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Nico Rosberg has inherited pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka after a mammoth accident for Daniil Kvyat forced an early end to the qualifying session.

The German had turned in the fastest on the first run of lap times, but just as team-mate Lewis Hamilton was priming himself to try and go quicker on the second run, Kvyat's spectacular crash at turn ten in the run up to the hairpin brought out the red flags.

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The Russian driver was on a flying lap when he clipped the outside 'painted grass' as he turned into the quick right before the hairpin, getting out of shape across the gravel before it struck the barriers at speed, rolled over and came to rest on its wheels.

Despite the severity of the impact - which ripped off two wheels, the front suspension and a portion of the car's rear -, Kvyat radioed to say he was 'OK', but Red Bull face a task to recover the heavily damaged RB11 for the race tomorrow.

As well as ruining Kvyat's hopes of a good qualifying performance, the accident would also scupper any late changes to the order, with Rosberg duly classified on top with the 1min 32.584secs lap set on his first run, marking his second pole position of the season.

Indeed, Hamilton may have fancied his chances of overhauling Rosberg on his second run after proving just a tenth slower despite losing notable time with a lock up into the hairpin on what would prove to be his only flying lap of the session. Even so, a front row lock-out confirms Mercedes' return to form a week on from its unexplained struggles in Singapore.

Valtteri Bottas heads up row two for Williams, the Finn getting the better of Singapore GP winner Sebastian Vettel, the German in turn finding his best when it mattered having been slower than Ferrari team-ate Kimi Raikkonen coming into the final session.

Indeed, Raikkonen had been the closest thing to a rival for Mercedes in Q1 and Q2, but could only manage sixth best in the enforced single-lap shootout, behind Felipe Massa, who confirmed Williams' impressive pace in comparison to Ferrari to qualify fifth.

Similarly, Daniel Ricciardo had appeared a stronger contender than his seventh place suggested prior to qualifying, the Australian left heading up row four alongside Romain Grosjean in the Lotus. With Kvyat unable to complete a lap, he is listed as ninth fastest, while Sergio Perez is tenth having been prevented from completing his one and only run because of the Russian's accident.

With a three-place grid penalty pending following his collision with Massa in Singapore, Nico Hulkenberg qualified 11th but will start 14th, placing him behind Carlos Sainz, Pastor Maldonado and Fernando Alonso on the grid after each failed to progress beyond Q2.

Max Verstappen, meanwhile, will start 15th after his Toro Rosso ground to a halt on the exit of the hairpin during the closing stages of Q1 with reported electronic issues, preventing him from setting a time in Q2.

Having garnered plenty of attention off track this weekend, Jenson Button may have hoped a stronger on-track effort around his 'second home circuit' would serve to distract from speculation over his future. However, after airing his frustration with a 'lack of communication' from McLaren over which engine mode to use, the Englishman would go on to fall two tenths short of team-mate Alonso in the 'safe zone' in 16th.

Button will be joined towards the back of the field by both Saubers, Marcus Ericsson recovering from a wild spin at the Spoon curve on his first run to get the better of Felipe Nasr in 17th with his final effort. Manor, meanwhile, bring up the rear with Will Stevens ahead of the unfortunate Alexander Rossi, who had his first run spoiled by Ericsson's spin and his second hampered Verstappen's stop to put him outside 107 per cent but with an argument to start nonetheless.