F1 2013 Belgian Grand Prix qualifying result: Hamilton bids for Spa victory

PUBLISHED: 20:54 24 August 2013 | UPDATED: 16:48 25 August 2013

Lewis Hamilton celebrates grabbing pole position for the 2013 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

Lewis Hamilton celebrates grabbing pole position for the 2013 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]


FORMULA 1 racer Lewis Hamilton battles for his second victory at Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday after snatching pole position in a thrilling 2013 Belgian Grand Prix qualifying session.

2013 F1 Belgian Grand Prix qualifying result

Provisional Spa qualifying result:

1 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

2 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)

3 Mark Webber (Red Bull)

4 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)

5 Paul Di Resta (Force India)

6 Jenson Button (McLaren)

7 Romain Grosjean (Lotus)

8 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)

9 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)

10 Felipe Massa (Ferrari)

11 Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber)

12 Adrian Sutil (Force India)

The 28-year-old Mercedes AMG Petronas star from Hertfordshire dramatically went fastest after an eventful wet-dry qualifying session in Belgium.

The last man out on a drying track in Q3, Hamilton stole pole position from F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel with a stunning final lap of 2m 01.012s.

It was the Mercedes team’s eighth pole position in the past nine races, and Hamilton’s fourth consecutive pole. It was also the third Mercedes pole in five years at Spa.

Hungarian Grand Prix winner Hamilton was stunned at today’s qualifying result. He said: “A fourth pole in a row just feels fantastic.

Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position in qualifying for the 2013 Belgian Grand Prix at a damp SpaLewis Hamilton claimed pole position in qualifying for the 2013 Belgian Grand Prix at a damp Spa

“The team did a great job to get the timing at the end of Q3 absolutely perfect and I was in exactly the right track position.

“I was so surprised when I came across the line to hear I was P1. I went wide in the first corner and I thought I was down on time from the read-out on my steering wheel.

“I just kept pushing and did a strong middle sector, then I could see I was catching Sebastian [Vettel] towards the end, so it was a great feeling.”

The Red Bull Racing pair of Vettel and Mark Webber will start second and third respectively on the Spa grid, with Hamilton’s Silver Arrows colleague Nico Rosberg on the second row.

Racing at Spa-Francorchamps is rarely straightforward due to the fickle microclimate of the surrounding Ardennes hills.

After a damp qualifying session was hit by rain, weather forecasts currently predict similar mixed weather conditions for Sunday afternoon’s race.

Hamilton, who won at Spa in 2010 for McLaren, added: “I hope we can try and fight it out tomorrow, whatever the conditions.

“The Red Bulls are still ahead of us in terms of performance, so results like this feel even more special because I know I’ve got the absolute maximum out of myself and out of the car.”

Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel after qualifying for the 2013 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel after qualifying for the 2013 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

Rosberg qualified fourth and was fastest of all until the dying moments of the qualifying session.

The Mercedes star said: “It was a very difficult qualifying session and unfortunately luck wasn’t on my side today [Saturday].

“When I took the chequered flag, I was quickest at that time, but the track got quicker and quicker for the guys who had got the extra lap and eventually ended up in the top three positions, so I must be happy with fourth place on the grid.

“Our car seems pretty good in all conditions here this weekend, which makes me hopeful of a strong race performance tomorrow afternoon.”

Belgian Grand Prix

* Race distance: 44 laps (308.052km/191.424 miles)

* Start time: 14:00 (local)/12:00 (GMT)

* Circuit length: 7.004km/4.352 miles

* 2012 winner: Jenson Button (McLaren MP4-27) 44 laps in 1hr29m08.530s (207.344km/h)

* 2012 pole: Jenson Button (McLaren MP4-27) 1m47.573s (234.393km/h)

* Lap record: Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren MP4-19) 1m45.108s (238.931km/h)

Mercedes F1 team principal Ross Brawn congratulated his drivers for their top four grid positions.

“It was obviously a very tricky session for everybody this afternoon and we were far from perfect but we did enough things right to get the job done,” said Brawn.

“In the closing seconds of Q3, track position was critical and Lewis – running last on the road on the final lap – did a great job with the opportunity he had.

“We were not sure how it would turn out as DRS had been disabled for that final lap, then we saw his time in the second sector and started to get excited.”

The 2013 Belgian Grand Prix circuit at SpaThe 2013 Belgian Grand Prix circuit at Spa

Brawn added: “Nico didn’t get the extra lap but he was fastest of all when his session ended and it’s a fantastic team result to have two cars starting in the top four after such a mixed qualifying.

“We are expecting similar conditions tomorrow [Sunday] so we will have a good chance of success. But we will have to run a smart race and make the right decisions to do achieve it.”

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff described Hamilton’s final qualifying lap as “magic”.

Wolff said: “That was a very tough qualifying session and another one where it was easier to get things wrong than right.

"I hope we can try and fight it out tomorrow, whatever the conditions."

Lewis Hamilton after claiming pole position

“It was very close indeed for Lewis in Q2 when he made it through by just two-hundredths of a second and that showed how challenging the entire hour was in terms of tactics and strategy.

“It was crucial to get on track at the right time and our result in Q3 was a great team performance.

“Both drivers produced special laps. Nico was top of the timesheets when he took the chequered flag and then Lewis delivered another of his magic laps, especially in the middle sector.

“Our engineers have clearly found a good set-up for these mixed conditions and we are expecting more of the same kind of weather tomorrow.”

F1 2013 FIA World Drivers’ Championship

Standings after Round 10:

1 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 172pts

2 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) 134

3 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 133

4 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 124

5 Mark Webber (Red Bull) 105

6 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 84

With Paul Di Resta’s Force India qualifying fifth and Jenson Button sixth fastest for McLaren, four Mercedes-Benz powered cars qualified in the top six.

Button said: “In the dry we were relatively happy with our pace, and in the wet I reckon it was a bit better still.

“I think P6 for us was an okay outcome, therefore. However, we’re still lacking a little bit compared with what we’d hoped for here, which shortfall we suspect is the result of an aero efficiency issue. We’ll have to analyse that thoroughly before Monza.

“But, going back to Spa, our timing was just a little bit off at the end of Q3, which enabled the top three guys to put in laps quicker than ours.

“Even so, the fact that there are three Brits in the top six is just great.”

Button, who took the Belgian GP chequered flag last year, added: “Looking forward to tomorrow, if the weather is wet, or changeable, as we expect it to be, then things could get tricky for all the front-runners, because I think we’ve all used our supply of inters.

“Anyway, let’s see what happens. It should be an exciting race.”

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: “In the portion of Q3 during which the track was wet, Jenson was the second-quickest driver out there.

“So, although P6 is a decent place from which to start, he would have been closer still to the sharp end of the grid had the rain persisted until the end of the session.

“Having said that, he did a great job and is well placed to drive a competitive race in tomorrow’s race, which we expect will be a wet one.”

The 2013 Grand Prix of Belgium starts at 1pm on Sunday.

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