Hamilton takes fourth consecutive pole in Belgium

Lewis Hamilton celebrates his fourth consecutive pole Saturday afternoon at the Spa circuit in Belgium. Photo courtesy of Associated Press

SPA-FRANCHORCHAMPS, Belgium (RIS)- As the final driver up the last straight in the last qualifying session Saturday afternoon, Lewis Hamilton recorded a last second 2:01:012 to take pole position for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Belgium at this legendary circuit. For the Briton, it was his fourth pole in a row and the 31st of his career. Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber finished second and third, respectively.

“A fourth pole in a row just feels fantastic!” Hamilton beamed. “The team did a great job to get the timing at the end of Q3 absolutely perfect and I was in exactly the right track position. I was so surprised when I came across the line to hear I was P1. I went wide in the first corner and I thought I was down on time from the read-out on my steering wheel. I just kept pushing and did a strong middle sector, then I could see I was catching Sebastian towards the end so it was a great feeling”.

As it does most of the time, Spa is famous for its unpredictable weather, and this no exception as the opening session was greeted with rain that began to fall onto the track. However, with five minutes to go, the circuit began to dry, and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso took advantage of this 2:00:190 fastest time. But team Marussia with drivers Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton, moved on for the first time in their careers to the following session, while Williams drivers Pastor Maldonado and Vallteri Bottas, who normally advance to the next round, failed to move on. Along with them were the Toro Rosso pair of Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Riccardo, who made things even more surprising with their poor showing.

The weather clouded up more in the next session, but no rain fell throughout this session, and Kimi Raikkonen showed that the circuit was dry as the Finn set the best time with a 1:48:274 fastest lap, which turned out to be the best time of the entire qualifying day. Marusssia’s luck ran out as well as Nico Hulkenberg, Adrian Sutil and Sergio Perez, who all failed to advance.

However, the final session was intense, as rain finally began to fall and the last remaining ten drivers lined up into the pit lane to get the green light to start. With seven minutes to go, the rain began to let up and the track dried once again with many drivers coming in for intermediates. The change suited six drivers as they had one more chance for pole. Webber, Vettel and finally Hamilton crossed the line, with the latter getting the best time to try a possible second consecutive victory.

Nico Rosberg led the rest of the top ten with fourth; while Paul Di Resta, who took a chance and had intermediates installed right at the beginning of the session, ran out of luck and took fifth. Jenson Button had his best start of the season in sixth, while the Lotus pair of Romain Grosjean and Raikkonen were next in seventh and eighth. Ferrari two drivers, Alonso and Felipe Massa, completed the top ten of the grid respectively.

After such a great win in the last round in Hungary, Hamilton felt that he can take the fight to his rivals next to him.

“I hope we can try and fight it out tomorrow, whatever the conditions.” Said Hamilton. “The Red Bulls are still ahead of us in terms of performance so results like this feel even more special because I know I've got the absolute maximum out of myself and out of the car."

Mark Gero

A 12 year veteran writer who has covered race weekends for RIS for three years. Also did the same for motorsport.com.For the last two years, I have been a member of AARWBA.

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Volume 2013, Issue 8, Posted 5:18 PM, 08.24.2013