Lewis Hamilton will start the Belgian Grand Prix from pole position alongside title rival Felipe Massa.
Their team mates will line-up directly behind them on row two with Heikki Kovalainen ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.
Lewis Hamilton moved to the top of the times early in the session with a 1’46.887 that was a whole second fastest than anything he’d done in practice. He sat in the garage while the others shot for his time, with Felipe Massa and Heikki Kovalainen eventually bettering it.
Then, in the final moment, Sebastien Bourdais put in a 1’46.777 to take over at the top of the times.
The battle at the other end of the field was between the Force Indias, Honda and Williams. Adrian Sutil put in an impressively clean lap for 14th but he was quickly knocked back down the order to 18th.
But Kazuki Nakajima was visibly struggling and could only managed 19th, seven tenths of a second slower than Nico Rosberg. Honda’s miserable weekend continued with both drivers being knocked out.
Bottom six drivers’ times for part one
16. Rubens Barrichello 1’48.153
17. Jenson Button 1’48.211
18. Adrian Sutil 1’48.226
19. Kazuki Nakajima 1’48.268
20. Giancarlo Fisichella 1’48.447
Kimi Raikkonen improved on his Q1 time by 0.7s with a 1’46.298 at the beginning of the second part of qualifying. Only the McLarens were able to beat it, both drivers doing 1’46.0s, with Kovalainen 0.051s faster than Hamilton.
The two Toyotas failed to make the final part of qualifying after struggling with the low track temperatures. David Coulthard moved up to fifth with a late lap but was dropped out of the top ten by, among others, team mate Mark Webber.
Nico Rosberg never looked like being better than 15th as he struggled with the un-competitive Williams.
Bottom five drivers’ times for part two
11. Jarno Trulli 1’46.949
12. Nelson Piquet Jnr 1’46.965
13. Timo Glock 1’46.995
14. David Coulthard 1’47.018
15. Nico Rosberg 1’47.429
The McLarens, Ferraris, BMWs, Toro Rossos, Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso were left for the start of the final part of qualifying.
Massa was the first driver to complete a hot lap but a mistake at the chicane cost him a few precious tenths of a second, and his 1’48.666 was quickly beaten by team mate Kimi Raikkonen.
The McLarens then demoted both Ferraris, with Hamilton posting a 1’47.973 with a middle sector 0.3s faster than anyone else. Kovalainen, second, was one tenth behind his team mate.
Nick Heidfeld slotted his BMW between the two Ferraris, continuing to out-pace team mate Robert Kubica, with the drivers all pitting before starting their final laps.
Massa bounced back from his mistake and improved by almost a whole second, taking provisional pole position off Hamilton. But the British driver hit back and re-took pole with a 1’47.338.
Heikki Kovalainen couldn’t quite manage to take second, his 1’47.815 putting him third ahead of Raikkonen.
Nick Heidfeld out-qualified Robert Kubica on merit for the first time this season, taking fifth, with Kubica an unusually poor eighth. Fernando Alonso was sixth ahead of Mark Webber, and the two Toro Rossos filled row five, with Sebastien Bourdais 1.4s faster than his team mate, suggesting Sebastian Vettel has plenty of fuel on board.
Top ten drivers’ times for part three
1. Lewis Hamilton 1’47.338
2. Felipe Massa 1’47.678
3. Heikki Kovalainen 1’47.815
4. Kimi Raikkonen 1’47.992
5. Nick Heidfeld 1’48.315
6. Fernando Alonso 1’48.504
7. Mark Webber 1’48.736
8. Robert Kubica 1’48.763
9. Sebastien Bourdais 1’48.951
10. Sebastian Vettel 1’50.319
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