The Hindu

Rosberg takes prime starting slot

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SAO PAULO: Nico Rosberg claimed his fifth consecutiv­e pole position on Saturday when he outpaced Mercedes teammate and World Champion Lewis Hamilton to take the prime starting slot for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

The 30-year-old German, who has found his form in the final part of a season that was dominated by the newlycrown­ed triple champion Hamilton, produced another textbook demonstrat­ion of his craft to leave the Englishman still waiting to claim his elusive 50th career pole.

Rosberg, who won the Mexican Grand Prix two weeks ago to boost his hopes of finishing as runner-up in the title race, clocked a fastest lap in one minute and 11.282 seconds in the final seconds of the session to beat Hamilton by 0.078 seconds.

21st pole

It was the 21st pole of his career, the most by any driver not to have won the world title, and yet another front row lockout for the Mercedes team.

Rosberg also became the 13th driver in F1 history to claim five straight poles.

“That was a great job guys,” said Rosberg. “The last lap was a bit on the edge, with a couple of big moments in there, but pole is a good place to start.”

Hamilton, who is searching for his first win in nine attempts in Brazil and wants “to salute” his boyhood hero Ayrton Senna with a triumph on the former champion’s home track, said: “I think, in the end, I just didn’t maximise the first sector (of the lap), but the other two were ok.”

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