniel Ricciardo, though teammate Daniil Kvyat had an altogether more difficult session.

The Williams duo - like the other Mercedes customer teams still awaiting the upgraded engine - were up there, looking very strong on long run pace, as were the Toro Rosso pair.

With so much work to do, and drivers on a variety of programmes, it was difficult to get a clear picture from this morning's session, but the main thing is that Mercedes is demonstrating the sort of form shown pre-Singapore.

As usual, problems at McLaren where a new floor has been fitted to Jenson Button's car since FP2. The Briton completed the least laps (15) with no low fuel/option running.

Tyre choices this weekend are hard and medium, and there is just one DRS zone and that's on the main pit straight.

The lights go green and Verstappen leads the way.

Verstappen gets things underway with a 35.415 but this is soon beaten by Rosberg (33.961) and then Hamilton (33.611).

A 34.935 sees Ricciardo go fourth, whilst Maldonado goes fifth (35.432) his best position on the timesheets this weekend.

As Ericsson spins off into the gravel at Spoon, out come the yellow flags.

The Williams duo go third and fourth, Bottas (34.326) the quicker of the two.

With 7:50 remaining, the Ferraris and Rossi have yet to appear. At which point the red cars head down the pitlane, like most of their rivals, sporting the harder rubber.

Raikkonen goes third (34.171) and Vettel fifth (34.431).

"Do you think we have to go again," asks Vettel, not a question he had to ask in Singapore.

Both Mercedes are back on track, as Hulkenberg goes ninth with a 35.328.Moments later, Force India teammate Perez goes eighth (35.001).

Hamilton goes quickest in S1, as the Red Bull duo also look set to improve. The Briton maintains the pace into S2, finally crossing the line at 32.844. Rosberg consolidates second with a 33.015.

Less than a minute remaining and Nasr, Button, Ericsson and the Manors are in the drop zone.

Verstappen has spun at the hairpin and is stranded in the middle of the track, bringing out the yellows. Disaster for those looking to improve.

"I was on a good lap," complains Ericsson.

Hamilton is quickest, ahead of Rosberg, Raikkonen, Bottas, Grosjean, Ricciardo, Vettel, Verstappen, Kvyat and Massa.

We lose Button, the Saubers and Manors, Rossi not even posting a time.

Verstappen's attitude following his spin - he storms off not looking back at the car and ignoring the radio call from his team - suggests a mistake from the youngster.

No sooner have the lights gone green for Q2 than the Mercedes are out there, both drivers clearly keen to get on with it. Bottas is another early riser.

As Verstappen arrives back in the paddock, helmet still firmly in place, the sky has clouded over.

Rosberg is fuelled for two timed laps.

Quickest in all three sectors, Rosberg posts 32.632 with Hamilton posting 32.789 moments later. Kvyat can only manage 34.694, his cause not helped by a big lock-up at spoon.

Bottas goes third but is demoted by his Williams teammate who posts (33.377). Both over 0.7s off Mercedes pace.

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