Nico Rosberg took pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix as a huge crash for Daniil Kvyat saw the session ended prematurely.
Rosberg had set the provisional pole position time just 0.076s faster than team-mate Lewis Hamilton when Kvyat crashed late in Q3 as everyone was attempting a final run. The Red Bull driver put two wheels on the grass at Turn 10 - the right-hand kink before the hairpin - and lost control, hitting the barrier on the outside of the track at high-speed and rolling in the gravel trap.
The resulting red flag saw the session ended, with Hamilton unable to respond to his team-mate having made an error at the hairpin on his first Q3 run. Rosberg's success is just his second pole position of the season, while Valtteri Bottas will start from third after a strong showing from Williams, with Singapore Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel in fourth place.
Mercedes responded after its disappointing Singapore weekend with a one-two result, ending qualifying with an advantage of 0.44s over Bottas' Williams. Felipe as was fifth - three quarters of a second off Rosberg's time - with Kimi Raikkonen having to settle for sixth place having been quicker than team-mate Vettel in both Q1 and Q2.
Grosjean needed a late flying lap to progress to Q3, edging out Nico Hulkenberg who opted against a late attempt as he will take a three-place grid penalty for causing a collision with Massa in Singapore. Carlos Sainz complained of vibrations on his final set of tyres as he ended the session in 12th place ahead of Pastor Maldonado, while Fernando Alonso was 14th but half a second adrift of Q3.
Max Verstappen failed to set a time in Q2 having stopped on track in the first part of qualifying. The Toro Rosso came to a halt at the exit of the hairpin late in the session, leading to a somewhat anticlimactic end to Q1. The double yellow flags prevented any driver from improving, with Jenson Button failing to progress as a result.
Both Saubers also dropped out as Felipe Nasr had to back out of a good lap, while Marcus Ericsson failed to make it through having started Q1 with a high-speed spin at Spoon. The Sauber driver put two wheels on the astroturf before turn-in and quickly swapped ends, ruining a set of tyres and failing to set a time. When he finally returned to try and post a lap, Verstappen's stoppage ended his chance to get through, though he did go quicker than team-mate Nasr.
Alexander Rossi was perhaps the unluckiest of all five drivers to drop out in Q1, aborting his first run when Ericsson spun at Spoon and then being unable to set a representative time due to Verstappen's stoppage, leaving him with a time outside 107%.
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|07||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:34.399||1:34.153||1:33.497|
|09||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:35.001||1:34.174|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull||1:34.646||1:34.201|
|11||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:35.328||1:34.390|
|12||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||1:34.873||1:34.453|
|15||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso||1:34.522|