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GP Week : Issue 208
QUALIFYING F1 race fans around the world could have been forgiven for going to bed on saturday night safe in the knowledge that sunday’s Belgian Grand prix was a race for third. Such was the Mercedes team’s clear speed advantage – going on to two seconds a lap around the lengthy Spa-Francorchamps layout – that there was no other conclusion. Unless of course ... Ultimately, it was Nico Rosberg who took pole, yet again delivering at exactly the right time. For Lewis, it was again a familiar story – something inter vening to cost him pace at just the wrong time. This week it was again brakes: “This is a circuit where, as on all circuits, you need to have confidence in the brakes. You saw a couple of times in Q3 when I was just going straight on because the left brake wasn't working and then for some reason – I don't really know why – it went into glazing ... (but) who knows, it might be a blessing in disguise. “If you look at the previous years, P2 is the best place to start here so I feel quite blessed that this is the case. I started on pole here last year and Sebastian flew past me down the top straight, so I think it gives you the most opportunity here at the start.” Apart from the fact that qualifying took place in fairly consistent (Inters) drizzle, the big news was Red Bull’s decision to try a low-downforce set-up in order to partially overcome what would other wise have been a terminal lack of straight-line speed, both here and at Monza. To a fair degree, it worked, with both Red Bulls next in line, ahead of the rest. It is likely that Daniel Ricciardo would have joined Sebastian Vettel (who’d sat out P2 with an electrical problem) on the second row but for an attention- grabbing moment on the outside of Blanchimont, which looked hair-raising from the in-car ... “I had a moment on Blanchimont; that corner is tricky in the wet. It's never full, it's always a lift or a dab of the brakes and knowing that the chequered flag was just there at the end of the session, I just pushed it a bit too much. I guess in hindsight it cost a bit of time, but you never get the perfect lap in these conditions. Spa is unique, as the track is so long and some parts of The race was for third ... it seemed fORmulA 1 Round 12 bElGIAN GP – qualifying POS # DRIvER TEAM Q1 Q2 Q3 LAPS 1 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 2:07.130 2:06.723 2:05.591 22 2 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 2:07.280 2:06.609 2:05.819 22 3 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 2:10.105 2:08.868 2:07.717 24 4 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 2:10.197 2:08.450 2:07.786 21 5 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 2:10.089 2:08.989 2:07.911 21 6 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 2:09.250 2:08.451 2:08.049 23 7 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 2:11.081 2:08.901 2:08.679 22 8 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 2:09.885 2:08.646 2:08.780 21 9 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 2:08.403 2:08.833 2:09.178 20 10 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 2:10.529 2:09.272 2:09.776 22 11 26 Daniil Kvyat STR-Renault 2:10.445 2:09.377 16 12 25 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Renault 2:09.811 2:09.805 13 13 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 2:10.666 2:10.084 16 14 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 2:11.051 2:10.238 17 15 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 2:10.898 2:11.087 16 16 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 2:11.051 2:12.470 14 17 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 2:11.261 9 18 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 2:11.267 8 19 4 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 2:12.566 8 20 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 2:13.414 4 21 45 Andre Lotterer Caterham-Renault 2:13.469 9 22 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 2:14.438 9 Q1 107% Time 2:16.029 Okay readers, you dream up the caption for this post-qualifying image .... 29 GPWEEK.com // 29 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> BELGIUM PARTNERS: