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Hamilton as surprised as Vettel by last gasp pole position in Belgium
Posted By: James Allen  |  24 Aug 2013   |  4:47 pm GMT  |  312 comments

For the second race in succession, Lewis Hamilton edged out Sebastian Vettel for pole position in the closing seconds of qualifying.

Hamilton’s career has been peppered with moments of inspiration and today saw another as he snatched pole for the Belgian GP from under Vettel’s nose in the closing stages of qualifying, as the rain fell.

It was the 31st pole position of Hamilton’s career and his fourth in a row this season -the first time he has done that in his F1 career. Vettel starts second tomorrow, with Mark Webber third, Nico Rosberg fourth ahead of Paul di Resta and Jenson Button.

“I was so surprised when I came across the line to hear I was P1,” said Hamilton. “I went wide in the first corner and I thought I was down on time from the read-out on my steering wheel. I just kept pushing and did a strong middle sector, then I could see I was catching Sebastian towards the end so it was a great feeling. I hope we can try and fight it out tomorrow, whatever the conditions. The Red Bulls are still ahead of us in terms of performance so results like this feel even more special because I know I’ve got the absolute maximum out of myself and out of the car.”

Hamilton would be the first to admit he had been chasing Vettel a bit when the track was dry, but once the rain came down in the closing stages, Hamilton found another gear, beating the German by two tenths of a second. It was as big a surprise to Hamilton as it was to Vettel and everyone else.

Hamilton dominated the Hungarian Grand Prix from pole position before the summer break and this pole – his fourth in a row this season – gives him a great chance to close the points gap to Vettel in the drivers’ table.

It stands at 48 points currently with a maximum 225 points available before the end of the season. He had not had the easiest weekend up to qualifying with difficulties during the practice sessions with getting the Mercedes balanced and getting the heat evenly into the tyres.

But now he has the track position advantage, he can be hopeful of holding off the Red Bulls down the long straights here, even if they were 10kms faster than him through the speed trap. This is placed at the top of Eau Rouge corner, but the straight that follows is long and the DRS activation zone is a long way down it. Mercedes has paid particular attention to balancing out gearing and drag so as not to get caught out in the race. Paddy Lowe, who moved from McLaren this year, has bitter experience of getting that wrong on Hamilton’s McLaren car last year here.

Mark Webber on his final F1 outing at Spa qualified third ahead of Hamilton’s Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg, while Paul di Resta almost took pole with an early gamble on intermediate tyres as the rain fell in Q3. He held provisional pole position for several minutes, but the rain suddenly eased in the closing moments of the session and with the track drying quickly in parts, it opened the door for Hamilton, Vettel, Webber and Rosberg to beat him. Jenson Button also excelled in the tricky conditions with sixth for McLaren.

Red Bull’s driver in waiting Daniel Ricciardo had a frustrating afternoon, on the wrong tyre at the wrong time along with his team mate in Q1, as three of the back markers took a gamble on dry tyres on a wet track. Guido van der Garde qualified an impressive 14th, with Jules Bianchi 15th and Max Chilton a career best 16th.

It was a disappointing end to qualifying for the Ferraris and Lotus cars; Romain Grosjean was just 7th, with Kimi Raikkonen 8th and Fernando Alonso 9th. At various stages all three had looked capable of challenging at the front.

BELGIAN GRAND PRIX, Spa Francorchamps, Qualifying
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 2m01.012s
2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 2m01.200s + 0.188s
3. Mark Webber Red Bull 2m01.325s + 0.313s
4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 2m02.251s + 1.239s
5. Paul di Resta Force India 2m02.332s + 1.320s
6. Jenson Button McLaren 2m03.075s + 2.063s
7. Romain Grosjean Lotus 2m03.081s + 2.069s
8. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 2m03.390s + 2.378s
9. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 2m03.482s + 2.470s
10. Felipe Massa Ferrari 2m04.059s + 3.047s

11. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m49.088s + 0.792s
12. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m49.103s + 0.807s
13. Sergio Perez McLaren 1m49.304s + 1.008s
14. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m52.036s + 3.740s
15. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m52.563s + 4.267s
16. Max Chilton Marussia 1m52.762s + 4.466s

17. Pastor Maldonado Williams 2m03.072s + 2.882s
18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 2m03.300s + 3.110s
19. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 2m03.317s + 3.127s
20. Valtteri Bottas Williams 2m03.432s + 3.242s
21. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 2m04.324s + 4.134s
22. Charles Pic

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Oh Ferrari!

Can we please have an uninterrupted HAM vs. VET scrap tomorrow? No engines, no alternstors, no tires! Hear that F1 Gods?


You better prey "Oh Kimi"!- because he was quickest in Q2 & he doesn't go too bad there...

As for Seb he seemed a bit shocked at Lewis pace and it was a bit poor to say seeing Lewis close up so fast on that last lap - that maybe he could've gone faster here and there and did not congratulate him. The RB9 is still the better package - that's evident with Webber so close too. So in truth Lewis has already shown he is more than a match- he will struggle to keep it tomorrow. But make no mistake anyone doubting Hamiltons pace now need to take a good long hard look at themselves. All my prediction about Hamiltons move to Merc were spot on as have been my Raikkonen expectations since joining Lotus- oh the joy.


Foolish is the one who will not watch Sunday!


Absolutely- this is only quali & the RB9 is the better car- make no mistake. The fact the Mark was so close just highlights that!. Should be a cracker Seb still has to be the favourite given both long and short run pace- same for Kimi- except for the wet 🙁 !


I'm going to be on a long haul flight during the race, so will miss this. My first miss in 2 years. Feeling the pain...


Vettel said: "Obviously I saw Lewis catching me up on the last lap and could see he was a bit quicker here and a bit quicker there."

That sounds rather complementary in that he is plainly saying Lewis was quicker in various parts. He did not say it was a car advantage, rather just saying what it was - Lewis was faster and catching him. Rosberg likely would have been faster too if he timed his lap a little later. Sometimes I think people want to see Vettel as being some sort of bad guy at every turn...


Position in Q3 and Q2 means very little, as the only goal is to make it through to the next stage of qualifying.

For example, Hamilton was 10th in Q2. Why? Because he was last across the line when the chequered flag fell at the end of Q2 and he started on his hot lap. Then as he came up to the last corner to be the final car to complete a Q2 lap, his engineer told him he was through to Q1 as he was in P10 and there were no more cars in front of him to push him down lower; so instead of finishing the lap he pitted. If he hadn't boxed he would, quite possibly, have been the quickest in Q2 as well as Q1.

Don't get me wrong though: I say this not in any way to knock Kimi.


I of course meant, "the quickest in Q2 as well as Q3".


As a fan, I feel bad that McLaren let Lewis go so easily. Merc seem to be doing everything McLaren didn't to bring out the best from Lewis, this is almost 2007 form again.


Lewis said on Bbc :"I just really feel fortunate to be in a position I'm in and to be able to express myself in the car.

"Plus use my talent to the max and have a car that's really beneath me and a team that's really behind me."

Says a lot about his former team IMO.


Yeah, I hate it when we get alternstors too. Please no alternstors 😉


LOL. And first comment too!

By now you all know I don't auto correct. But I should proof. Not like I'm on a schedule and under pressure like out host.


I think the weather will have an impact on the race.

However, outside the subject issue, I have one question for you Mr. James. This is re the pit position for the teams. In most GP the top teams have got their pit at the entrance. I think it should always be at the end because it has a potential to destroy their race. Assume, tomorrow rain start after the first lap and all the cars head to pit then top drivers such as vettel & hamilton might be stucked in their pit due to traffic and other cars where their garage is down the pit might come out infront.

Why such pit garage arrangement? I always ask to myself this. I feel it is unfare. Is there any other reason. Sorry I don't know much about the inside of F1.

Thank you James.


It is based on the order of last year's constructors championship


Don't they get their pick of garage based on the previous year's WCC? At Silverstone I think Williams had the last garage (farthest down the pit lane), which would seem to indicate that.

Also, higher-placed teams get bigger garage space. In Hungary for example RBR down to Sauber each got 5 garages, while Force India down to Marussia got 4. Check this link:

HUN GP Media Kit, Garage Allocations (note: 2.7mb pdf file)


FI gave up way too early...they could do better, really and should have pushed as you never know, never give up until it is won.

Hamilton did great, I was extremely surprised.

Massa and Alonso and Ferrari in general are soon going to be completely out of the contention.

Kimi has a tough job to do tomorrow too.

So all in all, phenomenal session, really enjoyed watching it! Vettel will win it again, but I really hope that somebody else can really give it a crack. Hamilton perhaps?


Shame for Ferrari but the race tomorrow will be a long one.


