Sebastian Vettel takes pole position at Spa Francorchamps
Hamilton splits the Red Bulls and starts on the front row.
Senna out-qualifies his team mate with seventh on the grid.
Pastor Maldonado has some anger management issues!
Sebastian Vettel: “It was a difficult session all in all,” he said. “Q1 and Q2 with the tricky conditions, and the circuit drying up very quickly and it being tricky on inters – the main target was to get through.
I didn’t feel comfortable right in the beginning, but in Q2 we made a big step forward. I rediscovered Spa in a way and found some better lines than all weekend and in Q3 we were quite sure it was dry but also quite sure if it didn’t rain it would be down to the last lap.
I wasn’t really happy yesterday or this morning, but we did the right steps to come back and especially when it was drying up. If you would put your money on that around here, all in all we got the timing right, especially in the last qualifying session it was feeling good and we got it together all the time.
I was trying to make my way around in the last two laps , trying to get temperature in the tyres, trying to push as hard as I could.
Lewis was right in front of me a couple of seconds ahead and I saw him locking up, last thing. I was happy with the car towards the end in the dry and it seemed to get quicker and quicker. Not an easy session with conditions changing and right after it finished it started to change again, but here, as we saw today, anything is possible.
It is one of those races, anything can happen from start-to-finish, we will see, the best forecast around here is to look up and see what is happening!
We had a good balance in the end in the dry, the beginning of qualifying I didn’t really feel comfortable. Even in the wet we found direction and it should be ready for tomorrow, it is a long race so I am looking forward to it.”
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m48.298s 2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m48.730s + 0.432 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m49.376s + 1.078 4. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m50.256s + 1.958 5. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m50.552s + 2.254 6. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m50.773s + 2.475 7. Bruno Senna Renault 1m51.121s + 2.823 8. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m51.251s + 2.953 9. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m51.374s + 3.076 10. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m52.303s + 4.005 Q2 cut-off time: 2m04.625s Gap ** 11. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 2m04.692s + 1.924 12. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 2m04.757s + 1.989 13. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 2m05.150s + 2.382 14. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 2m07.349s + 4.581 15. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 2m07.777s + 5.009 16. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 2m08.106s + 5.338 17. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 2m08.354s + 5.586 Q1 cut-off time: 2m07.194s Gap * 18. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 2m07.758s + 5.945 19. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 2m07.773s + 5.960 20. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 2m09.566s + 7.753 21. Jerome D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 2m11.601s + 9.788 22. Tonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 2m11.616s + 9.803 23. Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 2m13.077s + 11.264 24. Michael Schumacher Mercedes no time
James Calado takes maiden pole
Lotus ART dominate in Belgium
James Calado took his first GP3 pole position for Lotus ART after an epic battle for pole position at Spa-Francorchamps today. The British driver finished just 0.088 seconds ahead of his teammate and Series leader Valtteri Bottas proving that the reigning champions are still the team to beat this season.
Heavy rain overnight meant the drivers faced difficult conditions for this morning’s qualifying. The weather is notoriously changeable at the Belgium track, and in the end it came down to which team had the best tyre strategy. The track was damp but drying when the lights turned green, and the field headed out on track on wet weather tyres.
As the drivers got to grips with the notoriously tricky track the first half of the session was a battle between Series front-runners Alexander Sims, Adrian Quaife-Hobbs and Bottas with the three drivers swapping quickest lap times as the track dried and times started to tumble.
With ten minutes left the session came alive. Lotus ART was the first team to take a weather gamble and switch their drivers to slick tyres. As the lead of the timesheet continued to change Bottas was nine seconds off the pace on slicks, and it started to look like the team had been too eager to switch tyres. With the chequered flag in sight it was impossible to tell which tyre choice would pay off, but with three minutes to go Calado grabbed the top spot on slicks by 1.447 seconds. As the rest of the field crossed the line they were unable to match the Brits rapid time. Bottas settled for second ahead of Melker who briefly held the top spot, Antonio Felix Da Costa and Quaife-Hobbs.
Status Grand Prix’s Alexander Sims was a casualty of the conditions and will start from seventeenth
after just missing out on a flying lap on his new slick tyres.
GP3 Series will be back on track this afternoon for Race 1 of the weekend at 17:20 local time.
Christian Vietoris takes Spa Pole
Racing Engineering driver quickest in wet qualifying session
Christian Vietoris has made a strong impression in today’s qualifications at Spa-Francorchamps. The German driver set the quickest laptime on his final lap in a wet session and in difficult track conditions. Scuderia Coloni Luca Filippi finished P2, 1.4s slower than the German.
The rain was still falling over the Belgium circuit as the pitlane opened for the thirty minute session. The first laps were tricky with cars spraying a lot of water and drivers struggling to stay within the track limits on a slippery track. Vietoris was quickly on pace and moved up to the top of the timesheets in the early stages. It was Series leader Romain Grosjean who eventually bettered the German’s laptime by 0.1s. Filippi joined in on the battle together with Marcus Ericsson, but Vietoris reclaimed the top spot at mid-session, just as Sam Bird lost control of his car at Turn 6 putting an early end to his session.
As the session progressed, some parts of the track started to dry up, but all the cars remained on wet weather tyres. Adam Carroll moved up to P2 while Charles Pic found some extra pace to better Vietoris’ time by 0.6s just as the German left the pits for his final stint. With two minutes left on the clock, Filippi improved to take the top spot, 0.2s faster than Pic. The Frenchman slowed down to a stop unexpectedly at Turn 17, prompting the yellow flags. Vietoris and Filippi were then both on a flyer, the German setting fastest sectors 1 and 2. It was eventually Vietoris who passed under the chequered flag with the best laptime 1.4s quicker than the Italian’s. Pic maintained P3 and will start ahead of Bianchi, Michael Herck, Ericsson and Carroll.
It was a more complicated session for Series leader Romain Grosjean and title rival Giedo van der Garde. The Frenchman will start from P8. The Dutchman who will start from P11 will have to finish ahead of Grosjean if he wishes to keep his title hopes alive.