Rosberg takes Belgian pole; Young Dutchman right behind him

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The hot weather and super soft compound tires may be the talking point of the Belgian Grand Prix weekend so far but it didn’t seem to hamper Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg as he set the fastest time in qualifying and took pole for the race on Sunday.

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I felt the Red Bull power deficit would hinder them from a front row starting position or podium finish but Max Verstappen is making a liar out of me claiming second in qualifying and will start from the front row. His teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, wasn’t as quick and placed just about where I thought they would back in fifth behind the Ferraris.

Kimi Raikkonen—who always does well at Spa Francorchamps as the circuit represents 20% of his career wins—beat his teammate, Sebastian Vettel, to third but Vettel’s fourth-place qualifying effort will find the second row covered in red cars from Italy.

If you thought this may be a track that Williams would find their running legs due to its lack of reliance on aerodynamic downforce and demand for pure shove from the engine, you’d be wrong. That role was keenly played by Force India with Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg claiming sixth and seventh on the grid.

Honrable mentions to McLaren’s Jenson Button who took ninth and made it to the Q3 session and to Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein who claimed 15th in a terrific run on Saturday.

1. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes
2. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Red Bull – TAG Heuer
3. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari
4. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari
5. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull – TAG Heuer
6. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India – Mercedes
7. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India – Mercedes
8. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams-Mercedes
9. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren
10. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams-Mercedes
11. Romain Grosjean (France) Haas – Ferrari
12. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) Renault
13. Jolyon Palmer (Britain) Renault
14. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso – Ferrari
15. Pascal Wehrlein (Germany) Manor – Mercedes
16. Felipe Nasr (Brazil) Sauber – Ferrari
17. Esteban Ocon (France) Manor – Mercedes
18. Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Haas – Ferrari
19. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso – Ferrari
20. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber – Ferrari
21. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes
22. Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren


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That’s an impressive performance by Ver Stappen, getting within .2 sec of Mercedes. I understand he was on the softest tyre, and most of the other Q3 participants were on the soft (?). If he’s starting on softer tyres that’s going to make the first few laps very interesting – he’ll be all over Rosberg, with who knows what consequences ;-)
What has happened to Williams, with the Mercedes P.U they should be right up the front of the grid, as they were two seasons ago, their chassis and aero must be a long way off the pace.


No, they were all on super softs in Q3. The others ran Soft in Q2 in order to start on that tyre, but Max chose to run SS in Q2 so he will indeed be starting on a softer compound to everyone else, assuming it doesn’t rain.

I don’t think that will provide much advantage for Max, as the SS were badly blistered due to the extreme track temperatures yesterday & I expect he’ll have to pit very early.


Thanks Longshot, after I posted I realised that the starting tyres are based on Q2, not Q3 – doh!


Williams suffered with a misfire when their engines were in qualifying mode, so had to switch to the less powerful race mode for qualifying. That forced them to use super softs in Q2, which will most likely compromise their race.


Thanks, things didn’t go much better for Williams in the race. Sounds like the GP would have been a great spectacle (no access to race coverage where we’re holidaying – bummer)

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x