Bridgestone Motorsport's Saturday Update
Lewis Hamilton (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) will start from pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix after using Bridgestone's medium compound Potenza tyre to lap the 7km Spa Francorchamps circuit in a time of 1min 47.338secs, over three tenths faster than his nearest rival.
Hamilton set his time under grey skies but on a dry track in the Ardennes-located circuit. His championship rival, Felipe Massa (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro) was second fastest. Hamilton's team- mate Heikki Kovalainen and Massa's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen will start tomorrow's race from third and fourth respectively.
Fifth fastest was Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber F1 Team) who will be joined on the third row by Fernando Alonso (ING Renault F1 Team). The fourth row consists of Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing) and Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber F1 Team), whilst Scuderia Toro Rosso team-mates Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastian Vettel were the final drivers to qualify in the top ten.
In the morning session Heidfeld went fastest using the medium compound to set a 1min 47.876secs. He was almost three tenths faster than Kovalainen, who was second fastest. Alonso was third fastest in this session. The morning session started wet, and Bridgestone's wet and extreme wet tyres saw use. Today's fastest lap time, a 1min 46.037secs, was set by Kovalainen in Q2 using the medium compound.
Hirohide Hamashima - Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development, said:
"Today we saw some interesting running as the weather conditions were quite typical for Spa, meaning that they are difficult and far from ideal for drivers, but interesting for spectators. We are happy with the tyre performance we have seen, with both compounds providing good lap times and grip given the cold and damp conditions. As you would expect, the harder compound takes slightly longer to warm-up to operating temperature, but managed correctly very good lap times compared to the medium compound were possible. Tomorrow's race is likely to be all about strategy and skill in whatever weather the Ardennes gives us."
Stats of the Day
Total amount of laps completed by all drivers: 553 laps
Average number of laps per driver: 28 laps
Most laps by a driver: 37 - Heidfeld, Alonso
Fastest lap: 1min 46.037secs - (Q2)
Compounds used: Hard / Medium / Wet / Extreme