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  1. Sunday's race coverage starts at 05:00 BST
  2. Rosberg on pole, Hamilton 2nd, Raikkonen 3rd
  3. Rosberg top in Q2, Williams, Toro Rossos and Alonso out
  4. Vettel top in Q1, Button out with Saubers and Manors
  5. Get involved & vote: #bbcf1: is Vettel good enough?

Live Reporting

By Jamie Strickland

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Farewell for now

We're going to wrap up our live page now. Huge thanks as ever for your company and contributions. 

We're back from 05:00 BST with race build-up from Suzuka, where Nico Rosberg will bid to convert pole into a ninth win of the year and with it further strengthen his grip on the drivers' championship. 

In the meantime, I've been googling things that are more or less the same size as the 82cm that Mercedes say separated their cars in qualifying. 

The results of this exhaustive research are posted below for your information. 

See you tomorrow.


Vote closed

Sebastian Vettel can breathe easy tonight as our scientific BBC poll has determined he is indeed the right man to lead Ferrari in their battle to displace Mercedes from the top of the F1 tree. 

A resounding 62% of you say so, and that's good enough for me. 

Mr Arrivabene, consider yourself told.

Still no Suzuka pole for Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton remains without a pole position at Suzaka, which given his status as one of the best talents in F1 and the circuit's reputation as a true 'drivers' circuit', seems a trifle odd.

He does, however, have two poles to his name in Japan, although they both came at Fuji Speedway in 2007 and 2008.

Hamilton and Rosberg
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Lewis Hamilton, aged 12, celebrates pole at Fuji in 2007 alongside 16-year-old Fernando Alonso

Mercedes say 0.013s difference between pole man Rosberg & Hamilton equates to 82cms over course of this 5.807km track #JapaneseGP #BBCF1 #F1

Pole landmark for Rosberg

That was Rosberg's third pole in succession at Suzuka and takes his career tally to 30.

He is now eighth on the all-time list having pulled one clear of the great Juan Manuel Fangio. He is two behind Nigel Mansell and three short of both Jim Clark and Alain Prost.

Impressive company all round.

Nico Rosberg
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Rosberg's first career pole came at the 2012 Chinese Grand Prix, his 111th race. He has racked up 29 more in 91 attempts since

'Positively surprised'

Kimi Raikkonen, P3: "It's pretty much the same car as we had last week. I was very positively surprised by how well the car has been behaving and how quick it has been. It has been a bit tricky to get the balance. So far, so good. P3 is not exactly what we're looking for, but we're pretty close."  

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'I did as well as I could'

Lewis Hamilton, P2: “I’m happy with qualifying. It has been a weekend of a lot of work trying to get the set-up right. Big changes before qualifying and considering that I am very happy with it. I did as well as I could. History has shown you don’t have to be on pole to get the win but Nico has done a great job all weekend."

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'I'm feeling good'

Nico Rosberg, P1: "I'm happy with the result. I was going well the whole weekend. I had a good balance, feeling good and feeling comfortable. That's what allows me to put in a lap like that.

"The start is going to be an important one. From then on I have to get the tyre life to do a long enough stint to get the tyres to work. It's just putting everything together."   

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Vettel to start seventh after penalty

Just a reminder that Sebastian Vettel will actually start seventh tomorrow as a result of the three-place penalty he received for that first-corner crash in Malaysia. 

That means Verstappen will start fourth, Ricciardo fifth and Perez sixth.


Top 10 positions

1 Rosberg (Mercedes) 1m30.647s2 Hamilton (Mercedes) +0.013s3 Raikkonen (Ferrari) +0.302s4 Vettel (Ferrari) +0.381s5 Verstappen (Red Bull) +0.531s6 Ricciardo (Red Bull) +0.539s7 Perez (Force India) +1.314s8 Grosjean (Haas) +1.314s9 Hulkenberg (Force India) +1.495s10 Gutierrez (Haas) +1.900s  

WOW!!! WOW!!! WOW!!! It's POLE for @nico_rosberg What an awesome lap! 👏👏👏 #Quali #Q3 #JapaneseGP #F1

WOW!!! WOW!!! WOW!!! It's POLE for @nico_rosberg What an awesome lap! 👏👏👏 #Quali #Q3 #JapaneseGP #F1

BreakingFinal qualifying ends


Rosberg displaces Hamilton

Raikkonen splits the two Mercedes with his final run but Rosberg improves to take top spot with a 1:30.647.  

