Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg has pipped Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to clinch pole position for the 44 lap Belgian Grand Prix with team-mate Lewis Hamilton already set to start at the back of the grid due to engine penalties.
In a session that could have seen the Silver Arrows pole position under-threat, it wasn’t to be as Nico Rosberg put Mercedes on the front row of the grid and out-qualifying Red Bull’s Max Verstappen by only a tenth of a second.
Rosberg posted a 1:46.744 on his Q3 lap to finish 0.149 seconds clear on Verstappen who claimed his first front row grid start of his career after a gearbox scare forced him out in the morning’s final practice session.
Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen needed a stronger second run after slipping into the gravel trap at Campus but the Finn managed to beat team-mate Sebastian Vettel to third on the grid with both SF16-H racers sitting on the second row.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo qualified in fifth position and struggled to match his team-mate Verstappen, especially through the first sector.
Force India pairing Sergio Pérez and Nico Hülkenberg took sixth and seventh respectively.
Both Williams of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa qualified in eighth and tenth with McLaren’s Jenson Button splitting the duo in ninth position following Massa’s costly lock up at La Source on his final flying lap which failed to see him improve his time.
Haas’ drivers Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutiérrez qualified in 11th and 13th respectively with Renault’s Kevin Magnussen sitting in-between them in 12th.
Gutiérrez will be demoted five places however, due to the stewards penalising him after FP3, in which the Mexican slowed through Raidillon and impeded Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein flying lap.
The other Renault of Jolyon Palmer claimed 14th to give the Enstone-based outfit it’s best qualifying result of the season with Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr. qualifying in 15th and Manor’s Wehrlein the slowest in Q2 taking 16th.
Sauber’s Felipe Nasr whose first flying lap time was deleted after exceeding track limits, qualified in 17th place and ahead of qualifying debutant for Manor Esteban Ocon who placed 18th and the second Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat once again struggled to match team-mate Sainz Jr and finished a lowly 19th.
The second Sauber of Marcus Ericsson, the aforementioned Lewis Hamilton and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso who are all forced to take grid penalties, finished at the back with Alonso unable to set a lap time after his MP4-31 came to a stop on his first run.
The Full 2016 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix Qualifying Results Classification provided at the link: http://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2016/races/949/belgium/qualifying.html
Written by Michael Terminello