Brazil Grand Prix qualifying: Hamilton on pole as title race heats up

Rosberg had been the fastest in the third and final free practice session on Saturday ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in Sao Paulo.

Britain's defending world champion - Stevenage's Lewis Hamilton - goes into the race trailing championship leader, and Mercedes team-mate, Nico Rosberg by 19 points.

"Exciting qualifying our there for sure, very close", added Rosberg, who will be crowned Champion on Sunday, if he wins, regardless of where Hamilton finishes.

He was slower than Hamilton in both practice sessions on Friday on a dry track.

The 31-year-old Briton needs his championship rival to finish fourth or lower in Brazil to take the title fight back into his own hands ahead of the season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Germany's Nico Rosberg is on the brink of winning his first Formula One world title.

Raikkonen set the benchmark time on soft tyres with a lap of 1m12.530s before Ricciardo beat that by nearly a quarter of a second with 17 minutes remaining, effectively sparking the start of the qualifying simulation runs.

Asked if he had more to lose if the race is wet, Rosberg said: "I don't think of anything in terms of most to lose at the moment". Since the beginning of my Formula One career I've seen that everything can change even at the very last moment, so you have to fight to the bitter end. But I am so happy for everything.

In the opening session Hamilton was quickest besting Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen by less than one tenth of a second.

As we have said, the Mercs will have a great battle between each other for vital points in the championship while the Prancing Horse team might just come out of their corner and show what they are made of.

But the German would appear to have his work cut out with Hamilton, a victor of the last two races in America and Mexico, maintaining his fine form.

Max Verstappen of Red Bull was 0.096 seconds behind Hamilton, and Rosberg trailed by 0.230 on the hilly Interlagos course.

Daniel Riccardo, Romain Grosjean, Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso make up the rest of the top 10 on the grid. The Dutchman believed that Hamilton should also have been hit with a penalty for a similar offence at the start of the race.

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