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GP Week : Issue 226
Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3 LaPs 1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:48.908 1:48.024 1:47.197 16 2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:48.923 1:47.955 1:47.655 17 3 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:49.026 1:49.044 1:48.537 19 4 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:49.353 1:48.981 1:48.561 17 5 Sergio Perez Force India 1:49.006 1:48.792 1:48.599 16 6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:49.664 1:49.042 1:48.639 17 7 Felipe Massa Williams 1:49.688 1:48.806 1:48.685 15 8 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:49.568 1:48.956 1:48.754 17 9 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:49.264 1:48.761 1:48.825 17 10 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:49.109 1:49.065 1:49.771 12 11 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:49.499 1:49.121 12 12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:49.469 1:49.28 11 13 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:49.523 1:49.586 12 14 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:49.288 No Time 8 15 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:49.831 No Time 10 16 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:49.952 6 17 Jenson Button McLaren 1:50.978 6 18 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:51.420 6 19 Will Stevens Manor 1:52.948 6 20 Roberto Merhi Manor 1:53.099 7 Q1 107% Time 1:56.532 FORMULA 1 Round 11 BELGIAN GP – Qualifying QUALIFYING The last time Lewis Hamilton didn't start on pole position was the Spanish Grand Prix, seven races ago. Since then, Saturday afternoon has belonged to the reigning champ, and Spa-Francorchamps proved no exception. Hamilton's lap made everyone else look second rate, thrashing even teammate Nico Rosberg to take pole by a comfortable 0.4s. The difference between the two drivers, in reality, was less than that but a scrappy lap from Rosberg meant he wasn't in a position to challenge Hamilton for pole. From a broader team perspective it hardly mattered given the two silver cars locked out the front row and third best Valtteri Bottas was the thick end of a second off even Rosberg's pace. The Spa-Francorchamps circuit plays to the strengths of the Mercedes. With the best engine on the grid the long blasts through the Ardennes in the first and third sectors suit their power unit, while good downforce levels mean it's not giving much up in the middle sector while still acheiving good top end speed. The fastest car through that middle sector was the Red Bull, gaining a measurable chunk of time only to lose it all when the road straightened out. That was expected to leave Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat's job difficult while Max Verstappen, who started at the back thanks to an engine change, wouldn't have the most straightfor ward of tasks climbing back to right rightful place in the pack. Of engine penalties, McLaren can now easily boast the regard for the most ever in a single race. Taking two new power units apiece for Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso meant, combined, they received more than 100 places worth of penalties, of which they served just two each. Surprisingly, Ferrari failed to fire in qualifying. Sebastian Vettel was just ninth on the grid and Raikkonen 14th before penalties were applied, though his progress was dictated by falling oil pressure in Q2. Still, there was little in the way of pace, and with the prominence of Mercedes powered cars in the top ten the implication is the Ferrari is still well short of the Mercedes on power. It's also an endorsement of Williams, Lotus and Force India, the latter always seeming to do well around Spa. From second to ninth was split by just 0.3s so it's likely, had Vettel not run wide at the final turn, that he could have been somewhat further up the order. But it's a worry for Ferrari as it imples that while it has good downforce it is inefficient - the advantage gained in the corners is lost when the circuit is weighted more heavily in favour of aero efficiency. Heading towards Monza, where power is far more important that downforce, the Scuderia will have to find alternatives to 23 GPWEEK.com // 23 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> BELGIUM PARTNERS: six in succession for Hamilton