Belgian GP: Hamilton beats Vettel to pole as Force India stars

Lewis Hamilton beat Formula 1 world championship rival Sebastian Vettel to pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix in wet conditions.

Belgian GP: Hamilton beats Vettel to pole as Force India stars
Listen to this article

Rain that started to fall when drivers were heading back to the pits at the end of Q2 meant Q3 started in slightly damp conditions but with all drivers on slick rubber.

But with the rain intensifying, and Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas spinning coming through Blanchimont on his out-lap, everyone except the Racing Point Force India drivers went straight into the pits.

With both Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon having to abandon their subsequent attempt to set a time on slicks, the former after a big moment at Eau Rouge, all drivers opted for intermediates.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen both had spells at the top before Vettel went fastest with just under three minutes remaining with a lap of 2m02.466s.

While Hamilton lost a lap to an off-track moment on his second flier, Vettel improved his time to a 2m01.188s.

It came down to a battle on their final fliers, with Hamilton posting a 1m58.179s to take pole – 0.726s clear of Vettel.

Esteban Ocon claimed third late on with a lap 3.672s off the pace in improving track conditions, with teammate Sergio Perez completing a second-row lockout for the revitalised team despite an off at the chicane.

Haas driver Romain Grosjean and Raikkonen ended up on the third row, with Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo taking the fourth row.

Kevin Magnussen was the slowest of those to set a time in Q3, ending up ninth, with Bottas knowing he will start from the back thanks to grid penalties and not returning to the track after his out-lap.

Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly was the fastest of those eliminated in Q2 in 11th place, half a second away from a slot in the top 10.

His final lap was compromised by teammate Brendon Hartley triggering a yellow flag by spinning in front of him when the rears locked when he hit the brakes for the first hairpin – although he only lost two tenths of a second compared to his personal best in that sector.

Hartley's spin meant he did not improve on his second run and ended up 11th, and led to him asking the team to investigate what the cause of the rears locking.

Sauber pairing Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson had both been in the top 10 in Q2 but ended up 13th and 14th respectively.

Leclerc improved on his second attempt, but was two tenths slower than Hartley and four-tenths off his Q1 pace.

Ericsson was around a quarter-of-a-second slower, but did not return to the track for a second run.

Nico Hulkenberg, who will start at the back thanks to grid penalties incurred for a change of the whole Renault engine package yesterday – then another turbo change this morning – did not run in Q2 and was classified 15th.

Renault driver Carlos Sainz was 0.088s slower on his second run than the time he had set on his first, meaning he was bumped into 16th place and eliminated in Q1.

Sainz complained about a lack of rear grip over the radio after being jumped by Ericsson in the dying seconds of the session.

McLaren's Fernando Alonso also failed to improve on his second run despite a tow on the Kemmel Straight from teammate Stoffel Vandoorne.

Alonso set personal best times in the first and second sectors, but lost time on the run through the last sector and ended up 17th ahead of Williams duo Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll.

Vandoorne was slowest, 0.390s behind Alonso after not being close enough to his teammate to get a tow - setting a time 0.367s slower in the first sector.

Cla Driver Chassis Engine Time Gap
1 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes Mercedes 1'58.179  
2 Germany Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari Ferrari 1'58.905 0.726
3 France Esteban Ocon  Force India Mercedes 2'01.851 3.672
4 Mexico Sergio Perez  Force India Mercedes 2'01.894 3.715
5 France Romain Grosjean  Haas Ferrari 2'02.122 3.943
6 Finland Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari Ferrari 2'02.671 4.492
7 Netherlands Max Verstappen  Red Bull TAG 2'02.769 4.590
8 Australia Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull TAG 2'02.939 4.760
9 Denmark Kevin Magnussen  Haas Ferrari 2'04.933 6.754
10 France Pierre Gasly  Toro Rosso Honda 1'43.844  
11 New Zealand Brendon Hartley  Toro Rosso Honda 1'43.865  
12 Monaco Charles Leclerc  Sauber Ferrari 1'44.062  
13 Sweden Marcus Ericsson  Sauber Ferrari 1'44.301  
14 Spain Carlos Sainz Renault Renault 1'44.489  
15 Spain Fernando Alonso  McLaren Renault 1'44.917  
16 Russian Federation Sergey Sirotkin  Williams Mercedes 1'44.998  
17 Canada Lance Stroll  Williams Mercedes 1'45.134  
18 Belgium Stoffel Vandoorne  McLaren Renault 1'45.307  
19 Finland Valtteri Bottas  Mercedes Mercedes    
20 Germany Nico Hulkenberg  Renault Renault    
shares
comments
F1 reclaims Spa record from Porsche's LMP1 car
Previous article

F1 reclaims Spa record from Porsche's LMP1 car

Next article

Ocon uncertainty shows F1 structure "probably wrong" - Hamilton

Ocon uncertainty shows F1 structure "probably wrong" - Hamilton
The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon Prime

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s teammate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy Prime

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Prime

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Prime

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second-best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot.

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Prime

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2022 Formula 1 season came to a close at the Yas Marina Circuit, where the battle for second in the standings was decided, the wins in a season record extended and a retiring four-time world champion bowed out on a high. Here's how we rated the drivers

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022
The factors that stopped Perez catching Leclerc in Verstappen's Abu Dhabi triumph Prime

The factors that stopped Perez catching Leclerc in Verstappen's Abu Dhabi triumph

Max Verstappen ended the 2022 Formula 1 season in fitting fashion with a dominant drive to victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. But behind him, early season rival Charles Leclerc achieved his target of securing the runner-up spot with a well-executed a one-stop strategy to beat Sergio Perez, whose pursuit on a two-stop strategy was hampered by several critical factors

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022
Why the impact of FIA’s anti-bouncing metric is hard to judge Prime

Why the impact of FIA’s anti-bouncing metric is hard to judge

Faced with drivers complaining about the long-term health effects of car ‘bouncing’, the FIA stepped in to deal with it. JAKE BOXALL-LEGGE explains how the so-called ‘Aerodynamic Oscillation Metric’ works, and asks if it is fit for purpose?

Formula 1
Nov 20, 2022