BBC Sport - Lewis Hamilton on pole in Belgium, with Paul Di Resta fifth
Lewis Hamilton on pole in Belgium, with Paul Di Resta fifth
By Andrew Benson
Chief F1 writer at Spa Francorchamps
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton beat the Red Bulls to take a stunning pole position at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Hamilton took his fourth pole in a row ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber and team-mate Nico Rosberg.
There was heartbreak for Force India's Paul Di Resta, who was fastest for a while only to be knocked down to fifth.
McLaren's Jenson Button took sixth, with title contenders Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso only eighth and ninth.
Rain on race day
Raikkonen's Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean was seventh and Ferrari's Felipe Massa 10th.
Di Resta benefited from his decision to fit intermediate tyres at the start of final qualifying as rain began to fall, whereas all the big teams started the session on dry-weather tyres.
The Scot went fastest as the other drivers came in to change their dry-weather 'slick' tyres and as the track was soaked it appeared the decision would pay off.
But the rain then stopped and in the final minutes of the session the front-runners all improved - although Alonso did not manage to cross the line in time to do a lap when the track was at its driest following an earlier spin.
Hamilton was the last driver to cross the line and do a fast lap and it paid off as he beat Vettel by 0.188 seconds.
The German crossed the line just behind team-mate Webber and beat the Australian by 0.125secs.
Di Resta said he had expected the rain to stay but was pleased to equal his career-best qualifying position.
Englishman Max Chilton achieved a career-best qualifying position of 16th after his Marussia team and rivals Caterham chose to fit dry-weather tyres in the final moments of the first knock-out session while everyone else was on intermediate tyres.
Hamilton delighted with Belgian pole
The decision enabled Caterham's Giedo van der Garde to achieve a stunning third place in the first session behind Ferrari's Alonso and Mercedes' Hamilton.
The Dutchman secured 14th place on the grid in the drier conditions of the second session, just ahead of the two Marussia of Jules Bianchi and Chilton, who was impressively just 0.199secs slower than his highly rated French team-mate.
Failing to put on slick tyres cost the two Toro Rosso drivers places in the second session.
Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo, who is expected to move to Red Bull next season, will line up 18th and 19th.
Williams's Valtteri Bottas, Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez and Caterham's Charles Pic brought up the rear.
Full results from the qualifying sessions in Belgium.
BELGIAN GRAND PRIX, DAY THREE
Sunday 25 August: Race coverage at 12:10 BST on BBC One & BBC Red Button at 13:00 BST, Radio 5 live, plus live text commentary online. F1 Forum, 15:15 Connected TV. Highlights, 19:00 BBC Three & BBC Red Button
1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 2mins 01.012secs
2 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Red Bull 2:01.200
3 Mark Webber (Aus) Red Bull 2:01.325,
4 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes GP 2:02.251
5 Paul di Resta (Gbr) Force India 2:02.332
6 Jenson Button (Gbr) McLaren 2:03.075
7 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Lotus F1 Team 2:03.081
8 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Lotus F1 Team 2:03.390
9 Fernando Alonso (Spa) Ferrari 2:03.482
10 Felipe Massa (Bra) Ferrari 2:04.059
11 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Sauber-Ferrari 1:49.088
12 Adrian Sutil (Ger) Force India 1:49.103
13 Sergio Perez (Mex) McLaren 1:49.304
14 Giedo van der Garde (Ned) Caterham 1:52.036
15 Jules Bianchi (Fra) Marussia 1:52.563
16 Max Chilton (Gbr) Marussia 1:52.762
17 Pastor Maldonado (Ven) Williams 2:03.072
18 Jean-Eric Vergne (Fra) Scuderia Toro Rosso 2:03.300
19 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Scuderia Toro Rosso 2:03.317
20 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Williams 2:03.432
21 Esteban Gutierrez (Mex) Sauber-Ferrari 2:04.324
22 Charles Pic (Fra) Caterham 2:07.384