Sao Paulo, Brazil (SportsNetwork.com) - Nico Rosberg claimed his 10th pole of the 2014 Formula One season after beating his Mercedes teammate and championship rival, Lewis Hamilton, by a slim margin in Saturday's qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Rosberg topped Hamilton for the pole with a lap in 1 minute, 10.023 seconds, which was only 0.033 seconds quicker than Hamilton's lap. Rosberg also broke the track qualifying record time of 1:10.646 here at the Interlagos circuit, set by Brazilian Rubens Barrichello in 2004.
Heading into Sunday's 71-lap Brazilian GP -- the penultimate race of the season -- Rosberg trails Hamilton in the world championship standings by 24 points. Hamilton has won the last five grand prix -- Italy, Singapore, Japan, Russia and the United States.
Rosberg has been perfect this weekend in Brazil. He topped the time charts in the first two practice sessions, held on Friday, and again in final practice, which ran prior to qualifying. Rosberg was fastest in all three rounds of qualifying.
"Perfect job only if it works out (Sunday)," Rosberg said. "Up to now, of course, it's been going well. This is the best place to be for tomorrow. But of course, I need to make it happen in the race, unlike Austin (U.S. Grand Prix), for example."
In Austin last Sunday, Rosberg started on the pole, but Hamilton passed him for the lead just before the halfway point and went on to victory.
A total of 75 points are up for grabs in the last two races. The winner of the Brazilian GP will receive 25 points, while the winner of the Nov. 23 season- ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will collect 50. Abu Dhabi will award double the amount of points for drivers and teams.
This is the 11th time this season that Mercedes has started 1-2 in a grand prix.
"Qualifying was great fun, and Nico did a great lap," Hamilton said. "I lost a little bit of timing in turn 10 (during final lap) and perhaps a little bit in turn 1. That's what qualifying is all about, and it should always be that kind of gap, being that close. So it was really exciting, and I hope people enjoyed it."
Williams' Felipe Massa, a Brazilian, qualified third in front of his home crowd with a lap in 1:10.247.
"It's very emotional to be here in Brazil and to have a competitive car, starting in the top-three," Massa said.
Massa's teammate, Valtteri Bottas, took the fourth spot, followed by Jenson Button from McLaren and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, the four-time F1 world champion and winner of last year's Brazilian GP.
McLaren's Kevin Magnussen qualified seventh, while Fernando Alonso from Ferrari, Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and Alonso's teammate, Kim Raikkonen, completed the top-10.
For the second grand prix in a row, the field will feature 18 cars instead of 22 since Caterham and Marussia are both missing the race due to their current financial issues. Marussia ceased its operations earlier this week.