Rosberg going fastest with 1m 46.744s was hardly a surprise after the first runs in Q3, but Verstappen’s 1m 46.893s really was sensational, given he had missed the bulk of FP3 with gearbox issues, and must have set hearts fluttering at Mercedes. Neither improved on their second runs, but the only one to get close was Raikkonen. Having fallen off at Stavelot on his first run, which he aborted, the Finn made amends with 1m 46.910s to push Ricciardo out of the third place; the Australian had lapped in 1m 47.216s. Then Vettel, complaining that the rear end had lost all grip by the end of the lap, edged the second Red Bull down another place with his 1m 47.108s.

“It’s a great feeling. As soon as I crossed the line in Q3 on my fastest lap, I could see the fans going really wild so I knew it was a good lap. It’s been already an amazing weekend. To see so many fans around the track and feel their support is incredible and I’ve been enjoying the whole week a lot, so to be second on the grid is fantastic. It would have been very difficult to get pole position. The chance is always there if you are that close and in sector two we were very strong, but we were missing some top speed. Tomorrow will be very interesting with the different strategies between us, Mercedes and Ferrari so I think it’ll be a good fight. Hopefully the supersofts will give me a bit more grip in the first few laps and then for sure I will drop off a bit but that’s my strategy. I will probably have to pit a bit earlier but we have to wait and see how the race goes. Big thanks to the team for such a quick turnaround and working so hard on getting me out on time in Qualifying.”