Yet Another Mercedes Pole Position – Hamilton Takes Pole In Belgium

Lewis Hamilton has taken a fourth consecutive pole position for Mercedes by putting in a last minute lap to rob Paul di Resta of pole position. The Scotsman correctly read the weather and seemed to be safely on top until Rosberg then Webber, Vettel and finally Hamilton took the top spot.

As if on purpose, rain fell from the sky merely minutes from the beginning of the session. It wasn’t the torrential rain of Canada 2011, but it was enough to prompt the drivers to use the intermediate Pirelli compound. As you could expect, the sooner you set a lap on a dry track that’s getting wetter, the better. In line with such, Pastor Maldonado led a traffic jam of drivers to the pitlane exit almost three minutes before Qualifying got underway.

Green light and the grid filed around to start their timed laps. Pastor Maldonado was the first man to start a lap but spoiled it by overshooting the chicane at Les Combes. He wasn’t the only man struggling with conditions however, as Adrian Sutil, Max Chilton, Nico Hulkenberg and Romain Grosjean all sliding wide at the bus-stop chicane. Traffic also played its part today, Lewis Hamilton for example battling both Marussias for several laps. He finally passed Jules Bianchi before overshooting Les Combes and falling back behind the Frenchman.

The rain eased to a spit and the track began to dry, but was still to wet for the slick tyres. As can happen in Spa, one part of the track called for wet tyres while another part was much drier and would accommodate the dry compounds. The back-markers, thinking that they had nothing to lose, went out on the dry tyres. Van der Garde was the first man to set a lap on dry tyres but didn’t improve on his lap time. The mid-field and front-runners fitted new intermediate compounds and lighted up the time sheets with the lap times simply tumbling downwards on the drying track.

Giedo van der Garde on the dry tyres set a stunning lap and finished third overall, while Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi also progressed to Q2. Charles Pic, who ran on the intermediate tyres, was twenty-second, and last. Pastor Maldonado was the first man knocked out of Qualifying and will start tomorrow’s race in seventeenth. Jean-Eric Vergne was eighteenth and joined in the knockout zone by Daniel Ricciardo in nineteenth. Valtteri Bottas was twentieth for Williams while Esteban Gutierrez was twenty-first for Sauber.

With the unpredictability of Q1 ringing loudly in their ears, no one hesitated to get out on track when Q2 began. With the track drying, it was even harder to decide which tyres to run. Kimi Raikkonen elected to use the dry compounds but locked up into the bus-stop chicane on his first flying lap.

Sooner than you can say “change the tyres”, the track had dried and everyone came out on the dry Pirellis. Giedo van der Garde ran circles around the Marussias while Alonso, Webber, Vettel and Hamilton put themselves at the top of the timesheets. Nico Rosberg, stunningly, was thirteen seconds shy of the top time and finished sixteenth and last with the checkered flag out but on his last attempt went third.

Felipe Massa made it through to Q3, as did Jenson Button. Romain Grosjean, Paul di Resta and Kimi Raikkonen. Nico Hulkenberg was eleventh, Adrian Sutil twelfth, Sergio Perez thirteenth, Giedo van der Garde in a fantastic fourteenth, Jules Bianchi fifteenth and Max Chilton sixteenth.

The rain started again but the rush to get out on track saw everyone go out on track on the dry tyres – all except Paul di Resta who had intermediates. While the nine remaining cars had to pit to change tyres without setting a single lap, di Resta had a fully clear lap on the driest that the track would be all session. His benchmark lap time was a 2.02.332 and suddenly, the rain came down. The next man across the line was Felipe Massa who went 1.7 off di Resta’s time while Mark Webber crossed the line 2.7 off. Vettel crossed the line 3.2 off di Resta’s time, Hamilton was 2.2 shy of the top time and Raikkonen was 3.3 slower. Rosberg came the closest with .5 off di Resta’s time but couldn’t dent the Force India’s time.

Then, just as Paul di Resta pitted and seemed to be safe in first until Nico Rosberg crossed the line and took first from him. To make matters worse, Mark Webber came across the line to demote di Resta to third, followed by Vettel to took first and finally Lewis Hamilton who grabbed pole position.

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Sebastian Vettel
  3. Mark Webber
  4. Nico Rosberg
  5. Paul di Resta
  6. Jenson Button
  7. Romain Grosjean
  8. Kimi Raikkonen
  9. Fernando Alonso
  10. Felipe Massa
  11. Nico Hulkenberg
  12. Adrian Sutil
  13. Sergio Perez
  14. Giedo van der Garde
  15. Jules Bianchi
  16. Max Chilton
  17. Pastor Maldonado
  18. Jean-Eric Vergne
  19. Daniel Ricciardo
  20. Valtteri Bottas
  21. Esteban Gutierrez
  22. Charles Pic
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