Rosberg seizes pole position for Belgian Grand Prix

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

Nico Rosberg has secured pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix, going a tenth quicker around Spa-Francorchamps than Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen. Championship leader Lewis Hamilton will start from the back after taking grid penalties for engine changes.

The high temperatures - 35 degrees ambient - certainly didn't scare Grosjean, as he was out as soon as the track was opened. Team mate Gutierrez followed, with a minute later another bunch of drivers. Both Haas drivers therefore managed to record their first times without traffic while the big guns were still getting into their cars.

As times were recorded, Palmer and Nasr saw theirs annulled after exceeding the limits of the track at turn 4.

Lewis Hamilton at the same time completed a fairly slow lap, 2.3s off of the eventual fastest man in Q1. It didn't really matter that much anyway, as he amassed penalties worth of 55 grid positions due to power unit changes, which ensured him of a starting position at the back of the grid. Fernando Alonso was in a similar boat, but he saw his car shut down at Raidillon on his out lap, denying him a chance to set any time at all.

The Ferrari's took control of Q1 halfway into the session, ahead of Rosberg. Both Red Bulls were also comfortably through on a single flying lap, along with Bottas. All others opted for a second run, which in the end saw Massa go fastest.

While Q1 was mostly run on super softs, Q2 got off to show that some drivers were eager to see how the softs were behaving under the hot conditions. Verstappen, Hulkenberg and Perez did complete their initial laps on super softs. Rosberg, Raikkonen, Vettel and Ricciardo immediately opted for new softs.

Interestingly, both Ferrari's did come out again, and did set faster sector times on the super softs, but ended up returning to the pits, most like to be able to start the race on the softs.

In Q2, Rosberg was fastest, a tenth ahead of Verstappen on the super softs. The Force India's slotted into 3rd and 4th, followed by Raikkonen and the two Williams drivers. Jenson Button eventually only just managed to get through to Q3 after a late second run on the super softs.

Valtteri Bottas took the honours to start Q3, but he was quickly overhauled by the two Force India drivers, even though Sergio Perez went very wide through Stavelot. Verstappen more than half a second quicker, and Rosberg yet again another tenth. Daniel Ricciardo ended up a full second down on the pace setter with his first lap, while Kimi Raikkonen was properly driving through the gravel at Stavelot before aborting his first lap.

On the second laps, Rosberg didn't improve, and neither did Verstappen, but they kept their first row starting positions. Behind them though, Raikkonen managed an impressive lap to take third, ahead of Vettel. Daniel Ricciardo did manage to improve, but having two Ferrari's in between him and his team mate won't help the feeling that Verstappen is giving him a hard time.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarQ1Q2Q3Laps
16Nico RosbergMercedes AMG1:48.0191:46.9991:46.74412
233Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:48.4071:47.1631:46.89312
37Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:47.9121:47.6641:46.91013
45Sebastian VettelFerrari1:47.8021:47.9441:47.10814
53Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:48.4071:48.0271:47.21612
611Sergio PerezForce India Mercedes1:48.1061:47.4851:47.40712
727Nico HulkenbergForce India Mercedes1:48.0801:47.3171:47.54312
877Valtteri BottasWilliams Mercedes1:48.6551:47.9181:47.61212
922Jenson ButtonMcLaren Honda1:48.7001:48.0511:48.11415
1019Felipe MassaWilliams Mercedes1:47.7381:47.6671:48.26312
118Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari1:48.7511:48.316-12
1220Kevin MagnussenRenault1:48.8001:48.485-12
1321Esteban GutierrezHaas Ferrari1:48.7481:48.598-12
1430Jolyon PalmerRenault1:48.9011:48.888-12
1555Carlos SainzToro Rosso Ferrari1:48.8761:49.038-9
1694Pascal WehrleinMRT Mercedes1:48.5541:49.320-11
1712Felipe NasrSauber Ferrari1:48.949--6
1831Esteban OconMRT Mercedes1:49.050--7
1926Daniil KvyatToro Rosso Ferrari1:49.058--6
209Marcus EricssonSauber Ferrari1:49.071--6
2144Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:50.033--4
NC14Fernando AlonsoMcLaren HondaDNS--1

Q1 107% Time: 1:55.279 Note - Ericsson penalised 10 grid places, Alonso 35 places, Hamilton 55 places, all for unscheduled power unit element changes. Gutierrez penalised 5 places for impeding Wehrlein in FP3. Alonso failed to set a time within the Q1 107% requirement - races at stewards' discretion.