Reigning world champion and current championship leader Sebastian Vettel used his Renault power to claim a front row start for tomorrow’s Belgian Grand Prix.
The Infiniti Red Bull Racing driver snatched provisional pole position in a banzai lap in drying conditions, but was denied just seconds later by Lewis Hamilton who crossed the line to take pole by less than one tenth of a second. Vettel’s team-mate Mark Webber will start from third on the grid.
Rain started just before the start of the thrilling session, soaking the 7km Ardennes track. As the shower passed drivers changed to the intermediate tyres. Caterham’s Giedo van der Garde’s bet to take on dry tyres seemed audacious at the time, but as the track dried the gamble paid dividends – the Dutchman easing into Q2 with the third quickest time. Sadly others, including van der Garde’s team-mate Charles Pic and the two Williams stuck to the inters and were eliminated in Q1. Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas (Williams) will line up 17th and 20th respectively while Pic starts 22nd.
With the rain staying away in Q2, the track continued to dry – not before a virtuoso performance from van der Garde to put the Caterham into 14th overall.
A further shower fell on the out lap in Q3, causing most drivers to return to the pits for the inter tyres. Force India’s Paul di Resta was the first to emerge and immediately set a quick time. As the rain intensified it looked as though no one would beat this lap, however conditions improved dramatically in the final minutes of the session. Nico Rosberg gave the first glimmer of hope, but it became a case of who crossed the line last would ultimately win. Hamilton was the last man standing, securing his fourth consecutive pole position. Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus F1 Team) were some of the earlier finishers and will start seventh and eighth ahead of the two Ferraris.