I still think Hamiltons stats are skewed because he has an engine with 30bhp more because of 'reliability enhancements' from 2008. After that, the FIA did not allow anymore 'reliability enhancements'.

AT least Vettels car has an advantage because of honest work.

Untill Hamilton drives an inferior engine to Vettel, and still beats him, I regard him 2nd place.

Tornillo Amarillo

Each driver wants the most legally dishonest car!


I think I know what you mean, and if my thinking I know, is the same as what you mean, then I agree with you. I think.... 😉


This is the way it is, the way it was and the way it always will be.


Yeah, the Mercedes engine is clearly the difference maker, Schumacher and Rosberg used it to storm to the title the last few years.


Forgetting that vettel has had the best car since the 2nd half of 2009!


That's why Webber has finished 2nd behind Vettel in every race and championship right???


First of all, Renault were allowed to 'catch up' in regards to horse power. If you followed F1 even remotely closely you'd know this.

Second, how can designing a great engine be considered dishonest? If you and a mate set out to build a car each and yours was quicker would that mean that you're somehow dishonest or that your mate should've built a faster car?

I think your bias is seriously clouding your judgement. I really hope you don't have to make any serious decisions in your career.


Merc has 30bhp more? Its wrong to get info from the pub.


Diatribe like this feels particularly out of place on an intelligent board such as JA on F1. Do us all a favour and take it PF1 Dean.


I think we know which posters are capable of rational and reasoned discussion about F1, and which aren't. Oddballs don't seem to last too long on this blog, thankfully.


Forgive me if my memory is faulty, but didn't Hamilton pursue a seat at Red Bull ?

I don't remember Vettel chasing a drive with one of the Mercedes engined cars....


Very good point!

Mike from Colombia

The only thing that is skewed here are the poster's opinions....for whatever biases he me have.


Dean I think your judgement is very skewed because doesn't Nico have the same engine in the same car ??

And as everyone has rightly pointed out- Renault had the last of the upgrades.

Doesn't the Red Bull have an Aero Advantage over the Mercedes?? Doesn't the fact that both Red Bulls were very close to the top tell you something. In changeable and wet conditions horsepower is negated & in fact nowhere near match for better aero and more progressive Renault power delivery .

Another sour grapes Looser or should I say "hater" - that's right Im holding L on my fire head just for you!. This from a Kimi fan who ended up 8th.


It's more than just engines at Mercedes, regardless, points made on Renault upgrade, and fuel efficiency, but Mercedes generally accepted power advantage, and the trend of Hamilton dominance over Nico, significant, but yet inconclusive.

Clearly, Hamilton has recently clicked up a notch, from a lofty place already. But things have really come together for him, recently.

I now pick Hamilton-Mercedes as favourite for the 2013 drivers championship.

But the media control, still managing fallout from the... ahem, test. Hamilton, such surprise at pole, (again, fourth, in a row)! Quel surprise!

'How could that have happened? Well, I'll take, and be grateful, and do my best in the race tomorrow. But it'll be tough... you know, we're so far behind on the race pace, and stuff...'.

Such surprise after the establishment of such a clear trend; how could he be that dull?

Good job, Lewy.


Would you bet $100 on Hamilton to be DWC? I sure as hell wouldn't, at this stage. He's 48 pts back people!! Almost 2 race wins back ... and the guy in front is in a very good car. So it's nothing like Alonso's lead last year, which even then needed two DNF's by Alonso and a big surge from Vettel to overcome!

I don't believe a clear trend has been established, re: Merc's race pace. It looked good at Silverstone (the first time it's looked decent all year), then normal service resumed in Germany, and then very good in Hungary. That's a better trend from earlier in the season, but it's in no way established that the Merc is on par with the RB9 on race pace.

That's why Hamilton and Rosberg want a wet race, and not dry. If the race is dry, I don't think Merc have a chance.


The Renault engine is incredible, where have you been these last few years? Incredible traction and great fuel efficiency. It might lack horsepower (barely) relative to the Merc but the only 2 tracks on the calander which require horsepower advantage are monza and Spa; other tracks have long straights but traction out of the hairpins before them is worth much more time.


Surprise! Surprise!! I think you are kiding yourself.


silly comment

Vettel's car advantage has been down to several dubious points such as going beyond Pirelli's tyre usage guides or an illegally flexing front wing. Just because it passed a pathetic test does not mean it did not break the rule that says it should not flex.

All teams push limits wherever they believe they can get away with it - whether that be with engines, tyres or aerodynamics.

Why not just be honest and say you are as biased against Hamilton as many are against Vettel?


They did refine the wing test a few times since.


Yes, lets talk about Pirellis tyre usage, and Hamiltons secret tyre test in may.

Why not be honest and admit Hamilton has been racing with an unfair BHP advantage over the Renaults, and hence Spa and Monza are called Mercedes tracks?



Everything flexes. It is the reality of materials. If test is designed to measure materials under certain force and it passes it means it met the specifications set out by FIA at the time. Since then those specifications were refined further.


I am well aware that everything flexes.

That is what is so wrong with F1 regs. The rule is very clear - it says the wing must not.

Ready my last sentence again - it is well beyond time that the FIA sorted out some regs that can be applied and then policed sensibly.

This point came about because Dean was saying that Hamilton's stats are false due to having the Mercedes engine. I was simply pointing out that the same argument could be applied to RB's aero package. If the FIA spent more than a tiny fraction of the sums spent by the teams in these areas this unfairness argument would not be possible.


Actually, if it passes the test, it is legal. 😉


I beg to differ. The regs clearly state that the wing must not flex. Later in the regs it states that this will be tested by applying a weight. Yes the red bull passes the pathetic test but it is simply not true that wing complies with all the regs.

It is about time that the FIA applied a little more effort in policing their regs than a tiny fraction of the effort the teams make to find a way around them.


Uh, what are you talking about? It was Renault that was allowed to "catch up" after the V8's were homologated. The Renault is more fuel-efficient, so they can race the same laps with less fuel (i.e. less weight).


Your info is wrong. Renault was allowed to catch up by way of Merc and others down tuning their engines.


How is it wrong? They were allowed to catch up by having others reduce their engine's performance. Which has in all likelihood tilted the balance in the Renault-powered car's favour since the ban on refueling.

Hope you're not one of the TLDR crowd ... some things can't be explained in 140 characters.


I suspect that if we saw Vettel in a Mercedes engined car we'd see a lot less of the "He can't pass" jibe. And also that if we saw Hamilton in a Renault engined car we'd hear a lot less praise for his passing ability.


If Vettel had been driving a Mercedes engined car for the last few seasons, there is one thing we definitely wouldn't see - Vettel's name as the winner of the last 3 WDC 🙂


Seriously, you think the McLaren was good enough to have beaten the Red Bulls in 2010, 11 and 12 and all that was missing was the 'magic' of Vettel?

Well, they say its a free country and I guess that means you are entitled to your opinion.

Perhaps when brains were being handed out you misheard and thought they said train and opted for a slow one, that way you could enjoy the scenery.


No? Maybe Vettel would have 4 world titles if hed been driving a McLaren. Hes proven he doesnt screw up under pressure like Hamilton in 2007.


You don't think vettels are skewed with having the best chassis?

For you info also, it was Renault that had the last upgrades.


They had one, but are still some way down on power to the Mercedes engines, hence Spa and Monza are called 'Mercedes tracks'.

And maybe you havent read my comment entirely, but I mentioned Vettels car advantage is down to honest hard work, not cheating rules and then have the FIA freeze development.


Podium places at Belgian GP since 2009:

Renault 8

Mercedes 5

Ferrari 2

Yeah, Mercedes track. 😀


James, can you please not let uninformed and clueless post here, it'd stop them from embarrassing themselves.


Please enligthen us what part of my post was clueless? Or is this reply the best you can offer against my claim Hamilton isnt playing fair?


I think maybe the clueless part referred to the fact that you have no idea how much power the Mercedes engine has, or the Renault for that matter. You only have to stand at the side of the track to see that the Red Bull produces significantly more down force than any of the other cars though....


I am with you


Great lap from Lewis! Fair play to seb for admitting after qualifying that he should have had pole and probably didn't push enough, I wish more drivers were as honest as he was to the media sometimes.

Poor effort from Ferrari but bring on tomorrow! Should be a cracker.


That's two races in a row now when Vettel has admitted that he didn't push hard enough in Q3 and lost out to Hamilton as a result. He's become complacent. If as a result he loses a world championship he should have won, he will only have himself to blame.


I have followed qualifying from the live timing on - so I may have missed something compared to those who watched it on TV - however it seemed to me that Ferrari made a blunder.

They called back Massa into the pits with more than 1 minute left in qualifying.

