China Q: Rosberg beats Ricciardo to pole

Rosberg’s Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, who had a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, will start from the back of the grid after being hit by ERS problems during the opening qualifying segment.

Rosberg was second quickest until the dying seconds, when he set a blistering lap to grab pole with a best time of 1:35.402.

The championship leader outpaced a surprising Ricciardo, second in the Red Bull, but over half a second behind the German.

Crucially, Rosberg used the soft tyres to go into Q3, meaning he will be able to start the race with that compound, unlike his main rivals, who qualified with the supersofts.

Ferrari endured disappointment, as Kimi Raikkonen had to settle for third ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel, who completed just one flying lap in Q3.

Valtteri Bottas completed the top five in the Williams, ahead of the second Red Bull of Daniil Kvyat and the Force India of Sergio Perez.

Toro Rosso duo Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen will start eighth and ninth.

Nico Hulkenberg qualified in 10th, but the German was unable to take part in Q3 after losing his left-front wheel less than two minutes from the end of Q2.

The Force India driver could face a penalty for the incident, which is under investigation.

Q2 – Red flag causes frustration

Felipe Massa will start from 11th position in the second Williams, as many drivers were unable to complete their final runs following Hulkenberg’s incident.

A frustrated Fernando Alonso qualified 12th for McLaren, the Spaniard one of the drivers who could not finish their final flying lap.

Teammate Jenson Button finished 13th, ahead of the Haas of Romain Grosjean and the two Saubers of Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr.

The session was cut short by over a minute after Hulkenberg’s wheel came detached from his car.

Q1 – Hamilton eliminated

Although the track was mostly dry for the start of the session, most drivers went out with intermediate tyres for their first runs, as there were still wet patches.

Manor drivers Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto went out on supersofts, however, a decision that proved to be a mistake as the German aqua-planned on the start/finish straight and crashed into the barriers.

Wehrlein’s car was damaged as a result, and the Manor driver – who had opened the DRS right before his spin – failed to set a time in the session, which was red-flagged five minutes in to recover his car and dry the puddle.

The stoppage lasted for 20 minutes before the action resumed.

When the session was restarted, all drivers went out with supersofts as Hamilton reported problems with his engine.

The Briton, already hit with a five-place grid penalty, failed to set a time after having to return to the pits due to a problem with his ERS.

He will start from the back of the grid.

The other drivers eliminated in Q1 were Renault duo Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer, who will start 17th and 19th, Haas driver Esteban Gutierrez (18th) and the Manor of Haryanto.

Qualifying results:

Pos Driver Team Time
1 GermanyNico Rosberg GermanyMercedes 1:35.402
2 AustraliaDaniel Ricciardo AustriaRed Bull Racing 1:35.917
3 FinlandKimi Raikkonen ItalyFerrari 1:35.972
4 GermanySebastian Vettel ItalyFerrari 1:36.246
5 FinlandValtteri Bottas United KingdomWilliams 1:36.296
6 RussiaDaniil Kvyat AustriaRed Bull Racing 1:36.399
7 MexicoSergio Perez IndiaForce India 1:36.865
8 SpainCarlos Sainz Jr. ItalyToro Rosso 1:36.881
9 NetherlandsMax Verstappen ItalyToro Rosso 1:37.194
10 GermanyNico Hulkenberg IndiaForce India No time
11 BrazilFelipe Massa United KingdomWilliams 1:37.347
12 SpainFernando Alonso United KingdomMcLaren 1:38.826
13 United KingdomJenson Button United KingdomMcLaren 1:39.093
14 FranceRomain Grosjean United StatesHaas F1 Team 1:39.830
15 SwedenMarcus Ericsson SwitzerlandSauber 1:40.742
16 BrazilFelipe Nasr SwitzerlandSauber 1:42.430
17 DenmarkKevin Magnussen FranceRenault F1 Team 1:38.673
18 MexicoEsteban Gutierrez United StatesHaas F1 Team 1:38.770
19 United KingdomJolyon Palmer FranceRenault F1 Team 1:39.528
20 IndonesiaRio Haryanto United KingdomManor Racing 1:40.264
21 GermanyPascal Wehrlein United KingdomManor Racing No time
22 United KingdomLewis Hamilton GermanyMercedes No time