Lewis Hamilton secured his sixth consecutive pole position of 2015 in commanding style as he dominated qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday.
The reigning World Champion looked untouchable throughout the session, eventually claiming pole position with a lap of 1m47.197s, which was 0.458s faster than his Mercedes AMG PETRONAS team-mate Nico Rosberg.
The Mercedes duo were almost in a qualifying session all of their own in Belgium, with third placed Valtteri Bottas 1.340s behind Hamilton’s pace setting time in the leading Williams Martini Racing entry.
Romain Grosjean put in a strong performance to set the fourth fastest time of the session for his Lotus F1 Team, but his five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change will see him start in ninth.
As a result of Grosjean’s penalty, Sergio Perez will start fourth for the Sahara Force India team as the Mexican put in one of his strongest qualifying efforts of the season.
2014 Belgian Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo will start fifth for Infiniti Red Bull Racing, ahead of the second Williams of Felipe Massa, while the second Lotus of Pastor Maldonado will start seventh alongside the disappointing Sebastian Vettel, who didn’t appear to get a good lap in the session.
Completing the top ten behind the penalised Grosjean will be the leading Scuderia Toro Rosso of Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr, who did a good job to make it through into the top-ten shootout.
Nico Hulkenberg could not join team-mate Perez in that top-ten shootout, and qualified eleventh in his Force India, and will be joined on the sixth row of the grid by the second Red Bull of Daniil Kvyat, who couldn’t match his practice efforts where he was always around the top six.
Marcus Ericsson was the only other driver of the five eliminated in Q2 to set a time, and will start thirteenth for the Sauber F1 Team.
Kimi Raikkonen had been looking good all weekend but a mechanical issue saw him stop on track before he was able to set a time in the second Ferrari, while Max Verstappen decided not to participate in Q2 with his ten-place grid penalty for an engine change.
Felipe Nasr was a casualty of Q1 in the second Sauber, as were the two disappointing McLaren-Honda drivers, Jenson Button ahead of Fernando Alonso, although both will start on the back row following their many grid drop penalties for engine changes. In total, Button has a fifty-place drop and Alonso fifty-five-place penalty after both changed engines twice over the weekend.
As expected the two Manor F1 Team drivers were at the back, with Will Stevens ahead of Roberto Merhi by 0.151s, although both will start ahead of Verstappen, Button and Alonso.
Spa-Francorchamps Qualifying Result
|5||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Force India-Mercedes||1m48.599s|
|6||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Red Bull-Renault||1m48.639s|
|10||55||Carlos Sainz Jr||ESP||Toro Rosso-Renault||1m49.771s|
|-||-||Eliminated in Q2||-||-||-|
|11||27||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||Force India-Mercedes||1m49.121s|
|12||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Red Bull-Renault||1m49.228s|
|14||7||Kimi Raikkonen||FIN||Ferrari||No Time|
|15||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Toro Rosso-Renault||No Time|
|-||-||Eliminated in Q1||-||-||-|