What for? Even if the track didn't seem to improve, letting him try one or two more laps wouldn't have hurt, as intermediates do not really degrade if you stay out a couple of laps more under the rain.

They seemed to make a similar mistake with Alonso doing a slow lap after his fast one.

It really seemed that they dropped their efforts too early (thinking it was not possible to improve) and then get punished for it as almost everyone improved.

Red Bull, by trying up to the last lap, lifted themselves from 9th and 10th place up to 2nd and 3rd, and now it's Ferraris down to 9th and 10th!


Maybe Massa ran out of fuel and had to go in the pits. Alonso did not take a slow lap but rather spun and missed out on the best conditions of the last lap.


Probably he (Alonso) is under pressure.


Most certainly, as he's the one that should go. The sooner the better, for he is the fraud Luca should have never even remotely considered hiring to start with.


another proof of what I have been thinking for years. Stefano Domenicali, lovely chap you are, but I am afraid you need to be let go!


Its the Ferrari drivers that made mistakes...not the team

1) Massa opted to run on inters **without** refueling, which meant that he had only one lap to set a time.

2) Alonso spun on his fastest lap, which explains why he was 10 seconds slower than Di resta at the end of his first lap.


I wouldn't say that Massa made the wrong call, it's just that he took a gamble which didn't pay off. By not refuelling he got a fairly dry track and managed to set a P2 time (behind di Resta, who had an even drier circuit), and when the other cars came around on their first laps they were way slower than him- except for Rosberg who had done an incredible lap. Had the rain not stopped the grid would probably have read di Resta- Rosberg- Massa.


I missed that. What a blunder - unless he didn't have enough fuel or tyres for another lap.

The Red Bulls actually slowed down on their second last lap to save the tyres, as they saw the track drying, and wanted to give the last lap their best shot at it.

Pretty impressive quick thinking on the feet by Webber. I'm not sure if Vettel felt the same or just had to slow because Webber slowed. Or whether it was a call from the pits.


23 November,2013. Lewis Hamilton said he was "surprised", "stunned", and "shocked" to take pole at the Brazilian GP today. The pole position was his ninth of the season and the fourteenth overall for Mercedes this year.



but why the perpetual surprise (in the media, that is)?

what are they covering?


I'm not sure why they're surprised about it either. Sure, Lewis has to pull the laptime at the death to pull it off, but given Merc's well documented tyre issues over the last two seasons they are typically generating more heat - which in shorter runs gives them more grip. I wasn't surprised by the least, and I'm sitting on the other side of the world!


Didn't look on at any point until the last lap, did it?

It's silly not to give credit when it's due.


Rosberg was fastest in Q2...

It would have been a surprise _not_ to see a Mercedes on pole, given previous form.

Still, good job by Hamilton - although his claims that Red Bull are 'still the fastest car' are seriously miss-guided (and strike me as somewhat arrogant).


"his claims that Red Bull are 'still the fastest car' are seriously misguided" - Really! Last time I checked the standings seem to agree with that statement.

Perhaps it was the use of "fastest" instead of "superior" that riled you.


Redbull has been fastest all weekend and if it's dry tomorrow, it will be as well.

I don't see anything 'miss-guided/arrogant' there.

Actually Redbull could have had a few celebrations on Saturdays if it wasn't for HAM always (last minute) snatching the cake out of their mouths.


If you recall correctly he was asked would he got pole in dry conditions and he replied saying that he thought unlikely as he believed Red Bull and possibly even Ferrari looked faster. You have no evidence to suggest otherwise.


Exactly- very foolish comments from some people - you could tell by his reaction that he was as surprised as anyone


"It’s silly not to give credit when it’s due"

Words for you to take to heart, Mr "Adrian Newey won the Last 3 WDC's".


Did I ever say that? Otherwise, why the quotes? If I did (don't recall that), then I take it back. It's clear that Vettel is a very good driver in a great car. Even in a great car, a driver still has to do the business, and Vettel has certainly done that.

As for you, it's clear you have an anti-Lewis bias, formed in reaction to over-enthusiastic Hamilton fans. As such, those same fans you detest have impacted on your views of Hamilton's ability. Doubt that's what you were going for, but there you are.

You sure you're not Tealeaf?


Coz that car struggles from track to track, but of course you don't know that because of 'selective vision' when watching these races.

Hopefully soon Merc will hit the next track and just have a perfectly balanced fastest car from the word go, as Redbull has for some time now.


"that car struggles from track to track"

It has not struggled from track to track. The Merc has consistently been the quickest car in qualifying this season. It's taken pole on slow and bendy circuits and on fast ones, in the wet and in the dry. Nothing is F1 this year has been as consistent as the qualifying superiority of the Mercedes.


To look at somebody's chances on pole or win I frequently check betting websites. Hamilton was not the favorite for pole, nor will be for the race. I know this isn't conclusive but those figures are meticulously calculated to prevent loss (as those companies are looking to get your money and not giving you money)

What i'm trying to say is to all the Hamilton [mod]: "give him some credit when he deserves".


It wasn't the quickest today. In the dry, the Red Bull is significantly faster, with less down force on the car-- The speed traps in FP2 showed the W04 near the bottom of the list, and the RB9 was near the top.

On the other hand, having a bit more down force for the wet may benefit Mercedes, if they sussed out tomorrow's weather well enough.


Umm, this is the first pole for Mercedes in the wet this year. Australia, Malaysia, and Canada have all seen Vettel grab pole in the wet.

So no doubt you'll be collecting on the bet you placed for a Mercedes pole in Belgium? I'm a Hamilton fan, and I wouldn't have put $20 on him for pole this weekend.

I think it's reasonably clear that Grant was talking about the Merc's race pace, that has been pretty hit-and-miss (and mostly miss this season), while the Red Bull has been near the sharp end at every race. Only in China did Red Bull have a car that wasn't one of the top 3 cars in a race, while every other team has had one or more stinker weekends.


I am confused. When we were chatting a few days ago, I seem to recall you were quite scornful of my suggesting that the car is the limiting factor in driver performance.

I have copied part of your post as an aide memoire:

'That’s certainly a point of view. Of course it’s a point of view in which the driver is assumed to be completely meaningless.'

Now here you are, clearly stating its the car that is the reason for superiority in qualifying. Now which is it, one or the other please 😉


Its one of their driver's that's the difference.


Well then there you have it....

Merc has been enjoying superb consistency this season....

Clearly you've only just been given the stats and haven't watched the weekends, coz if you had you would have seen Merc 'sandbagging' from track to track.


So Di Resta runs wide with all four wheels off the track on that first lap in Q3, and then Massa blatantly off-roads the exit of Eau Rouge not long after.

Nice to see those rules are still being applied as selectively as ever.


The rule says nothing about overtaking, it's about going off the track to gain an advantage. It's equally applicable in quali and race, and in the race, applicable regardless of whether or not an overtake is being made. The fact that the stewards only ever enforce it when two cars are side by side is an absolute joke.


Huh? What's the point?! They're shortening the track distace by cutting the corner! At Monza in two weeks we'll see that cars will go off track coming out of Ascari on the run down to the Parabolica. At least there it does in fact increase the track distance, though it allows the drivers to carry more speed than they otherwise would be able to if they had to keep at least one wheel in the lines at all times.


Still gaining an advantage by carrying more speed through the exit and onto the straight.


The rules say that times set on any lap where the 4 tyres leave the track do not count.

That's why drivers don't cut chicanes to set better times.


The Stewards are way more lenient when it comes to Qualifying, and the drivers make full use of it (Vettel more than most it has to be said)


Yeah, I saw that too ... didn't see the rear right of Massa, but it "looked" as though it would be outside the line. Thought for sure that lap would be nullified.


I thought that rule only applied to overtaking?


'gained an advantage' I think is the sentiment of the rule. Way too hard to determine on a changing wet track I suppose.


I think the rule is enforced when someone *complains* about being overtaken outside of the circuit!


yeah I saw that too! I hate the inconsistency in F1


I like Button for the win tomorrow, he always seems to excel in changeable conditions.


Button needs a desperate amount of luck - a double diffuser amount of luck.

On skill alone, he would be lucky to get in the points - even with a good car.

He is certainly wanted to play leader at McLaren... looks like he's leading them straight to the bottom of the points table.

This is exactly what I expected to happen.

It surprises me that Whitmarsh has not been axed, along with Button for pushing out Hamilton... who was really pulling McLaren forward.


Your succinct post is one I concur with entirely!!


I hope so, put a tenner on him each way at 80/1


Yup, same here. Got Jenson for the win at 80/1. If he wins, it will be the first and probably the last time I will root and cheer for Jenson.

