Mercedes was once again in a league of its own in the qualifying session for the Belgian Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton smashing the previous Spa track record to head a one-two for his team.
Ferrari almost out - Q1
Haas driver were the first to hit the track as they were still trying to make up for the lost Friday practice sessions. Romain Grosjean set a time of 1m45.073 to go 0.304 faster than his team mate Kevin Magnussen.
However, the American team’s lead did not last long as Mercedes posted shocking times with Hamilton registering a 1m42.323 to go over eight tenths of a second than the rest of the field. Valtteri Bottas came in second with his flying lap, highlighting Mercedes’ utter dominance.
The biggest question was whether Ferrari drivers could get themselves through into Q2. In the end, they succeeded with Vettel posting the 13th, Leclerc the 15th fastest time to narrowly survive the first qualifying segment.
Kimi Räikkönen, Romain Grosjean, Antonio Giovinazzi, Nicholas Latifi and Kevin Magnussen were eliminated at the end of the first qualifying session.
Ferrari eliminated - Q2
Mercedes used their superiority and sent its drivers on the Yellow medium compound to give them a better starting tyre for the 44-lap race. Verstappen did the same with his RB16.
The Racing Point drivers tried to mimic the fastest trio, using the medium compound to start the race on the supposedly better race tyres. However, neither Lance Stroll nor Sergio Perez managed to get themselves through to Q3, meaning that they needed to go out for a second time on the soft compound.
Despite being in no danger, the Mercedes duo and Max Verstappen rolled out on to the track on a new set of soft compound to prepare themselves for the all-important Q3 session. As per regulation, drivers need to start the race on the set of tyres with which they set their best time in Q2, so Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen all abandoned their hot laps at the last chicane.
Daniil Kvyat, Pierre Gasly, Charles Leclerc, Sebastian Vettel and George Russell were out at the end of the second qualifying segment.
Mercedes unbeatable again - Q3
With his first flying lap, Hamilton showed that there is no real chance for his team mate to stay in contention for the pole position. In the end, the Briton posted a 1m41.252, smashing the previous track record around Spa. Bottas completed the Mercedes front row, albeit Max Verstappen was only 0.015s slower than the Finn driver.
Daniel Ricciardo confirmed Renault’s speed on the fast Spa track, securing the fourth position on the grid for tomorrow’s grand prix. McLaren completed a successful qualifying session by getting both its cars into Q3.
Although Alex Albon set the fifth fastest lap, he was just under half a second off the best lap time of his team mate Verstappen. The Racing Point duo of Perez and Stroll ended up 8th and 9th fastest respectively.
|3||33||Max Verstappen||RED BULL RACING HONDA||1:43.197||1:42.473||1:41.778||17|
|5||23||Alexander Albon||RED BULL RACING HONDA||1:43.418||1:42.193||1:42.264||15|
|7||55||Carlos Sainz||MCLAREN RENAULT||1:43.322||1:42.478||1:42.438||15|
|8||11||Sergio Perez||RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES||1:43.349||1:42.670||1:42.532||15|
|9||18||Lance Stroll||RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES||1:43.265||1:42.491||1:42.603||15|
|10||4||Lando Norris||MCLAREN RENAULT||1:43.514||1:42.722||1:42.657||17|
|11||26||Daniil Kvyat||ALPHATAURI HONDA||1:43.267||1:42.730||12|
|12||10||Pierre Gasly||ALPHATAURI HONDA||1:43.262||1:42.745||12|
|15||63||George Russell||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||1:43.630||1:43.468||11|
|16||7||Kimi Räikkönen||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||1:43.743||6|
|17||8||Romain Grosjean||HAAS FERRARI||1:43.838||6|
|18||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||1:43.950||6|
|19||6||Nicholas Latifi||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||1:44.138||6|
|20||20||Kevin Magnussen||HAAS FERRARI||1:44.314||8|