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Webber seizes Belgian GP pole

Webber seizes Belgian GP pole - F1 | ITV Sport

Webber seizes Belgian GP pole

Saturday, 28 August 2010 14:18

Mark Webber maintained his growing championship momentum as he seized pole for the Belgian Grand Prix in a typically rain-affected Spa qualifying session.

The points leader delivered Red Bull’s 12th pole out of 13 attempts in 2010 to put himself in the prime starting position for Sunday’s potentially unpredictable race – but will have Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren right behind him after the Briton produced a brilliant final lap to claim the second front-row berth despite the drizzle returning.

Hamilton’s last-gasp effort denied Renault’s Robert Kubica his second front row of the season, although third still represents a fine result and appears to demonstrate just how big an improvement the F-duct has brought to the R30.

Sebastian Vettel couldn’t improve on his final lap and so ended up fourth in the second Red Bull, while world champion Jenson Button did find time on his final run to snare fifth.

Despite setting the pace on Friday, disappointingly for its title hopes Ferrari could do no better than sixth and that was with Felipe Massa – its appointed title hope Fernando Alonso strangely failing to get either of his laps right in Q3 and qualifying only 10th.

The kind of heavy rain shower that has dogged the Spa weekend so far – and is predicted to hit Sunday’s race – created an often chaotic Q1 as the big hitters fought to avoid an embarrassing early exit, but conditions improved thereafter with Red Bull and McLaren going toe-to-toe for the pole.

Rubens Barrichello will start his 300th grand prix from an equal season-high of seventh as Williams’s mid-season revival continued, the second car of Nico Hulkenberg taking ninth

Adrian Sutil delivered on Force India’s Spa promise to take eighth, as Mercedes's increasingly depressing season saw both its drivers miss the top 10 to compound grid penalties for both.

Although the Brackley squad was already prepared for Michael Schumacher’s 10-place grid drop after his aggressive block on Barrichello in Hungary prior to the weekend, Nico Rosberg picked up a five-place penalty after his gearbox had to be changed after practice.

Encouraging for Schumacher the German did at least manage to set a marginally quicker qualifying than Rosberg for just the third time to go 11th fastest, although his penalty means he will start 21st while Rosberg drops to a similarly difficult 16th.

Toro Rosso rookie Jaime Alguersuari will therefore start from a career-high 11th after outqualifying normal STR one-lap standard-bearer Sebastien Buemi by a full second, with Force India’s Tonio Liuzzi to start between the pair.

The uncertainty caused by the rain shower in Q1 gave the three new teams’ a rare chance to break into the second phase and Lotus’s Heikki Kovalainen and Virgin’s Timo Glock delivered the goods, just as they did in similar conditions early in the season in Malaysia.

Kovalainen proved to be the quicker of the two in Q2 to set the 16th fastest time although, courtesy of the demotions for the Mercedes duo, will start from the heady heights of 14th, with Glock behind Rosberg in 17th.

Lotus and Virgin’s qualifying results were aided by a depressing afternoon for Sauber which saw both of its cars crash out in the slippery Q1 conditions having
been a consistent top-10 runner throughout practice.

Kamui Kobayashi slithered off the road at Rivarge, while Pedro de la Rosa dropped his C29 into the barriers further round the lap at Stavelot 1.

Vitaly Petrov, however, arguably made the most embarrassing mistake of all when he crashed his Renault on his out lap after running too wide over the kerb at the unnamed left-handed turn nine.

The Russian rookie, who had been looking to build on his best Formula 1 showing to date in Hungary prior to the summer break, lost the back end of his R30 before pirouetting into the inside barrier which broke his car’s front wing.

It condemned him to last position on the grid and brought out the red flag, which triggered the thrilling scramble to get into Q1 once the rain came.

With a rain shower forecast to be imminent once the session was restarted, virtually the whole 24-car field queued up at the end of the pit lane to get the session underway – which created a near race scenario in the first couple of laps as they battled for track position and to get a time on the board as quickly as possible.

The rain, however, hit during the middle of part of the opening fast lap and resulted in both Lotus’s, Glock, Sutil and Kubica flying off into the gravel at Stavelot as grip levels suddenly evaporated.

Belgian GP starting grid

1 WEBBER Red Bull


3 KUBICA Renault

4 VETTEL Red Bull

5 BUTTON McLaren

6 MASSA Ferrari


8 SUTIL Force India


10 ALONSO Ferrari


12 LIUZZI Force India

13 BUEMI Toro Rosso


15 GLOCK Virgin

16 ROSBERG Mercedes*

17 TRULLI Lotus




21 SCHUMACHER Mercedes**

22 DE LA ROSA Sauber

23 DI GRASSI Virgin

24 PETROV Renault

* penalised 5 places for gearbox change
** penalised 10 places after Hungarian GP
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