Rosberg takes pole at wet Spa-Francorchamps

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Belgium, Circuit De Spa-Francorchampsbe

Nico Rosberg claimed pole position on a wet Spa-Francorchamps circuit. While team mate Hamilton repeated mistake after mistake, Rosberg kept his cool in the wet. Sebastian Vettel became the closest challenger, even though being 2s down on Mercedes.

Bianchi and Chilton became the first men to set a time with Bianchi the fastest of the two in 2:16.474. They soon dropped down the ranking order as others went dramatically faster. Hamilton notably went fastest 10 minutes into the session on intermediates, even despite missing his turn in point on the final chicane, costing him at least a full second to return to the racing track.

In the early stages, it's not immediately obvious what is the best tyre to be on. Hamilton and Rosberg are on the intermediates while Alonso, running a lower downforce set-up is going for the full wets and goes 5th fastest.

With 8 minutes left, both Mercedes have considerably improved their pace and set 2:07's while Ricciardo sits third, 3 seconds down.

Meanwhile Andre Lotterer had trouble keeping his car on the track, going off repeatedly at Le Combes and sitting last after 15 minutes, 6 seconds down on his team mate.

For Esteban Gutierrez the weekend continued to be horrible as he parked his car alongside the circuit, effectively ending his qualifying following very troubled free practice sessions on Friday as well.

With 4 minutes left in Q1, most of the standing water has gone, triggering everybody to change to the intermediate tyres.

In the closing stages, Rosberg improved another few tenths to set the fastest time, ahead of Hamilton. The Williams and Ferrari drivers also comfortably went through, along with Vergne and Bianchi, both doing an impressive job in the wet conditions.

Pastor Maldonado also caused a short stir as he spun in the final corner, ruining a lap which would have been good enough to get through to Q2. Instead, he got eliminated by Magnussen. Behind him are Hulkenberg in 18th, Chilton, Gutierrez, Lotterer and Ericsson. This means that once again, rookie Andre Lotterer beat his team mate who knows the Caterham car thoroughly.

Q2 kicked off with Romain Grosjean taking to the track on intermediates, soon followed by many more, all on the same tyres. After setting his first timed lap, he spun at La Source, making him complain to his team about a rear end car issue. The spin was at similarly low speed as Maldonado's spin, so it may just indicate the difficult nature of the Lotus E22.

Halfway into the session, Hamilton popped up on top of the timesheet, ahead of Rosberg, Alonso, Bottas, Raikkonen and Massa. Ricciardo and Vettel are up next, ahead of the McLaren duo.

As the sun was still nowhere to be seen, the track only dried up very slowly, requiring inters throughout the entire session while no dry line became apparent. There is a slight improvement though, shown by Hamilton who went little more than half a second quicker than his best in Q1. Williams and Ferrari again proved the closest competitors in Q2, joined by the McLarens and Red Bull cars.

Eliminated are Kvyat in 11th, followed by Vergne, Perez, Sutil, Grosjean and Bianchi.

In Q3 Rosberg immediately set the benchmark with a 2:05.698 on intermediate tyre whereas Hamilton went wide through Turn 1 and was immediately destined to pursue his teammate. Sebastian Vettel set the third fastest time early on, but he proved 2 seconds slower than the Mercedes cars. The Ferrari's set 4th and 5th, ahead of Bottas, Ricciardo, the McLaren duo and Massa in 10th after the first set of timed laps.

In the very end, everybody tried to find some space on track and still run as late as possible as the sun was helping to make the track faster.

Hamilton however again made several minor errors on his final lap, later revealing he had a glaze on his left front brake that made his car pull to the right during his final qualifying laps. Vettel kept third, ahead of Alonso while Ricciardo posted the 5th fastest time, despite going off track at the high speed left hander of Blanchimont.

Results

Pos.NoDriverTeamQ1Q2Q3Laps
16Nico RosbergMercedes AMG2:07.1302:06.7232:05.59122
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG2:07.2802:06.6092:05.81922
31Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault2:10.1052:08.8682:07.71724
414Fernando AlonsoFerrari2:10.1972:08.4502:07.78621
53Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing-Renault2:10.0892:08.9892:07.91121
677Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes2:09.2502:08.4512:08.04923
720Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes2:11.0812:08.9012:08.67922
87Kimi RäikkönenFerrari2:09.8852:08.6462:08.78021
919Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes2:08.4032:08.8332:09.17820
1022Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes2:10.5292:09.2722:09.77622
1126Daniil KvyatSTR-Renault2:10.4452:09.377-16
1225Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Renault2:09.8112:09.805-13
1311Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes2:10.6662:10.084-16
1499Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari2:11.0512:10.238-17
158Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault2:10.8982:11.087-16
1617Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari2:11.0512:12.470-14
1713Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault2:11.261--9
1827Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes2:11.267--8
194Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari2:12.566--8
2021Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari2:13.414--4
2145Andre LottererCaterham-Renault2:13.469--9
229Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault2:14.438--9


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