Formula One: Rosberg grabs pole as Kvyat's crash forces early end to qualifying in Japan GP

German Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Mercedes AMG GP celebrates after taking the pole position in the qualifying session at the Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, central Japan on Sept 26, 2015.
German Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Mercedes AMG GP celebrates after taking the pole position in the qualifying session at the Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, central Japan on Sept 26, 2015.PHOTO: EPA

SUZUKA, Japan (Reuters) - Nico Rosberg put Formula One world champions Mercedes on pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix on Saturday after Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat crashed heavily and brought qualifying to an early close.

The German secured his first pole since Spain in May when the red flags came out with 36 seconds remaining, leaving team-mate Lewis Hamilton no chance of claiming a 12th pole in 14 races.

Hamilton, who has a 41-point lead over Rosberg with six races left, missed out by 0.076 second but made sure of an all-Mercedes front row to the relief of a team eclipsed in Singapore last weekend.

"A good comeback for the team after such a difficult weekend in Singapore. We really turned things around... I pretty much nailed my laps today," said Rosberg.

The front row was a repeat of last year's at Suzuka, a wet race overshadowed by French driver Jules Bianchi's tragic accident.

Finland's Valtteri Bottas qualified third for Williams on a dry track after Friday's rain with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, victorious in Singapore and a four-time winner in Japan, lining up in fourth.

"The first lap I lost a bit of time into Turn 11 and I think in the last corner," said Hamilton.

"Nico is driving well this weekend but I definitely felt pretty good on that last lap, but the main thing is that Kvyat is OK."

The Russian was unhurt in his dramatic crash, losing control of the rear of his car after going wide onto the grass as he approached a hairpin.

Snapping sideways, the car was pitched into a tyre wall. It flipped over before coming to rest with the wheels torn off the left side. Kvyat assured the team he was OK and then slowly extricated himself unaided.