Sao Paulo: Nico Rosberg has claimed his fifth consecutive pole position after edging out Lewis Hamilton in qualifying for today's Brazilian Grand Prix.
Nico Rosberg. Pic/Getty Images
Rosberg, victorious at this race last year, finished the session just 0.078 seconds clear of Hamilton at a sun-laden Interlagos.
Sebastian Vettel will start third for Ferrari with Williams driver Valtteri Bottas fourth. Bottas however, will serve a three-place grid penalty for overtaking under red flag conditions during Friday's practice session.
Hamilton, whose preparations for the penultimate race of his championship-winning campaign were mired when lost control of his £1.5million limited edition Pagani Zonda supercar and crashed into a stationary vehicle in the early hours of Tuesday morning, is yet to be victorious in Brazil.
And he faces an uphill task of ending his voodoo in the homeland of his great hero Ayrton Senna after qualifying behind Rosberg.
The Briton, who is one pole shy of his half century, will now not have started from the front of the pack since September's Italian Grand Prix - a streak which stretches to six races.
Hamilton's former team-mate Jenson Button claimed earlier this week that he expects his McLaren team to be back fighting at the sharp end of the grid next season. But there has been little to back up Button's bold claim in Interlagos.
Button was knocked out of the first phase of qualifying after posting only the 17th best time while his team-mate Fernando Alonso stopped on track for the second successive day.