Webber pips Hamilton for Spa pole position (Belgian Grand Prix qualifying)

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Spa-Francorhamps, 2010

Mark Webber gave Red Bull their 12th pole position of the year in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix.

He beat Lewis Hamilton by less than a tenth of a second, and the McLaren driver will start alongside him on the front row for tomorrow’s race.

Robert Kubica put his upgraded Renault in third place after an exciting, rain-hit session.

Q1

The first session began with most of the cars queuing up at the exit of the pit lane as they anticipated an incoming rain shower. But as the cars negotiated their out laps Vitaly Petrov spun his Renault into the barriers at the exit of turn nine, bringing out the red flag.

The meant the rain hit after a hiatus in proceedings, as the drivers went back out to begin their laps. That caused chaos when they reached Curve Paul Frere, which was the wettest corner.

Several cars spun and others had to slow down to get around them – including Michael Schumacher who had to dodge from side to aide to avoid spinning and re-joining cars.

It was hard to pick out whether anyone had transgressed in the mayhem, but the stewards announced they would investigate it.

Meanwhile some drivers had made it through unscathed and registered lap times. The two McLaren drivers went quickest to begin with but the Red Bull pair, who’d left it late to set their times, had to go out on intermediates.

As the rain passed over the track tried quickly and the lap times came tumbling down. Robert Kubica set a new fastest time but McLaren kept their drivers in the pits.

That decision was vindicated when both Sauber drivers spun in the closing stages, leaving the pair in the drop zone.

That allowed two of the new teams’ drivers to capitalise, Heikki Kovalainen and Timo Glock both making it into Q2.

Q2

No more rain fell during the second part of qualifying, but the first laps on a damp track made for a fascinating spectacle. Lewis Hamilton’s first effort was an impressive 1.7 seconds faster than anyone else, the McLaren driver finding more grip than anyone else, particularly in the middle sector.

Most cars did two runs but Hamilton regained the top spot once again by half a second over his team mate.

Neither Mercedes driver made it into the final ten, Schumacher finding traffic on his final run.

Both Toro Rossos, Vitantonio Liuzzi and the two drivers from the new teams were also knocked out.

Q3

Mark Webber hit the top of the times at the start of Q3, four tenths of a second faster than anyone

This proved crucial as the weather was about to play a role once again. A small shower hit the start line area as the drivers were heading out for their second runs.

This was a disaster for Fernando Alonso, who had only managed tenth with his first run and wasn’t able to improve. Felipe Massa in the other Ferrari went off at turn seven trying to find more time.

But the McLaren pair each bettered their times. Button did a 1’46.206 to take fifth place, knocking Massa down to sixth.

And Hamilton found another four tenths of a second to join Webber on the front row of the grid, missing out on pole position by less than a tenth of a second.

Full qualifying times

Pos. # Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 6 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’57.352 1’47.253 1’45.778
2 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’56.706 1’46.211 1’45.863
3 11 Robert Kubica Renault 1’56.041 1’47.320 1’46.100
4 5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’58.487 1’47.245 1’46.127
5 1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’57.981 1’46.790 1’46.206
6 7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’58.323 1’47.322 1’46.314
7 9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’55.757 1’47.797 1’46.602
8 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’58.730 1’47.292 1’46.659
9 10 Nico H???lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’55.442 1’47.821 1’47.053
10 8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’57.023 1’47.544 1’47.441
11 3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’56.313 1’47.874
12 4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’54.826 1’47.885
13 17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’58.944 1’48.267
14 15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 2’01.102 1’48.680
15 16 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 2’00.386 1’49.209
16 19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 2’01.343 1’50.980
17 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 2’01.316 1’52.049
18 18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 2’01.491
19 23 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 2’02.284
20 21 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 2’03.612
21 20 Sakon Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 2’03.941
22 22 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 2’05.294
23 25 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 2’18.154
24 12 Vitaly Petrov Renault

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93 comments on Webber pips Hamilton for Spa pole position (Belgian Grand Prix qualifying)

  1. Younger Hamilton said on 28th August 2010, 14:35

    First of all i want to congrate Mark for a good call when to go out on to the track and getting Pole.But Lewis what a lap to snatch P2 by the death i have to say thats gotta be one of his best laps.Robert great call again that got him P3.Jenson well done in P5 but i would have likes him a bit further up the grid.

  2. Massively disappointed by Alonso. What an awful qualifying session he had.

  3. Simon said on 28th August 2010, 14:40

    Keith, is it possible to put a break-down of the sector times for Q3 laps (or everyone!) in your posts? I’d really like to see how they all compared in S2 especially.

  4. Great lap by Lewis. But I was seeing smoke coming out of his Mclaren when he started Q3. I really hope that’s just a bit of oil and nothing else. And congrats to Webbah and Kubikah as well.

