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Summary

  1. Rosberg on pole, Hamilton 2nd, Bottas 3rd
  2. Vettel replaces Alonso at Ferrari, Alonso expected at McLaren
  3. Hamilton crashes in final practice
  4. Massa 4th, Alonso 5th, Ricciardo 6th
  5. Magnussen 7th, Button 8th, Vettel 9th, Raikkonen 10th
  6. Hamilton top in Q1, Rosberg top in Q2
  7. Saubers, Force Indias, Toro Rossos out in Q2
  8. Lotuses, Marussias, Caterhams out in Q1
  9. Typhoon threatens Sunday's race
  10. Watch qualifying and practice three again via Live Coverage tab

Live Reporting

By Lawrence Barretto

All times stated are UK

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Tomorrow's plan of action is as follows. The live text will kick off at 05:30 BST, with BBC One joining the party at 06:00. We then sit and wait for the rain to come before the lights go out at 07:00.

It was mighty close between the Mercedes drivers at Suzuka, but it was Nico Rosberg who came out on top as Lewis Hamilton paid for his mistake in final practice.

So all that's left to say is it's a very good morning from him.

Nico Rosberg
Getty Images

And it's a very good morning from me. Until tomorrow, folks. Until tomorrow.

Here's

Andrew Benson's qualifying report. Watch out for video highlights of that session on the F1 pages later today. You can also watch a re-run on BBC One at 13:00 BST.

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Janine Pingree: Well done to Valtteri Bottas on another great quali performance! Great to see another Finn fighting at the top.

"Mercedes looked really quick yesterday and this morning so it was nice to get a bit closer," says Williams' Valtteri Bottas, who qualified third.

"They will be quick tomorrow but as a team we have to be happy with third and fourth. We might struggle a little more in the wet but there seems to be a margin behind us so hopefully we can still fight for a podium."

Nico Rosberg
Getty Images

Nico Rosberg now has 12 career poles, putting him level with Gerhard Berger and our very own David Coulthard.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg
Reuters

Lewis Hamilton's clearly not happy, the Briton choosing to give very short answers during interviews. "It was not the best of sessions," he tells Lee McKenzie. "I think it was decent recovery considering the crash.

"I just overcooked it but the team did a great job to put the car back together. I feel good, I just wasn't quick enough today. I'm still second. We've seen races where we've come from further back."

"Today was surprise - the announcement of Vettel leaving Red Bull," says Fernando Alonso. "Everyone was waiting for an announcement on my side, but the situation on my side is that the priority is to help Ferrari this weekend.

"Let's say I have had my mind set for two or three months, everything is moving in the right direction but I am still not 100% decided. I can go more or less where I want to go in the time I want to go and I will use my time in the best way.

On possibility of Vettel being his team-mate at Ferrari: "Anything is a possibility. I don't know if he is going to Ferrari first of all. My first priority is to help my team in these races, then my future and Sebastian is very low priority at the moment.

"My plan is going well, everything is moving in the right direction, hopefully soon [something will be announced]."

Fernando Alonso scratches his beard throughout his interview with Lee McKenzie and unsurprisingly fails to give any definitive answers about his future.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner says the split with Sebastian Vettel is "100% amicable" and adds: "I think he's ready for a new challenge. He's at a stage of his career where he's ready for a new challenge. I think that was at the bottom of his decision."

Daniel Ricciardo has comfortably outperformed Vettel this year, having been promoted from Toro Rosso. "Daniel has had an amazing year, that's nine times to six that he has outqualifed Seb," says Horner. "Seb has had quite a few issues this year but take nothing away from Daniel.

"We thought Daniel was a risk, as we think Kvyat is a risk, but he has delivered. I don't think any of us, even Daniel, thought he would be third in the drivers' championship having won three grands prix."

Sebastian Vettel
Getty Images

"I was not entirely happy today," adds Vettel. "We lacked some running and didn't seem to be able to get what we expected in the corners that I usually love. There is still a chance because tomorrow I think there's rain."

On leaving Red Bull, Vettel says: "It is a tough step after such a long time together with Red Bull. After so many fantastic years, I did and still am enjoying my time, but at some stage in life you want to do something else, something new. It is not the first time I have been approached but it felt like the right time.

"I'm not leaving because I don't like the team or individuals, I'm not running away from anything. The voice inside me, the hunger to do something new was bigger. It was not the easiest decision but you have to listen to your heart."

Speaking for the first time since news broke that he is leaving Red Bull, Sebastian Vettel doesn't confirm his Ferrari move: "I don't have anything I can confirm now. For now, I can't say much. It shouldn't be too long."

"Nico was extremely quick and I did the best I could," says Lewis Hamilton, who qualified second. "The guys did a great job to rebuild the car (after his crash in final practice), so big thanks to them.

"I wasn't really feeling it today, don't know why. I am looking forward to tomorrow and all the tricky weather that will come.

On tyre vibrations during qualifying: "I had that all throughout the run, it may have been a tyre imbalance, but it did not get in the way of the result."