Anyway.....will be happy with over 2k winnings 🙂


That will return 0


No surprise here! Lewis had nothing to lose and so could risk everything on that lap. Sebastian on the other hand had everything to lose so he needed to engage a slight bit of caution. He would look silly if he spun it into a wall at this stage of the championship. What was more interesting was the sound of the Mercedes engine, it sounded like something was seriously wrong with it. Has this engine already completed some races?


From where I stand Vettel has a 38 point lead (48 from LH) so he can afford a slip up or two. Lewis can't.


Don't think so, commentary earlier stated that they use new engines for the bhp -demanding spa track. Maybe some new mapping? they are still using the engine exhausts to blow the diffusor this year (just less than last year)


Wow, an exciting qualifying all 'round! Could tell that the track was drying, and was glad when Lewis made it through before the chequered. HAM-VET-WEB were in the last three positions before that last lap.

Crazy that Lewis was so close to going out of Q2. Great call by Di Resta at the start of Q3, though I saw him going out of his way to make sure any and all knew it was HIS call, etc. That might be true, but dude, don't oversell it! Just po's the team!

Checked the weather forecasts from BBC and Sky, and BBC predicts rain pretty much throughout (drying near the end of the race), while Sky says it'll be dry, with a ring of precipitation surrounding Spa that could bring rain intermittently.

I think Hamilton will want the rain, as I think they have a higher downforce setup than the Bulls. If it's dry, I don't think he'll be able to hold them back. Di Resta for sure wants it dry.

So odd that most expected Merc to have the straight-line advantage, and it's not the case. I hope Merc don't regret that decision.


Merc walked on the brink throughout qualifying and managed an extraordinary result.


"Crazy that Lewis was so close to going out of Q2"

He was sandbagging....hahaha


As I said in a comment higher up this thread, Hamilton only had to get through to Q3. If he'd needed to he would have finished his last Q2 lap instead of boxing and would probably have had amongst the fastest times in Q2. Instead his engineer told him he'd made it into Q3 and he knew he'd done all he needed to do.


The unpredictable weather is the only downside of Spa. The top-3 today are so much faster than the others because they lucked in to be on the track when it was the driest. It's the same for everyone, of course, but it's still frustrating to watch racing when the only thing that matters is if you're on your fast lap at the right moment, which was just down to luck today.


I agree luck played a crucial role.

Could both Ferraris and Lotuses have locked out the front if they had another lap, or if the rain had got worse instead of better? Even if Merc are mighty in s2 & s3.

You gotta feel a bit sorry for di Resta, but on reflection we would never have heard the end of "Paul's Wonderful Remarkable Feat" on BBC if he had kept that pole!!! They would have made him a new title contender.


It's funny how the two stand-out qualifiers (and driver in Hamilton's case) seem to luck-in 😉


The unpredictable weather at Spa is an upside, it mixes things up a bit with a sprinkling of chaos - marvellous 🙂


This is the kind of session that would get new people interested in watching F1 because of all the excitement and unpredictability. I don't know why you think it's a bad thing, unless you are a fan of a certain driver who was showing great pace in the dry and was suddenly nowhere in the rain.



My guess is, that would be ALO.


Both of you are a little wrong.

Weather or not, Spa is a holy place where all of F1 angels live. 😉

And where fries with most delicious mayo or mustard are served. Legeng has it the fumes from F1 engines at Eau Rouge are the secret ingredient that make them taste like nowhere else, and this is the reason why all the best food stands are located there.


Tim, that was all mine.

I have my moments. 🙂


Spa is a holy place where all of F1 angels live.

Did you write that yourself? If you did, then hats off to you. Even if you didn't, still hats off for typing it here - what a line 🙂


luck? it takes a lot of planning to make sure you can get through the start/finish line a few seconds before the session ends.


Certainly it takes planning, the luck factor here was that the rain eased off at the very end. Due to the length of one lap, they needed to make those plans so much in advance that, for all they knew, rain might've just intensified even more for the last few laps (conditions changed dramatically within a minute). It was down to luck the rain eased off, and that is seen in the big gap between the top-3 and the rest.


It wasn't luck. All teams have very detailed weather forecast info as well as spotters around the track. They all knew the track was going to dry, but some got it right, while others got it wrong. Margins are very thin in F1.


But how do you control the rain?


Tornillo Amarillo


Tornillo Amarillo



I agree. Luck had a lot to do with today's results. Had the Lotuses and Alonso had one more lap like the top 3, they could have been closer. That said, Rosberg did well with one lap less, and Massa did nothing with his extra lap.

But I think the RB guys were honest to admit that they were more concerned about stumbling, and were happy just to be near the front. So not many got the maximum speed out of their laps. More getting the car home in a decent qualifying position.

Chiton in Q2!!! History is being written! A massive 10 car pile up, and he could be in the points!


A massive 10 car pile up and the race could be cancelled while they clear up the bodies. Get a grip, man.


My word, what a blockbuster session that was. It took me back to Brazil 2008 there for a moment.

Extraordinary qualifying and a exquisite performance by all drivers for having made it through unscathed.

Mercedes what can I say, that bag of tricks they got is really big for here's Lewis on pole, the same one who almost got knocked out of Q2.

Job well done by the pitwall for judging the conditions just about right.

The Red Bulls too did well for having got both drivers in the top 3 especially so considering 2 of their main challengers had a difficult Q3.

Rosberg was certainly on it just happened to get out too soon but the one you got to feel sorry for is Di Resta for the underdogs always dream of days like today only for the carpet to get pulled.

Alonso's pace In the earlier part of qualifying showed the Ferrari's upgrades have given the team a boost but it's not yet clear by how much.

Last but not least, mighty impressed by Jenson, Var der Garde and the Marussia blokes especially so for keeping it on the island with the slicks on.


I think you've nailed the difference between Mercedes and McLaren-- Mercedes is much better at strategy. McLaren has been remarkably poor at strategy for the last 3-4 years (possibly since Ron Dennis made the mind-numbingly bad call of telling Hamilton to lie to the stewards in Melbourne).


James, the gap was 0.188 - not a second! Awesome job from Lewis. I'd say its the third race (not second as you stated) in succession where he has beaten Vettel in a straight fight. They were well matched in Germany, too. That's quite significant. Also note that Hamilton found all of his time in the "driver's" part of the circuit, sector 2. Even if in the end it was a 3-way shootout, Hamilton really earnt this pole.


"Also note that Hamilton found all of his time in the “driver’s” part of the circuit, sector 2."

The part where more downforce was relevant I think you'll find.


I know, but not by 1.2 seconds. Vettel ate Hamilton up in S1 and 3.


The part where less downforce was relevant I think you’ll find.


Thanks for spotting the mistake


It was a second in the middle sector.


Now this will make for an Interesting race tomorrow! I hope tyres don't play spoil sport in the race. We always see a lot of action when better drivers with better equipment start further back on the grid.(remember Japan 2005/Spa 2004?)

Kimi and Alonso starting alongside each other, now that will be battle to watch out for. I suspect Alonso might move ahead of Kimi at the start but we know Lotus is very kind on its tyres and they might look to do one stop if conditions permit.


8th on the grid, Kimi, lines up on the outside of the fourth row, next to... Grosjean, on the inside part of the track. Alonso will be on the inside of the fifth row, next to Massa, and behind Grosjean.

I do indeed think you could be right about potential with the fastest starting cars on the grid behind the Lotuses.

If I was a sick, depraved team director, I would have Massa miss his braking point, at the first corner.

Let's hope this is not so.


"Hamilton’s career has been peppered with moments of inspiration and today saw another"

Interesting point of view. Surely it was down to lucky timing and weather?


I'd leave the prose of James's article on James's website up to him thanks. It's his opinion and I tend to agree with it, if you think otherwise perhaps you should try and create a website to compete...


Lewis made a mistake in turn 1 and had a poor 18 & 19- so it wasn't perfect !. But his speed in the mid sector was epic- High downforce or not in those conditions.what do you all have to say about last 4 race qualis - was that a coincidence for you?--- comeon people snap out of it - honestly !


And if it. Was Button on ppole, the commentts would be going on about how brilliant and intelligent he is for timing the right moment to be on track, but because its hamilton, its luck...


Yes I believe Ham Vet and Web all benefitted from timing/track conditions. Kimi very unlucky, was fastest in q2, looked to have finally sorted his qualifying out and then weather just makes it a lottery. He starts on the dirty side....again


Look at the middle sector. He was on track at same time as Vettel and Webber


I have to say James there wasn't any inspiration at all, it was purely luck of the order. I think Rosberg had he had another lap would have taken pole handily. Hamilton was just in the right place at the right time. I guess Di Mont rezemolo needs to arrange another meeting to tell Ferrari to put knives in their teeth again cos they couldn't even give their cars a similar final lap as the top three. Utterly pathetic Ferrari. What else is new?

