Vettel masters Spa weather to take pole
Sebastian Vettel has taken yet another pole position, taking almost half a second on Lewis Hamilton who will start from second place. Mark Webber set the third fastest time in an incredibly unpredictable qualifying session, mostly thanks to the weather.
At the start of qualifying, the track is still very wet but nearly everybody decides to go out early as more rain is expected in the next 5 minutes.
2 minutes later Michael Schumacher's qualifying is already over as he spun off violently after Les Combes and came to a standstill at Bruxelles. It looked like his left rear wheel came off before the crash, but Michael himself was undecided about the cause of his crash.
With everybody on intermediates, it is Mark Webber who is fastest as the track dries up. 12 minutes have gone and a clear dry racing line is starting to appear on the track.
6 minutes later and with just 4 minutes to go, times have dropped to 2:01's, with Button now in the lead ahead of Hamitlon, Vettel, Alonso, Webber and Senna. Most drivers keep running on their set of inters, as a worn set should normally work better on a drying track.
Force India though think differently and pit their drivers 6 minutes before the session's end.
At the end of the session, only Heikki Kovalainen made a big improvement as he went up into P16 in the final seconds, even though he had to pass some traffic along his flying lap. It also means Di Resta is out of qualifying, together with Trulli, Glock, D'Ambrosio, Liuzzi, Ricciardo and Schumacher who obviously had a car failure.
Just like in Q1, the beginning of Q2 is marked with a lot of on-track action. Rain however is now light and expected to reduce.
Mark Webber is fastest halfway into the session, 4 tenths faster than his teammate who is ahead of Button.
At that moment Adrian Sutil overcooked it at the Raiddillon, spinning on the inside curb of the lefthander at the top of the corner. He bumped into the barrier and a bit further parked his car alongside the track for it being too damaged.
Race control subsequently decided the car needed to be cleared first, so the session was red flagged for 10 minutes.
As the session restarted with 6:21 left on the clock, cars were queing at the pitlane as a lot still have to make sure they go through to Q3. Alonso for instance is only 11th.
3 minutes from the end, Buemi is suddenly fastest, showing that the track is again improving rapidly. Times are about 2:06 but after Alonso, Button and the Red Bulls passed the finish line, the benchmark is 2:03.317 as set by Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton then came up into a lot of traffic, including Barrichello who overcooked his own lap in Blanchimont. The Brazilian then held up his own teammate, who got pushed aside in bussstop by Lewis Hamilton, the latter has catched the pack while getting a time in to secure Q1. Right after that incident, where Hamilton clearly was in the right, Maldonado overtook Hamilton again after La Source, the next corner around the track. Both men touched and appeared to have driving into each other, dropping front wing debris on the track.
At the same time, Senna, Pérez and Alonso were still giving their all to get into Q3. All three men succeeded, meaning that Jenson Button was the biggest name to not make it into Q3.
Early on in Q3, Alonso is on track on the option tyres, just like Massa and later on Webber as well. Lewis Hamilton stayed in the pits a bit longer to allow the team to fix the damage on his car, including sticking some tape on the right sidepod shell while also fitting a new front wing.
Nico Rosberg meanwhile rejoins the pitlane as he realises the intermediates are now the wrong tyre choice.
With the drivers fitting dry tyres, the DRS system is active again as well. Webber has gone fastest 3 minutes from the end of the session, posting 1:50.875. Vettel is second fastest, Hamilton third. Alonso is down in 8th.
Vettel takes charge with 1 minute left. On his final attempt Webber is unable to improve whereas Hamilton and Vettel could. Vettel threfore took yet another pole, ahead of Hamilton and Webber.
|5||8||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||2:05.091||2:03.723||1:50.552||23|
|15||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||2:06.000||2:07.777||12|
|16||12||Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Cosworth||2:05.621||2:08.106 (*)||17|
|18||15||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||2:07.758||8|
|DNQ||7||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG||No time||1|
|Q1 107% Time||2:10.339|
(*) Pastor Maldonado was later handed a 5 place grid penalty and starts from 21st on the grid.