When asked about the wet weather forecast for tomorrow, Rosberg adds: "We are as prepared as we can be, we are expecting it to be wet. Our last experience in the wet was at Spa where the car was very quick. So I'm very optimistic, even if it rains. It could be even better."

Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas
Getty Images

"I'm not thinking about Singapore," says Nico Rosberg. "We're here at Suzuka and I'm trying to win. It was great today, but that's only one step on the way. It was a real pleasure because the car is so amazing to drive. It was really cool."

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Luke Spurdle: McLaren F1 are ok placed considering anything could and will happen at the Japanese GP with the weather.

Amy Brown: What was going on, Lewis? :-(

Rian Hoskins: Vettel's performance was disappointing. Usually excels at Suzuka. Maybe 2015 is playing on his mind and is now his main focus.

Mercedes: Front row lock out, F1 silly season in full swing, typhoon on the way... again, someone tell us this sport is boring!

"They are competing on a a very high level, they are trying to extract the maximum from the car," says Mercedes co-team boss Toto Wolff.

When asked if Lewis Hamilton's final practice crash compromised his qualifying, Wolff said: "For sure it was compromised. It was his sector, but then he shunted the car. That was sitting at the back of his mind."

Nico Rosberg finished six tenths clear of the closest non-Mercedes car Valtteri Bottas of Williams. That's his eighth pole position of the season.

Japanese GP qualifying result

1) Nico Rosberg 2) Lewis Hamilton 3) Valtteri Bottas 4) Felipe Massa 5) Fernando Alonso 6) Daniel Ricciardo 7) Kevin Magnussen 8) Jenson Button 9) Sebastian Vettel 10) Kimi Raikkonen

11) Jean-Eric Vergne 12) Sergio Perez 13) Daniil Kvyat 14) Nico Hulkenberg 15) Adrian Sutil 16) Esteban Gutierrez

17) Pastor Maldonado 18) Romain Grosjean 19) Marcus Ericsson 20) Jules Bianchi 21) Kamui Kobayashi 22) Max Chilton

"Thank you guys, thank you very much," says Nico "Mr Consistent" Rosberg on team radio.

Lewis Hamilton's wait for a pole at Suzuka goes one. However, second on the grid will be his best ever starting slot at this circuit.

Lewis Hamilton crossed the line 0.197 seconds adrift of Nico Rosberg. Replays show that Hamilton locked up heavily at the hairpin.

Pole position

Nico Rosberg
Reuters

Nico Rosberg takes pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix.

Chequered flag

The chequered flag is out, but both Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton are flying!

All 10 cars are out on track. Kimi Raikkonen used a set of options earlier in the session, so he's just doing the one run late in the closing stages.

japanese gp
BBC

It's time to head back to the garage for a fresh set of boots ready for one final push for pole. Five minutes to go.

1) Ros 2) Ham 3) Bot 4) Mas 5) Alo 6) Mag 7) Ric 8) But 9) Vet 10) Rai

Mercedes
Mercedes

Mercedes: "Two legends of the sport watching closely!"

It's a disappointing lap from Lewis Hamilton, who crosses the line three tenths adrift of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg. Valtteri Bottas is third, with Felipe Massa fourth and Fernando Alonso fifth.

Nico Rosberg goes fastest with a 1:32.629, that's three tenths quicker than he's been today. What can his Mercedes team-mate do?

There's a small lock-up for Valtteri Bottas at the hairpin, but it's still a good effort, the Finn clocking a 1:33.329, which is a tenth faster than he managed in Q2.

Final qualifying starts

Twelve minutes, 10 drivers and one pole position. Let's get down to business.

japanese gp
BBC

Valtteri Bottas heads down to the end of the pit-lane. Crikey, he's keen.

In

1) Nico Rosberg 2) Lewis Hamilton 3) Valtteri Bottas 4) Felipe Massa 5) Fernando Alonso 6) Kevin Magnussen 7) Daniel Ricciardo 8) Jenson Button 9) Kimi Raikkonen 10) Sebastian Vettel

Out

11) Jean-Eric Vergne 12) Sergio Perez 13) Daniil Kvyat 14) Nico Hulkenberg 15) Adrian Sutil 16) Esteban Gutierrez

So it's 1-1 in the battle between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in this qualifying session. Who will win the deciding rubber in Q3? They were separated by just 0.032 seconds in Q2 and 0.060 secs in Q1.

Second qualifying ends

rosberg
Getty Images

Nico Rosberg finishes fastest in the second part of qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix.

Chequered flag

Out comes the chequered flag as Sebastian Vettel crosses the line to go seventh fastest. He's bumped down a place as his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo goes sixth quickest.

Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne, Nico Hulkenberg, Esteban Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil are currently in the drop zone. Less than a minute to go.

Everyone has headed back out on track apart from the two Mercedes, who have a comfortable eight tenths of a second lead over the field.

There's a lull in the action as all 16 drivers head back to the pits before one final run.

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CK Chandu: Hope Jenson Button stays in for the shoot-out!

Eduard Gascon: Cup of tea, #BBCF1 and ready to see Hamilton get pole as Vettel announces he's leaving for Ferrari.