I think Paul Di Resta deserves a penalty. In the first session he spun at the last corner and like a buffoon he just ambled from off the track back onto the straight, nearly touching one of the Marussias. The flag had just waved, he couldn't do another lap. Surely that is dangerous and intefering with two other drivers pole attempts? Surely others saw this.


nico was able to get his tyres up to temp quicker than lewis,lewis needed a few more laps,i think this has fooled ppl into believing what you believe.



And as you implied with a higher down force set up- given the RB's higher top end speed. Yesterday's second practice showed the RB's on a split strategy and sector 2 being 8/10ths quicker on a high downforce configuration.

Not to take anything away from Lewis, he had the right set up for the conditions when he crossed the line- especially on a drying track. If it had been Alonso finishing the lap last, or Di Resta, or Grosjean, anyone one of them would have had pole.

Despite my criticism, you have a FANTASTIC website!


You weren't paying attention, were you? Rosberg took provisional pole on his last lap and then Button and Grosjean crossed the line AFTER him and could only manage provisional 3rd and 4th respectively.


I think when the track is damp, the car following the leader has the slight advantage of seeing where the car in front has grip, and therefore being able to be slightly later on the brakes.

I thought Vettel himself said as much when he saw Lewis closing he realized that he could have gone quicker round the bends.

Just my 5 cents worth.


So are you saying Vettel had an advantage by following Webber? And if Vettel "could have gone quicker", why didn't he?


Vettel had Webber as a reference. Driver of the day definitely Nico Rosberg.


All three got lucky with the timing (the only three to manage to get a lap right after the flag came out). Of course it takes skill for the team to get their drivers to that position, but the weather being like it was, it could've been at its worst for the dying minutes. They got lucky it was at its best.


It's always easiest for the last driver, Hamilton in this case. They have a reference point with the car in front and know where they can push. Vettel was not close enough to use Webber as a marker, but Hamilton was. I personally think that it gives a driver more confidence and is worth at least 2 tenths if not more


All I see from the middle sector times is that Mercedes is running a high downforce setup and the Bull's are running a low downforce one. What do YOU see in the data?


The Mercedes is definitely running more downforce than the Red Bull this weekend... but Hamilton was close enough behind Vettel in the third sector he may have had to back off a bit (a shot of the two of them approaching the bus stop on the last lap would have been useful).


@Nick Lynn

I see what you did there....


I see a faster driver.


Steve, you clearly missed Seb's interview after the session where he said that he left a lot of time on the table and should have had pole.


That is what I see also. I little amateurish not to take this into consideration.


Driver choices?


@Steves, you seems to dislike Ham (see comment no 7) if that is you. The redbull is running high down force from what I heard. Anyways relax mate who knows your man/team might win come tomorrow.


Sure, it's partially down to that. But a whole second? Vettel even said in the post-quali press conference that after seeing Lewis catch up through the 2nd sector that he then thought he could've gone faster through it than he did.

Vettel at least tells it like it is.


LH nicked pole at the bus stop breaking into the chicane.

Looking at the onboard [] footage sector1 wasn't too good but then s2 and s3 looked very nice.

The site gives best sector times across Q1-3 which is rather meaningless when conditions are changeable. Does anyone know where you can the sector time breakdowns for Q3 alone?


Rain lottery is no better than a tyre lottery. Very difficult to see who is really on the pace here. HAM ALO VET and RAI have all topped the times, but so have JEV and PDR!!!

I think I'm right that Kimi set the fastest time of the w/end in Q2 though I could be wrong.

In 2004 he started p10 and won ahead of Schumacher who started on the front row. I've no doubt he can win from p8. Grosjean ahead will be careful not to repeat the blunders of last year.

I'm hoping for another Kimi triumph, or at least to join Seb and Alonso on the podium.


I do hope for the same but it will difficult for him to win or snatch a podium it seems...

Lotus are not the strongest in S1/3, but Kimi is very strong in S2,however bulk of the overtakes will happen in S1(going by last year).

I suspect he will do a one stop strategy if conditions don't change..that to me is his best bet to snatch a podium.


Okay, according to the forecast, we're expecting a wet race tomorrow so it's time to crunch some numbers.

1) The last wet race Lewis won was Belgium 2010.

2) The last wet race Vettel won was China 2009 and so far he has won two wet races in his career i.e. China 2009 and Italy 2008 >>> starting from pole both times

3) Webber hasn't won a fully wet race that is if we don't count the drizzle of Monaco 2012.

4) Rosberg hasn't won a wet race too

5) The last race Jenson won was Brazil 2012 + won two more wet races in 2011 i.e. Hungary and Canada.


Alonso Sepang 2012?


Would be great to see a Mclaren victory this year but I fear JB may be a sitting duck on the DRS straight. My money's on LH or KR


"5) The last race Jenson won was Brazil 2012 + won two more wet races in 2011 i.e. Hungary and Canada."

Don't forget Hungary 2006 😉


I will never forget Hungary first ever F1 I went to see. Fantastic. If I recall correctly both Schumi & Alonso DNF'd (not to take anything away from Jenson's superb drive).


I am rooting for LH, KR, and NR or FA


I like Lewis a lot, but maybe he should tone down the self-praising a bit. Rosberg was the better Merc driver today, and Lewis's pole is down to the luck of being the last man to set a time. How can he say that he got "absolute maximum out of myself and out of the car" when he himself admitted that he went wide? No humility. It rather reminds me of Lewis's words about Vettel missing 4 apexes but still getting the pole. 😀

I feel that Rosberg deserved that pole more than anyone.


He got the absolute out of himself from qualifiers, because the absolute in a qualifiers is a "Pole position" which he got. The weather was very tricky today, so achieving pole in such condition is satisfying. Below is a link to qualifiers top 3 press conference, read it before judging Lewis by just a sentence


Love this line from Poet Racer Webber:

"It's a beautiful circuit to drive on, all the guys love coming here, the teams, the engineers. Even the cars I think in a bizarre way know they're here in terms of Eau Rouge and Blanchimont."

Thread the Needle

He was buzzing from being on the limit and taking pole, even vettel said he could see that hamilton was catching him, is he not allowed to celebrate

Finally this season is starting to get exciting


why do you feel rosberg deserved the pole ?


Lol some people make me laugh. 8-3 to Hamilton in qualifying head to head and they still think Hamilton is stealing Nico's poles. Some people think Nico is more deserving just because he is not Lewis. Where has their praise been for the last 7 years since Nico has been racing, but now that he is going against Lewis he is the greatest thing since sliced bread.


I'm not sure you are right on that one. He was on track at same time as Vettel, so it was definitely the driver


rosberg wasn't on track with massa webber vettel and hamilton at that time, hamilton was lucky. i don't think he has the right set up.


I seriously doubt Mark, Seb, or Lewis had ANY measurable track condition advantage on the last lap. BUT, during improving and changeable conditions, the last driver has the visual clue of who he is chasing. advantage to the last guy in the cue. they all did great. congrats to Jens, Max and Guido too! easy enough to get it all wrong, and the Big Red got it all wrong today...


James, I'm not sure if you are being fair to Rosberg today. There's no denying that Hamilton did well relative to Vettel, and over the course of the year Hamilton has out qualified Rosberg.

But for today Rosberg set his time when the track was wetter. I think the fairest comment is that the changeable conditions makes it difficult to say who drove the best qualifying lap - between Rosberg and Hamilton.

"It was a very difficult qualifying session and unfortunately luck wasn't on my side today. When I took the chequered flag, I was quickest at that time, but the track quicker and quicker for the guys who had got the extra lap and eventually ended up in the top three positions, so I must be happy with fourth place on the grid. Our car seems pretty good in all conditions here this weekend which makes me hopeful of a strong race performance tomorrow afternoon."


but the bottom line is four in a row for Hamilton, in the same equipment.

This is beyond reasonable probability for being chance, already.

Hamilton has just made it through to a new level, and I think everybody who is paying attention will be able to see it in the race tomorrow.

Following Budapest, I wrote that I was only waiting for Hamilton to continue his trends in Spa, and he'd have to be considered the most likely driver package to win the 2013 drivers championship.

I believe that the public record shows the beginning of a trend of definitive domination of Hamilton over Rosberg.

But let's see how it goes tomorrow.


I agree, this should be obvious but apparently not. It looked to me like Rosberg would have beaten everyone and taken pole even if every driver got to do that final lap. Maybe he'll show in the race.


