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Lewis Hamilton will start tomorrow’s Belgian Grand Prix from pole position after topping the timing sheets in an exciting qualifying session.
Hamilton was the last man to post a lap time around Spa and his 2:01.012 lap time was enough to knock Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, off pole position. Vettel’s teammate, Mark Webber, qualified third – just ahead of Niko Rosberg.
Paul Di Resta ended up qualifying fifth but it could have been much better for the Scot as Di Resta was the only driver to go out on the intermediate tyres at the start of Q3 and set his lap time before the rain came. With just seconds to go the rain stopped again though and the other drivers managed to set faster lap times.
It was a good day for Jenson Button, who managed to put his McLaren sixth on the grid. It was a different story for Ferrari though, with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa only managing to qualify in ninth and tenth respectively.
The rain started just before Q1, meaning that all of the drivers went out on intermediate tyres. Maldonado was the first driver to start a fast lap, but he soon found himself off the track as he tried to adapt to the conditions. Adrian Sutil and Nico Hulkenberg also went off track at the bus stop chicane.
The two Mercedes drivers set the early pace, with Hamilton and Rosberg taking it in turns to top the leader board. The Red Bulls soon reacted though and soon found themselves occupying the top two positions.
As the rain stopped and the track began to dry out, the teams had to decide on weather to switch to the dry tyres or not.
The paddock’s bottom teams decided to take the risk and go out on the dry tyres, a decision that paid off. Both Marussia drivers ended up getting through into Q2, with Jules Bianchi in 15th and Max Chilton just behind in 16th. Giedo Van Der Garde beat them both in his Caterham though, qualifying in 14th place.
The success for these two teams was bad news for Toro Rosso and Williams, with both teams seeing their drivers go out in Q1.
The rain had completely stopped for the start of Q2, meaning that the drivers went out on the dry tyres. The session belonged to the Lotus and Red Bull drivers, with Kimi Raikkonen ending up top of the time sheet. Button saved his day with seconds remaining, putting his McLaren into fifth place.
It was a different story for his teammate, Sergio Perez, with the Mexican only managing to qualify in 13th place. It was a disappointing day for Adrian Sutil (12th) and Nico Hulkenberg (11th).
The start of Q3 saw everybody, apart from Di Resta, going out on dry tyres. The rain began to fall yet again however, causing all of the drivers to come back into the pits. Whilst all of this was going on, Di Resta was out on track and set his lap time of 2:02.332 before the rain got heavy.
Massa was the first to reappear from the pit lane and slotted into second place. The rain then got very heavy, meaning that it was looking impossible for anybody to beat Di Resta’s time. Hamilton and Rosberg put themselves into second and third, with Webber posting a strong lap-time in fourth.
With seconds to go it was looking like Di Resta was going to get his first pole position in F1. The rain cruelly stopped though and the other drivers took full advantage.
Rosberg was the first to take the pole away from the Force India driver, but his stay at the top was short-lived. Webber took it away from him, but then he himself was demoted by his teammate and championship leader, Vettel.
Hamilton was the only man left on track with a chance of getting pole position and he took it with a superb lap. The 2008 World Champion posted a lap time of 2:01.012 to secure his fourth pole position in-a-row.
Belgian GP Qualifying Result: