Hamilton’s first lap in Q3 lay down the challenge for Rosberg as he set the pace by 0.3s, with Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo a similar distance adrift. Both Mercedes drivers improved by a similar margin on their final attempts, with Rosberg quickest in sector one but Hamilton responding in the second and third sectors to take the 61st pole position of his career with a 1:38.755.
While unable to beat Hamilton, Rosberg will be content after continuing his run of consecutive top two qualifying results stretching back to the 2015 Japanese Grand Prix. Rosberg only needs to finish in the top three to be champion on Sunday and ended up half a second clear of Ricciardo in third, who pipped Raikkonen on the final attempts.
Sebastian Vettel will start from fifth ahead of Max Verstappen, with the Dutchman making an error on his final run and aborting his lap. Verstappen needs to outscore Vettel by five points to secure fourth in the drivers' championship this season.
The Force India pair of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez were seventh and eighth respectively, nearly two seconds slower than Hamilton but 0.6s clear of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.
The second part of qualifying saw the focus on the Red Bull drivers, with Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo reaching Q3 on the supersoft compound tyre, meaning they will start on that tyre on Sunday. The rest of the top ten, however, will be on the ultrasoft. Alonso managed to take tenth place with his final run to surprisingly outqualify Valtteri Bottas, with Jenson Button in 12th place in his final qualifying session.
The Haas pair of Esteban Gutierrez and Romain Grosjean will make up the seventh row - with Gutierrez getting the better of his team-mate in his last qualifying for the team - with Jolyon Palmer and Pascal Wehrlein unable to improve on their Q1 times on used tyres.
Q1 saw Hamilton set the pace by a comfortable margin, with team-mate Rosberg making “two big mistakes” by his own admission and ending the session in fifth place. Mercedes youngster Wehrlein impressed with a lap good enough to reach Q2, knocking out Daniil Kvyat in 17th place. Kvyat’s lap was a good one after so little running, beating team-mate Carlos Sainz by 0.4s as both Toro Rossos dropped out following wheel rim issues on Friday.
Kevin Magnussen was also a surprise elimination as he was easily beaten by team-mate Palmer. The Briton had held the advantage all weekend and was 0.4s quicker than Magnussen, who dropped out alongside Felipe Nasr, Esteban Ocon, Sainz and Marcus Ericsson.
|03||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:41.002||1:40.429||1:39.589|
|06||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1:40.424||1:39.903||1:39.818|
|07||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:41.000||1:40.709||1:40.501|
|08||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:40.864||1:40.743||1:40.519|
|17||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1:42.003|
|21||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||1:42.393|