Williams were the Silver Arrows’ biggest rivals, with Valtteri Bottas third and Felipe Massa fifth, split by the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel, whose team mate Kimi Raikkonen was sixth. Daniel Ricciardo was seventh for Red Bull, ahead of Lotus’s Romain Grosjean and Force India’s Sergio Perez.
Kvyat ended up tenth after walking away from the wreckage of his heavily-damaged RB11. The Russian put a wheel on the grass on the run up to the hairpin and lost control, before hitting the barriers and barrel rolling to a halt. He will start Sunday's race from the pit lane, once his rebuilt car has been re-scrutineered.
WATCH: Kvyat crashes out spectacularly in Q3
The action-packed session began with Rosberg, who had complained of funny noises and feelings from his Singapore engine in FP3, reporting hesitations from it when he was leaving the garage in Q1.
That didn’t stop the Mercedes man from going quickly, however, albeit not quite as quickly as his team mate. It was Hamilton who set the pace as Mercedes stuck exclusively to the hard Pirelli tyres, the Briton lapping in 1m 33.595s and then 1m 32.844s. Rosberg was close, however, getting down to 1m 33.015s, but the best that Ferrari could do was Raikkonen’s 1m 34.171s.
A late problem for Max Verstappen ruined Sauber’s hopes; the Toro Rosso driver lost power and stopped at an odd angle at the hairpin, and the resulting yellow flags lost Marcus Ericsson - who had a hairy half spin at Spoon Curve earlier - his chance to go through. Verstappen was latterly penalised three grid places for parking his car in dangerous fashion.
The other Sauber of Felipe Nasr also suffered as a result of the caution, as did Marussia’s Alexander Rossi who will race at the stewards’ discretion after failing to record a lap within the 107 percent Q1 time requirement.
The man closest to the Q1 cut-off was McLaren’s Jenson Button, who ended up 16th and under two-tenths back of team mate Fernando Alonso - the last man to make it into Q2. The Englishman was unhappy however: his crew suggested he’d lost his Q2 chance through the yellows, he said it was their fault for not informing him of the correct engine setting to use ahead of his final run.
Ericsson ended up 17th, ahead of Nasr and the Marussias of Will Stevens and Rossi.
Q2 saw Rosberg turn the tables to set the pace with 1m 33.632s from Hamilton on 1m 32.789s. The closest anyone else got was Raikkonen on 1m 33.361s, with Massa right behind his old team mate on 1m 33.377s for Williams.
This time it was Nico Hulkenberg who led those who failed to make it through. The German occupied his habitual place of 11th with 1m 34.390s, ahead of Carlos Sainz on 1m 34.453s for Toro Rosso, Pastor Maldonado on 1m 34.497s for Lotus and Alonso on 1m 34.785s for McLaren. Verstappen didn’t record a time after his earlier problem left his STR10 out on the track. Hulkenberg, of course, takes a three-place grid penalty for his clash with Massa in Singapore.
Into Q3 and Rosberg and Hamilton were evenly matched on their first runs, with the Englishman taking the fastest sector one time away from the German, but Rosberg got the nod with the best sector two and three times and thus recorded 1m 32.584s to Hamilton’s 1m 32.660s after the latter locked up and ran wide at the hairpin.
Everybody was getting ready for their final runs when Kvyat lost control of his Red Bull approaching to the hairpin, tearing off both wheels and flipping before coming to rest. It was a very nasty looking accident, but the Russian was unharmed and got himself out of the car. However, with only 38s remaining, it was decided that the red-flagged session would not be restarted.
Thus, unless further penalties follow, the grid will provisionally line up: Rosberg, Hamilton; Bottas, Vettel; Massa, Raikkonen; Ricciardo, Grosjean; Perez, Sainz; Maldonado, Alonso; Hulkenberg, Button; Ericsson, Nasr; Verstappen, Stevens; Rossi, Kvyat (pit lane start).