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Lewis claims fourth pole in a row

2013-08-24 15:30

HAMILTON ON POLE: Lewis Hamilton claims his fourth pole position in a row for Mercedes. Image: AFP

SPA FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium - Lewis Hamilton secured his fourth consecutive pole position with a perfectly-timed lap during qualifying for the 2013 Belgian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver grabbed his fifth pole of 2013 and 31st of his career with a time of 2min1.012. Red Bull’s Mark Webber and team-mate Sebastian Vettel had gone successively fastest with laps of 2min01.325 and 2min01.200 respectively.


Hamilton's lap delivered a final stunning moment of drama at the very end of a qualifying hour packed with incident and shocks as sweeping rain produced rapidly-changing conditions.

Vettel wound up second ahead of Webber with Hamilton's Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg fourth ahead of Force India’s Paul Di Resta and McLaren’s Briton Jenson sixth.

It brought Hamilton his seventh front row start of the season on a memorable afternoon from start to finish.

In quintessentially capricious Spa conditions, with the track drying out following a pre-session downpour, the first part of qualifying saw the Caterham and Marussia teams create a surprise after making an early switch from “wet” tyres to intermediates.

This resulted in a dramatic final few minutes to Q1 that saw Alonso fastest ahead of a rejuvenated Hamilton with, remarkably, Guido van der Garde taking third for Caterham ahead of Rosberg.

Marussia also delivered a shock with Jules Bianchi 11th and Max Chilton 16th, his first experience of progressing.


Out went Williams duo Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas in 17th and 20th places along with luckless Jean-Eric Vergne, who had been fast in dry conditions, and his Toro Rosso team mate Daniel Ricciardo - the man tipped to be switching to Red Bull alongside Vettelin 2014.

The circuit continued to dry in Q2 and the drivers responded by switching to softer compound tyres as the top contenders, including Hamilton, Rosberg and Vettel, left their running until the final five minutes.

As the lap times tumbled, this produced a frantic finish that saw Raikkonen quickest in 1min48.296 and Hamilton scraping through to the top ten shootout in 10th place.

The men who missed the cut were Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg, Force India’s Adrian Sutil McLaren’s Sergio Perez, Caterham’s Giedo van der Garde - in a personal best qualifying slot of 14th - and the Marussia pairing, albeit in rarefied air mid-grid.

Just as Q3 began, rain fell again, a wave of raised umbrellas sweeping around distant 'Malmedy' and 'Stavelot' sections of the circuit. Adventurously, the whole field rushed out on slick tyres in pursuit of an early fast lap, except for one.

Just as quickly, the field lapped and returned to the pits for intermediate tyres leaving only Di Resta - who had delayed his start - on track, with the best choice of tyres, to clock 2min02.332.

Ferrari were swift in sending out Massa as the rain fell and he clocked a lap that saw him 1.727 seconds slower than the Scot as the remainder of the field risked running hard in heavy rain in the final minutes before it eased for a furious finale as the chequered flag fell.

Qualifying results
1 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 2min01.012
2 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull  2min01.200
3. Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull  2min01.325
4 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 2min02.251
5 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India  2min02.332
6 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 2min03.075
7 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus  2min03.081
8 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus  2min03.390
9 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 2min03.482
10 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 2min04.059 
11 Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Sauber  1min49.088
12 Adrian Sutil (Germany) Force India  1min49.103
13 Sergio Perez (Mexico) McLaren 1min49.304
14 Giedo van der Garde (Netherlands) Caterham  1min52.036
15 Jules Bianchi (France) Marussia  1min52.563
16 Max Chilton (Britain) Marussia  1min52.762 
17 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams  2min03.072
18 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso  2min03.300
19 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso  2min03.317
20 Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams  2min03.432
21 Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber  2min04.324
22 Charles Pic (France) Caterham  2min07.384
1-10: third and final qualifying session
11-16: second qualifying session
17-22: first qualifying session

Third practice
Second practice
First practice

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2013 Belgian GP weekend.
Read more on:    belgium  |  motorsport  |  f1

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