SAO PAOLO, November 8- Nico Rosberg secured pole position for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix and his 10th this season by the narrowest of margins on Saturday when he outpaced world championship leader and Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
In a tense and dramatic qualifying session, both men broke the lap record several times as Rosberg finally topped the times with a best lap in one minute and 10.023 seconds.
This was just 0.033 seconds faster than Hamilton’s best lap and enabled him to complete a clean sweep, having topped the times in all three practice sessions.
The previous best qualifying lap at Interlagos was set by Rubens Barrichello who clocked 1:10.646 in 2004 for Ferrari.
Rosberg’s success earned him the Pole Position Trophy as best qualifier of the season and earned Mercedes their record-equalling 18th pole of the season, drawing level with Red Bull.
Hamilton had done his best to outpace his title rival, but knew too that with a lead of 24 points in the championship he can afford to finish second on Sunday and in the season-ending race in Abu Dhabi, where double points will be scored, to take his second drivers’ crown.
Brazilian Felipe Massa was third fastest for Williams and greeted by a standing ovation from the fanatical Interlagos crowd. His Williams team-mate Valtteri Bottas was fourth quickest.
Jenson Button, without a confirmed drive or seat in Formula One next year, proved his enduring talent by qualifying fifth for McLaren ahead of four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull.