Lewis Hamilton will start tomorrow’s Belgian Grand Prix from pole position after a dominating showing in qualifying. Hamilton will share the front row of the grid with team-mate Nico Rosberg who simply did not have an answer for the Brit who is eager to get back to winning ways after a disappointing Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Williams of Valtteri Bottas lines up on the second row of the grid alongside Romain Grosjean who qualified in an impressive fourth place. Hungarian Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel who is still in the championship fight has a lot to do tomorrow starting in 9th place.
Today’s result means that Hamilton has secured the pole position trophy, something that went to Rosberg last year and was the first time since Michael Schumacher in 2001 that one driver has taken six consecutive pole positions.
Mercedes have been the class of the field all weekend with the momentum swinging from one side of the garage to another since practice on Friday. Despite a huge tyre blowout yesterday, Rosberg has looked unfazed and was well in the fight until Hamilton turned on the style when it mattered in Q3.
— MERCEDES AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) August 22, 2015
From the off it was clear that Williams had a strong package and looked like the nearest challengers to Mercedes along with Ferrari. Although Williams looked as if they could challenge they did not get off to the best of starts. Felipe Massa could count himself lucky that he even made it out on track in Q1. He appeared late on to the circuit after the team had to reprogramme his Williams.
Mercedes were the only team in Q1 to not run on the option tyres and did have a bit of a scare when other teams switched to the options and times tumbled. Sergio Perez, Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, Grosjean, Daniil Kvyat, Nico Hulkenberg and Pastor Maldonado all set better times towards the end of the session meaning that the Mercedes runners had to go again to secure their place in the next round of qualifying.
Despite the track getting quicker and standings changing, one thing that didn’t change was the pace of the McLaren. The Honda powered team were already facing a combined penalty between the two drivers of 105 places. To add insult to injury the Honda power upgrade which some believed could see the team rival Ferrari for power failed to live up to expectations.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) August 22, 2015
Q2 began which more of the same with Mercedes setting the pace by quite a margin as they ventured out onto the soft tyres for the first time. The pacesetters were lucky to get their time in when they did and Raikkonen was responsible for bringing out the one and only red flag of the session. The team believe that a drop in oil pressure was to blame for the car grounding to a halt on the exit of Stavlot.
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) August 22, 2015
Max Verstappen opted not to run in Q2. The Dutchman who was born in Belgium reported a lack of power in the closing stages of Q1; he already went into the session with a ten-place grid penalty after an engine change. Verstappen will have more options open to him tomorrow by saving his tyres and should come through the pack.
Both Lotus cars managed to make Q3 for the first time since Canada at a track that is suiting their car due to its Mercedes engine in the back. Despite this Grosjean, who received a ban at Spa in 2012 for causing a huge collision at the start, has been hit with a five-place penalty for a gearbox change.
There was no place in the top ten shootout for Hulkenberg who lost his place in the final stages of Q2, like Kvyat, Marcus Ericsson, Raikkonen and Verstappen.
Q3 got underway with Hamilton instantly laying down a marker, his first attempt four tenths of a second quicker than Rosberg’s time – it would have been closer if it wasn’t for Rosberg making a mistake towards the end of the second sector, but it was clear than Hamilton was in the mood and there was more to come.
Hamilton would further improve his time and end the session +.405 seconds quicker than his team-mate. It was Hamilton’s tenth pole position of the season and one that was secured in fine fashion.
With there being such a long run to the first heavy breaking point at Spa, perhaps starting 2nd place on the grid will be an advantage.
Below is the full result from qualifying. However, with penalties the grid will surely change ahead of tomorrow’s race.
1. Lewis Hamilton
2. Nico Rosberg
3. Valtteri Bottas
4. Romain Grosjean
5. Sergio Perez
6. Daniel Ricciardo
7. Felipe Massa
8. Pastor Maldonado
9. Sebastian Vettel
10. Carlos Sainz
11. Nico Hulkenberg
12. Daniil Kvyat
13. Marcus Ericsson
14. Kimi Raikkonen
15. Max Verstappen
16. Felipe Nasr
17. Jenson Button
18. Fernando Alonso
19. Will Stevens
20. Roberto Merhi