  5. Dianna said on 28th August 2010, 14:53

    Alonso and Michael Schumacher will not be side by side as Michael has to go back another 10 places to 21st.
    Although starting at the back may remind him of his 1995 Spa,where he won the GP that year from 16th on the grid..

    Michael seems a lot happier and settled,not too dispirited.Pity for Rosberg having that 6 place penalty through no fault of his own.

    Congrats to Mark Webber, as always a man that can deliver.Shame if he retires at the end of this season.

  6. Bartholomew said on 28th August 2010, 14:54

    Unless conditions are dry and perfect, Ferrari cannot make a good call no matter how hard they try.

    If Ferrari predicts that the next five years will be of global warming, you can bet your life that the next Ice Age will start this winter.

  7. Jorge H said on 28th August 2010, 15:17

    McLaren run at least 2 different front wings… didn’t noticed which one was Hamilton using during Q3. The latest version looks a bit more like the latest Ferrari wing.
    The question is: will it flex like Ferrari’s and Red Bull’s?

  8. Younger Hamilton said on 28th August 2010, 15:31

    I’ve noticed that both McLaren drivers used the Option Tyres for the whole of Qualifying i think they’re saving the Primes for the long normal second stint and guessing they’re trying to get Both Lewis and Jenson ahead of the Two Red Bulls and hold positions for the first stint then try and plug away from the Red Bulls in the Second stint I also have a feeling Robert will get jumped by Jenson on the start as well and Hold up the Two Redbulls,thats if it all predicted above happens.But Anything is always possible

    • I doubt there is much strategic advantage for a driver in having 3 new sets of prime tyres for the race instead of 2…

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 28th August 2010, 17:10

      There’s no advantage in saving hard tyres. They’ll have used the softs because they’re faster. Anyway, didn’t Hamilton start the session on hard tyres?

  9. Makes the Alonso / Massa thing in Germany look a bit stupid now.

  10. bosyber said on 28th August 2010, 16:20

    Apparently Rosberg is on a wet setup, a gamble decided on because of the 5 place drop (and possibly Schumacher as well then given they were so close?) http://www.gpupdate.net/en/f1-news/241331/schumacher-disappointed-and-rosberg-on-wet-race-setup/

  11. Aimee said on 28th August 2010, 17:15

    Is anyone else disappointed that the BBC have 50 minutes of build-up, some of which isn’t F1 related, then end the broadcast as soon as Qualifying is over, no drivers’ press conference etc.?

    They did this once last year as well, we had to watch Jake Humphrey trying to drive a Lotus, but no interview/press conference from any drivers’ afterwards.

    • nelly said on 28th August 2010, 17:46

      I don’t think they could continue it for longer even if they wanted to today since there was live rugby after. Suppose it’s just the tight schedule. But yeah it is annoying, especially when you don’t see the press conference!

  12. cesium said on 28th August 2010, 17:47

    i couldn’t notice any “flexing” in RBR wings…anyone know if they have fixed it?
    and what’s the deal with Mclaren front wing? there isn’t too much about it anywhere!!

    • DaveW said on 28th August 2010, 19:03

      This is what Whitmarsh has said, and his comments reflect some interesting details about how the RBR wings were working:

      “The [FIA] requirements for Monza really will end what has been a misnomer: the bodywork is intended to be attached rigidly with no degrees of freedom and when you look at bib stays that hinge, buckle, slide and have dampers, it seems a bit bizarre to me. So I think it should end that particular trend and that is the mission really. That will be good.”

      I think theories referencing the Silverstone RBR nose cone failure had some substance.

  13. Lord Wallaby said on 28th August 2010, 17:57

    If there are some incidents, the Lotuses and Virgins could be looking seriously for a point.

  14. DaveW said on 28th August 2010, 18:16

    I don’t get what Ferrari are doing. Massa had the highest speed trap—and +9 kph over Alonso and +5 on the next car. Maybe Alonso is gambling on a full wet set up, but that won’t explain Massa’s lack of pace. Massa did go off on his final run, so maybe there is more in the car.

    Also notice McLaren are about equal with RBR in the speed traps, but still make about .3s on them in S1 and S3. They are getting to terminal speed faster: Mercedes torque.

    Looks good for Hamilton. With .3s on Webber in sector 1, he will have a good shot at passing him up Kemmel, assuming he can keep Kubica back. Webber must know that if he lets Hamilton by that’s the match. He’ll never pass a McLaren on this track. I’m not going to bother with Button’s excuses. He is .3 to .5 back no matter what. But he must, must get by Vettel for the WCC and for Hamilton’s sake.

    It’s quite surprising that the backmarkers were not flying on the straights, as usual. If it pours tomorrow they could be surprisingly competitive.

  15. Martin said on 28th August 2010, 18:23

    might be silly , but I’d like to hear some predictions for the start -

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