The first comment by Lewis outside was that he lucked out today. Nobody is disparaging Rosberg's efforts here. If you listen to Massa, he said the same thing too - he was the fastest when he took checkered flag. If you think again, this happens ALL THE TIME IN CHANGING CONDITIONS.

The fact is, Lewis+team put it together with a little help from luck, for that credit is due. Also, keep in mind that the TOP drivers, ALWAYS extracts a couple of tenths extra in the FINAL run, they usually don't show their hand in full in Q1 or Q2...


I counted at least 6 apex misses on Hamilton's lap, so Hamilton's pole was "despite" rather than "thanks" to his driving and was down to that incredible car of his. It was a rather average lap, to be honest.

And I think it's not really fair to compare his time to Vettel and Webber's since RB drivers set practically the same time, proving that it was their car's maximum, or close to it, while Hamilton was much slower than his teammate when his teammate was on track. I'm sure Rosberg would have been much quicker.


Don't be naive... drivers don't hit all the apexes all the time, not by talent, but by design. So, don't waste time replaying and counting apexes 🙂


The best drivers find grip on unconventional lines when it is wet. That's what you saw happening.

If the pole lap was an "average lap," it will be interesting to know how you describe the slower laps the others did.


The perfect dry racing line is not always the quickest in changing wet conditions so counting how many apexes were missed is irrelevant. Finding the grip is the real skill of any top driver.


Bear in mind that the conventional ideal line in dry conditions is not always the fastest line in the wet. Try watching one of Senna's classic laps in the wet, and you'll see that he follows the cambers of the road surface to look for grip, often using unconventional lines. It may look "wrong" to you, but he (and Lewis) knew what they were doing.


Because it's possible to hit every apex on a wet circuit ?

In any event, the fastest line on a wet track is not the same as that on a dry track.


We're talking about compromised track conditions. The Q3 time was far off best times because the weather, so what on earth is the point of griping about missed apexes. No, it'd never be regarded as a classic pole lap, but he did the best job in the conditions, so it's perfectly reasonable to say he got the best out of himself and the car (in the conditions).

Missed apexes and claims of the lap being "average" have no meaning if weather is having the influence that it did today.


In damp conditions, hitting the apex isn't always the right line to take as there is sometimes more grip around the outside.


That is for sure

The "karting line" is what the drivers refer to


Drivers usually tend to drive other lines during wet sessions than when is dry. Besides "hitting" the apex is not a hot topic on a wet track,


Can you imagine what Vettel would have done in the Merc. WOW


When will you rosberg fans get it, being quickest in fp1 fp2 etc, quickest in qualifying 1 and 2 means nothing, doing it in the last minute of qualifying is what sorts the very good from the good, coulda shoulda didn't thats rosberg


Exactly! Credit where credit is due, and Lewis deserves praise for today's work.


Agreed - what's lucky about being the last man on the last lap in a timed session? Lewis deserved pole because he won it, fair & square.


How can you say "it was definitely the driver" when the Mercedes has been the quickest car over a lap all season long?


It was just luck he was last over the line, this is very obvious for all to see and this is what all the drivers said afterwards


Hamilton-Mercedes is clearly on a steep trajectory, and first or second for Hamilton will confirm his trajectory IS the sharp end.


The sad thing for you SteveS is that Lewis is not even done yet.


Because even Vettel acknowledged that he should have had pole and that he didn't deliver in q3. He admitted the same in Monaco and Hungary. If he can accept it why can't you?


Priceless. So because Vettel is the sort of person who always says "I could have done better" while Hamilton and Alonso are the sort of people who always say "I got 120% out of the car", that means we should accept these self-assessments at face value.


"Common sense"- Im glad to correct typo &highlight it


SteveS - why has Lewis won the last 4 pole positions when his team mate in exactly the same car has not ???- stop asking ridiculous questions and use some coon sense- can you believe these people James!


So James, when Hamilton is quickest is for his "inspiration" but when Vettel does is the car?


Because that's what the other drivers acknowledged eg Vettel


No, Mercedes were clearly dominant in S2. Look at Rosberg's times, James:

Hamilton: 2:04.568

Rosberg: 2:02.873 (about 30 sec later)

Hamilton: 2:04.522 (about 90 sec later)

Rosberg: 2:02.251 (about 30 sec later)

Hamilton: 2:01.012 (about 90 sec later)

Rosberg was the better driver. His S2 time was amazing, too. So it's the car, not the driver. Mercedes is clearly superior in S2.


Grasping at straws?


Hamilton was keeping his tyres for the last run hence the difference in lap times. Rosberg pitted late for fresh tyre in Q2, but Hamilton didn't. Don't forget that Rosberg topped Q1 and Q2 in Hungary, but yet Hamilton was on Pole in Hungary. So claiming that Rosberg was the better driver because of his times, which none of them gave him pole position is completely biased.


It is funny when hamilton takes pole everyone says it was the driver who made a difference even though he goes wide and misses 4 apexes in hungary, but when vettel takes pole by a second in malaysia or any other track it's all down to the car. A little bit hypocritic don't you think? Also talking about middle sector holds very little ground as red bulls are running almost zero wing and are clearly optimised for dry running, unlike lotus and merc which are more wet orientated.


On the contrary In FP Vettel was running a lower downforce set up and Webber the higher one. Red Bull then chose to set Vettel's Vettel's car to higher downforce as well because of the expect rain in qualifying.


Please list the 4 apexes he missed in Hungary.

I doubt you'll find many on here who say it's ALL about the car with Vettel. Clearly he is a great racing driver, and a great qualifier. But fact is that he does sit in the best car out there at the moment ... it's stupid to say otherwise.


It is clear from the sector times during qualifing that merc and lotus are on a wet/mixed downforce level whereas red bulls are on low downforce/dry level. This is also why hamilton wants rain tommorow.


It may look like that, but Kimi commented that he want's a dry race, because Lotus doesn't perform well in the wet.


I think you should double check your thinking. This is what Horner said ""There is due to be quite a lot of rain tomorrow. I think we can take the fight to Lewis. It won't be about outright pace, it'll be about judging the conditions."

Given their thoughts about tomorrow's weather, why would RB go for a dry set-up?


Yeah, anyone who says RBR is set for "total dry" doesn't know what they're talking about.

From the FIA's Best Sector Times sheet, these were the best S2 times for the top 4:

ROS 46.946

WEB 47.174

VET 47.257

HAM 47.387

Clearly those were from Q2 in the dry. Hamilton's time likely suffered from earlier than the others, but still there's no huge gap between the RBR and Merc in S2.

The Merc's might be on a higher-downforce set-up than RBR, but it's only a slight difference, not a chasm.


Almost zero wing and fastest speed trap along with bad S2 times suggest they are not going for heavy df but rather more straight acceleration oriented car.


Lotus was P1 and P3 in the dry Q2.


I'll correct myself, they are definetly running high DF because they were slow in s1 and s3 but fastest overall in s2. Maybe not specificaly wet setup, but more DF anyway.



Great to see a Caterham and two Marussia's into Q2, regardless of the circumstances.

I did feel a bit sorry for Charles Pic though after reviewing the qualifying results you posted:-) Each entry lists the Qualifying Position, Driver, his Team, Lap Time and Gap to Pole; except for Charles. He is just Charles Pic, bottom of the list.

Qualifying was entertaining stuff though, can't wait for the race.


You are right. Quali was entertaining to put it bluntly. What a blockbuster quali session. There are races where they are not as half entertaining as today. Wow.

You heard EJ saying something like “anyone who touch spa out of the calander, I will shot him” then I am worried for BE lol.


You are right. Quali was entertaining to put it bluntly. What a blockbuster quali session. There are races where they are not as half entertaining as today. Wow.

You heard EJ saying something like "anyone who touch spa out of the calander, I shot him" then I am worried for BE lol.


What will Webbers start problems be this weekend?? They've got to be running out of excuses...


thanks for that; Webber is going to win tomorrow, now.


Do you think Red Bull would rather Hamilton taking constructors and drivers points or Webber?


Looking forward to tomorrow could be an intresting race if it rains as predicted .I fancy Ham to hold off the bulls to take the win.


To be honest the first three places were mostly down to luck today. Kimi has topped the Q2 and he is nowhere because he missed the last lap by ca. 5 sec. Its part of F1, but we should not get too excited by Hamilton`s lap again. Rosberg was also close he just missed the best condiditons, too.


1.4 seconds faster than Vettel in one sector, the "drivers" one.. on the "drivers circuit" at the same time. Tricky conditions..

Yet still w get some bizarre reasons posted why this was not one of the Pole laps of the season, laughable. As he did last race, Lewis is showing why he is head and shoulders above all his rivals.


So 1.4 faster than Vettel in S2 and over the entire lap just 0.188 faster the irony of your post so he lost 1.212 elsewhere.