Here comes Hamilton. Can He improve?

No! The Briton comes up just short by 0.013secs.

So very, very tight but Rosberg - as he has all weekend so far - stays on top.

Out they go...

Rosberg is the first of the front runners who will cross the line, Vettel as it stands will be the last of the pole contenders to take the chequered flag. 

This should be fun.

The top six covered by half a second in #Q3 😯 1 HAM 2 ROS 3 RAI 4 VET 5 VES 📸 6 RIC 📸 #JapaneseGP 🇯🇵 #Quali

The top six covered by half a second in #Q3 😯 1 HAM 2 ROS 3 RAI 4 VET 5 VES 📸 6 RIC 📸 #JapaneseGP 🇯🇵 #Quali

Back in the pits

OK, final push coming up. Cars are in the pits. 

Let's do this.

Hamilton coming good at the right time?

Advantage Hamilton after the first runs in the shootout. He's ahead of Rosberg for the first time this weekend, nearly two tenths faster after a 1:30.758.

Raikkonen's Ferrari is third, four tenths back, just ahead of team-mate Vettel. Verstappen and Ricciardo are next up for Red Bull. 

It's incredibly tight. Just six hundredths of a second covers the four Ferrari and Red Bull cars. 

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Final qualifying starts

Thanks for all the support!!! It worked, we've got @EstebanGtz (P7) and @RGrosjean (P8) into #Q3. First time both cars make the session. 👏

Your pole shootout protagonists are...

Rosberg, Hamilton, Vettel, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Gutierrez, Grosjean, Hulkenberg, Perez.  

Well done Haas

Haas get both cars into the top 10 for the first time. Impressive from the new boys.

Q2 eliminations

Bottas, Massa, Kvyat, Sainz, Alonso, Palmer.  

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Williams out

We did wonder if they'd done enough and it turns out they didn't.

Late improvements for Gutierrez in the Haas and Hulkenberg's Force India leaves the guys from Grove down in 11th and 12th.

Second qualifying ends


Sainz spins off at Spoon.

He'll be heading out in Q2.

Williams in trouble?

Bottas in P8 after his first timed lap in Q2. Massa goes into P10. 

That knocks out Gutierrez and Hulkenberg as it stands.

Top six play it cool

We won't see the Mercedes, Ferraris or Red Bulls in what time remains. 

They know they are through.

Get Involved - is Vettel good enough to lead Ferrari?


Davin Sturdivant: Such a joke from @ScuderiaFerrari when they that can't even build a winning car. Just creating pressure for NO reason...smh 

J-mo: most ridiculous thing I've seen in ages. Of course he is, in fact he's too good to be at a team that isn't challenging! 

Amit Mandalia: Vettel needs right car to show his speed. Seems Arrivabene putting pressure on Seb to deflect from him

Back in the pits

OK, five-minute warning.

The cars are back in the pits for a last service before the final runs. 

In trouble right now are Sainz, Alonso, Kvyat and Palmer while the two Williams cars are yet to post times in Q2. Thrillseekers. 

Rosberg into 1:30s

Rosberg raises the bar again on the soft tyre. 

Having just used the mediums in Q1, he cuts loose on a set of softs and punches in a 1:30.714. His time is nearly two seconds quicker than his 2015 pole time.

Hamilton goes second, four tenths back. The two Ferraris - Vettel from Raikkonen - are next up, with Red Bull fifth and six.

It's been a struggle - Button

"All weekend it's been a struggle for me," Button tells Tom Clarkson.

"On friday we had a set up that wasn;t working at all. This morning we had an issue with a power until that they promised to fix and they did, but we were three hundredths down.

"You always hope for a lot at Honda's home race." 

Button added that the high-speed nature of Suzuka is "not good for us". 

"It's a tough weekend but probably a little bit worse than we expected." 

Trouble at McLaren

That was a pretty bruising qualifying segment for McLaren and Honda. Not only did Button go out but team-mate Alonso was right on the bubble, finishing 16th, just three hundredths of a second up on the Briton. 

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Second qualifying starts

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION (END OF #Q1): @ScuderiaFerrari = 🔥 #Quali #JapaneseGP 🇯🇵

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION (END OF #Q1): @ScuderiaFerrari = 🔥 #Quali #JapaneseGP 🇯🇵

Q1 eliminations

Button, Magnussen, Ericsson, Nasr, Ocon, Wehrlein.