HAM is a key driver, a pure race. That make a big difference with Vettel. HAM being sublimated silver arrows.

What it's did today is definitely a world class pole position. Defintely a shame for that over quoted Sebastian Vettel.

Every F1 driver can win 3 wold championship with that RedBull car. A natural well balanced anq quick car.

It's gonna be tricky tomorow with various track conditions coming but that why I love Formula one.

Lewis Hamilton is H A M.

I'm so excited that Vettel can't do his usual modus operandi win. Now he has to fight in the pack and it's definitely a different game.

Lewis Hamilton haters where are you???

British got talent, for real


Like Webber you mean?


There is always somthing special about a drying track and especially at the end of qualifying. I think it rewards the drivers and teams who are truly on point and really in the moment. That qualifying captured some of the essence of F1 for me and I can hardly wait for the race.

What a fantastic effort by the Mercedes team and a monumental lap from Hamilton.


Hamilton was with all 4 wheels off the track on his pole lap:

I don't know why this doesn't get penalized.


how do you know his right rear wasn't on the track? eau rouge is a bend so that might well be the case. i know people don't like lewis, sometimes due to prejudicial views, but talk about trying to pull a man down after a stunning job.


If it Was Grosjean/Maldonado...they would have been penalised for sure.

But stewards feel oblidged not to penalize any ***Star*** driver out there like Hamilton/Alonso/Vettel....or any other driver driving for top team.

Just recall Brazil 2012....Button/hulk made a smart call in the race and had some 40-50 second advantage of P3 driver, but then there were some debris in S2...

All drivers were aware of it and were driving carefully to avoid them, but Alonso complains and they deploy safety car to negate Button/Hulk their advantage over others...

unfortunately that's how it works in F1. Top teams and Drivers get what they want be it qualifying or race.


Di Resta put all 4 wheels outside the white line and no penalty, same with Massa.

So stewards completely consistent..

Of course after all is said and done Rosberg is faster than Hamilton.


The rules only apply when the stewards feel like applying them.


Was going to ask the same.

James do you have answer for this?

Is going off the track not a big deal during quali?


Was he overtaking some ghost driver there?


He gained an unfair advantage, so yes, in a way, he "overtook" both Webber and Vettel off track.


James, Any word on Ferrari updates? Did they bring any updates for Spa or is it a matter of the track working well for the car?

They seem a lot closer to the front runners than in the recent races. I have a good feeling for Alonso in this race and it is time he got a decent result in Spa.

Might as well be this season.


The real business is tomorrow.

Early damp will help the front runners. But there is a good chance of a SC or two on a drying track.

Don't write off Alonso or Raikkonen.


I honestly think that this season has given me a more complete perspective on the pure speed of Hamilton vs. Vettel. There is little doubt that the Mercedes is lightning in a bottle and yet whenever Hamilton secures pole, its usually by a few tenths. I think Hamilton is much more consistent then Vettel, but does not have the same out-and-out speed. He can't do what Vettel does (Australia 2011) but is more consistent, IMO.


Come on H.A.M. You're our only hope that Vettel doesn't cruise to another title.


Once Schumi started in Spa behind top ten. Hill was behind top five. Weather changed a lot, Benetton and Schumi gambled better than Williams and Hill and finally won the race. It was in 1995.

Let's hope the weather will allow to gamble tomorrow and Samurai will knock them dead!


Dunno if the samurai stories are helping Alonso these days. Did he just watch The Last Samurai, or the Dark Knight, or something?

The last tweet, the one about being insulted, what was that all about?!


If it rains, there is a good chance that the samurai may let the sword slip from his hands 🙂


As a Hamilton fan I think Rosberg had a great chance of pole if he had managed to sneak a lap in but that is motor racing. Hamilton's last lap middle sector was brilliant but I thought Nico getting within half a second of PDR on his first lap in Q3 was the lap of the day.


James are we not in danger of some teams running out of inter tyres tomorrow if its the same as today. Ie the short bursts of rain leaves the track drying quickly but still means you need inters on and they burn out very quickly when it dries up. If that happens 2-3 times there will be no inters left. The Bridgestone inter would of been fine bit the Pirelli doesn't like the drier lines at all.


i think james should get back in that commentary box. the bbc lead commentator goes on about drivers being the fastest after only two or three drivers have set a time and go on to say how fantastic they as drivers.

it's a competition between 22 drivers. until they have all set a time it is idiotic to start claiming victory. i feel horrified everytime i hear him say so so and so 'is fastest at this stage'.

did he not learn science at school? he should be told that to compare measurements, you have to take all the measurements. and the most annoying thing is he raises his voice when he does it, through practice and qualifying.


Laps change in the dry and the wet. When wet the track can get more wet or it can get drier. When dry the temperature gets higher or lower. The other thing is that when wet a dry line could be appearing and when dry the track gets rubbered in.

Red Bull always use to make Vettel run last in Q3 to make use of any advantages the track has to offer . Plus there is no opportunity for anyone else to top the time as qualifying is over. Merc is using the same tactics on red bull. When it rains there is always an element of luck.

If comments on here are saying that Lewis is lucky then I guess every driver who gets pole in the rain or win in the rain is lucky. Di resta thought he was lucky.

I think viewers should thank Hamilton because he is the only one now putting pressure on Vettel. No one including Rosberg is doing this. If not for Hamilton Vettel could sleep his way to the next title. At least now he is earning it.


hamilton used the words blessing and fortunate in his interview to describe the outcome.


Vettel was joking about a short cut from Hamilton in Silverstone after Q3...

I think the Brits needs Lewis and Bernie needs Mercedes, so nothing will happen...


At the top of Eua rouge on a qualy lap in the wet?

Good luck with that line of enquiry... 🙂

Why not salute the cahones to go that far onto wet curbs at that part of the track at that speed, if you see the video its pretty sketchy there.


Over quoted?, how many WDC has he to win to confirm he is the better driver in the grid?



He needs to team-up with HAM or ALONSO.

Winning those 3 WDCs in very dominant car proves nothing overall, except that he's better than Webber.


And which WDC's have they won a WDC against in same car?


Great lap Lewis! 🙂


I cannot believe the number of haters that still exist out there. Im a Raikkonen fan but today in treacherous conditions we witnessed one of the greatest talents of F1 ever over a single lap. Sure we all appreciate the timing was right on the drying lap - but to be 1.4 sec faster in the middle sector was still amazing no matter what car configuration you run as the two red bulls were only seconds ahead as James pointed out on the very same lap.!

It paralyses me to know that people still doubt Lewis Hamiltons ability when he has put that car on pole on the last 4 outings despite his very talented and successful team mate in the very same car.I think it is in most peoples nature to judge on personalities rather than abilities !. I think also the truly great drivers have the capacity to shock others with their speed, Jenson warned Nico of this before the start of the season, Sebastian has experienced it more than once- think Austin 2012. Lewis reminds me of Kimi 2005-7 when he was at the peek of his quali pace- it just stunned people what he could get of a car. This kind of ability rattles egos - creating denials, leading to opposition, forcing opponents to attack in anyway they can to equalise. Quite often leading to Intra team politics and battles and others using other tactics to depose them. It happened with Kimi/ Massa-Schumacher 2008-9 and it happened with Jenson 2011-2. When certain people or their reputations are challenged by the legitimate people they will do whatever they can to change the status quo at a team. I hope the Mercedes structure does not change and for this reason .I hope Kimi stays at Lotus- these guys are the greatest talents in F1 and that's why others are scared of them.


+1 Elie, well said.

Having said that, the haters don't really help themselves, do they? Like lemmings over the cliff, they can't help but expose their foolish notions.


Please, you cannot quote 1.4 seconds in one sector as pure talent. It wasn't. Hamilton thought he was behind and so pushed to catch up during the rest of the lap. Rosberg took pole then webber then Vettel then Hamilton all in order of running. Each just went faster as the track dried and while aware of the fastest lap at the time. Because of mixed conditions it rewards the guy that risks more. Even Vettel admitted he could have pushed harder. Hamilton got lucky that several drivers didn't get a last lap, he earned his luck but that is all. He didn't wring 1.4 seconds just by sheer talent in the middle sector so why quote it? If anyone was following him they would have pushed for pole in similar fashion. Yes lewis got pole good for him in the fastest qualifying car this year... greatest pole laps ever? Please....


..what about the last 3 in a row. Please...! Whenever you see my name here kindly ignore it- that what I will have to remember with you


@da-_schum. Im a he the last time I checked. !:) There are a few people here that present reasons with their opinions or judgements and then there are others who just say things because they have nothing better to say.


@ ShaBooPi- I said Lewis was one of the greatest qualifiers or all time . I did not say that pole at Spa was not the greatest of all time - read it again.


If you "think" I type alot of rubbish you should refrain from answering my post until you are sure. Otherwise you have another choice of just ignoring my post. I do that alot with people who are not sure of what they post here. I don't " have people agree with me" ..I believe that if you present details in the right spirit many people can relate to it. Some disagree too and that's just fine so long as they so in the right spirit and provide a reason why.. This site is terrific because the vast majority of posters can present opinions with some decent sense of reasoning - the same way James presents the subject matter in the right spirit and with informed detail. If it upsets you that many people agree with me, I can only suggest you expressing some logic and reasoning why rather than as you out it "mouthing off"

I have many times said that there is very little separating the top 4 drivers of which Sebastian is certainly one of them. No one can deny that the Newey design has been the separating factor in the success of both WDC and WCC. The only question which many people in/out F1 have raised is whether anyone of those top 4 would be consistently challenging for titles as Seb in a the same team and car. That question still remains and no one can deny that .I have already addressed the subject of Hamiltons quali and speed so I won't do that again and suggest only that if you disagree - you can provide specific reasons why or just leave it be.


I think you type a lot of rubbish but as always you would have people agree with you when Vettel does the same you are one of those who mouth of its the car so why are others not entitled to their opinions as they feel hamiltons pole is luck after all people have said Vettel's title is more Newey's title and you have agreed to that.


Don't you ever think of disagreeing with Elie, even if she addresses everyone in her comment lol. He/she/it only comments very rarely and will not suffer fools lightly. You are only meant to read and nod politely in silence lol!


I'm just addressing the pole today as one of the greatest poles of all time according to you. I thought it was a fair point and not out of order to make. this is a comment section for fans to interact and opine, I'll take your advice and ignore you but maybe you should eulogise in private if your points are magically beyond contention. Peace!



One thing that has troubled me a little this weekend though and, to be honest, I am surprised no one has mentioned it.

What on earth has Vettel done to his hair? It looks like a cheap toupee - it's a different colour on top to the sides 🙂


Maybe he's trying to look like Mary Poppins since they are in the hills 🙂 Lewis have him that "what da ... " Look after quali when Seb took his cap off !!


Haha, saw that pic, quite funny!


Very well said Elie!


Very well said Elie. If everyone on this site could reason like you do James site would not just be good it would be great. It would not just be the best it would be better. James goes through a lot to give us a well reasoned article only for some to lower the standard. I wish we could have a separate section for reasoned comments and no bias. In F1 we all learn about winning and losing and should do so gracefully.


The driver is just the nut that holds the steering wheel. The cars are the stars


There are only Rosberg or Hamilton pole position this year.

Rosberg got 3 poles in a row, Hamilton now 4 - in a row!

It is Vettel against both Mercedes drivers and their superior car and nothing else.

Vettel's poles were in Melbourne, Malaysia and Canada. Always extremly difficult.....

Especially Canada, Mercedese/McLaren territory.

Today, after canada on a non-RB-track it was rather dry at the end and Mercedes is perfect in dry conditions. They never show their hands on friday. They are short on engines, but big in PR, claiming not to understand the tires, the weather/the wind (only in Rosberg's case) or how to boil water.


The Merc is the fastest over one lap but the Redbull was far quicker over long runs as the Merc was overheating tyres.

Now they have solved the tyre issue the two cars seem to be evenly matched.

Unless you put drivers in the same car you will always have disagreement over who is fastest.

That said Rosberg is faster than Hamilton.


I realise that your last sentence is just a poor attempt to try and goad Hamilton fans but I will humour you. Please explain how you have reached that conclusion. Lewis is ahead in qualifying 8/3 - that's quite a convincing margin, wouldn't you say?


My last comment is a poor attempt at humour.

I am a massive Hamilton fan.

At the start of the season Hamilton was faster than Rosberg but some posters still insisted that Rosberg was faster than Hamilton and it became an "in" joke to post that even though the lap times were in favour of Hamilton.


James why is the lotus one of the worst cars in wet conditions? Also do you think there is any substance in rumours suggesting Michelin may replace Pirelli next year


Because its gentle action on the tyres means it struggles to warm them in the wet


"forcing opponents to attack in anyway"

And 'boy' do they attack....

I hope Kimi goes to RBR though, he deserves a better car and better resources.


does anyone find those blankets over the ferrari and red bull drivers' knees ugly from the onboard footage? they look hiddious!

Tornillo Amarillo

Tomorrow Sunday, it's needed that someone take the fight against VETTEL...I'm worry about that.

I'm talking to put pressure on VETTEL while HAMILTON builds a gap, in such a case VETTEL will back off.

Maybe Webber or Rosberg at the beginning? Raikkonen or Alonso at the end?

It will be a difficult one, but somebody has to do it to keep the Championship alive.


Hamilton is going to beat Vettel this year.


I dont think so

Tornillo Amarillo

DI RESTA is a step closer of a bigger team with his qualify today.

And RICCIARDO... even farther away!


Di Resta is my star of the season this year, and I just do not see all of the positive hype about Ricciardo, justified, AT ALL.

Isn't Ricciardo behind Vergne in points?


One race doesn't change anything

Ricciardo is pretty much there


This weekend race will surely be a thriller with the mixed weather conditions. Let's see where Alonso will finish as the Ferrari seems fast. With or without DRS Spa somehow will create many overtaking moves.


James, honestly I feel Ricciardo is overrated cos of the Red Bull seat.


My fastest top 5 car-driver session

1. Rosberg

2 Webber

3. Vettel

4. Hamilton

In the dry the Renaults and Ferraris would have been in it too so the race could be a great one.

As it was the upside down scoreboard results were all by chance and late running.

A non Rosberg fan says he was mighty today. In this package he really is faster than Hamilton over a lap at most (but not all) tracks.

Go Mr Webber, you good thing.


Shame for F I making such an amateurish mistake in not sending their man out to do a last run. They had lots of time to prepare for it and even if the conditions were not promising, only a amateur leaves the tiniest chance to the likes of LH or SV snatching it.

Meantime - Hat's off to LH for a stunning pole, and to SV for admitting it 🙂 SV is maturing nicely - I didn't used to like him much, but now maybe........


Elie @ 42, you got it right on, again.

I must admit that the fawning of the British establishment over Lewis is tedious.

That being said, there is little doubt, amongst others, like you, paying attention, that Lewis is phenomenal.

I'd like to add that I really see Lewis at a new level, very recently clicked up to; and I expect that everybody will be able to see it during the race tomorrow; just a feeling.

I believe that any of the top tier could win on any given day, in the same equipment, I'd love to see Hamilton, Vettel, Kimi and Alonso!

But with the testing argy-bargy, the Hamilton-Mercedes package is second to none. I think all of this under-talking of it, is ongoing media damage control over the... ahem, test (you know the one I mean).

Hamilton is looking good for the driver's championship this year.

I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow, and you can't always take what is written down too seriously.

Keep the good comments coming.


But hoping Kimi can't beat Lewis, from eighth on the grid, and hopefully score a Mercedes drive next year, and wouldn't that be good to watch?!?


That should have been "...hoping Kimi CAN beat Lewis..."


Whenever Vettel's on pole people choose to criticise other teams for not catching him, but when Lewis is pole, it is all down to the driver. Whom should we give credit to for Merc having a fastest car? Definetly not Lewis.

Maybe we should start calling it as Brawn's car as everyone calls Newey car.

So now i would like to say anyone could have won if they had that Merc car.

Also many seem to have missed that Vettel outqualified Webber again.


Has anyone considered that on a wet track you don't want to hit every apex! It is about the fastest lap which is not necessarily the shortest lap in the wet. Being on a dry line is more important and we can't know and critisize drivers for it from the sofa. Particularly if it put them on pole. Believe what James says, he knows his stuff.


To be fair Lewis himself said he didn't do the final chicane very well. But you saw yesterday that the line in the wet is not the same as the line in the dry.

Schumacher used to be very good at finding the grippy line on the outside of a corner in the wet.


Shumi.... loved to see him drive here today...


brilliant driver or just the last lap out in changable conditions? Is it a coincidence that the top 3 were the last 3 over the line? i think not. Go Kimi!


Two things I agree with in the [mod] written above. 1. Pole was a lottery won by Hamilton, who was clearly in the best car for the conditions. 2. James Allen should filter out the [mod] comments by people who clearly know nothing about F1. One more point I would like to make is that Webber is due a very bad start today, as he is right behind the Wonder Boy. Anyone want to bet against it.????


What in the world did they put in the energy drink at RBR this weekend? It looks like Webber actually had a shave on a race weekend and Vettel's hair has changed colour.

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