Lewis Hamilton takes his 68th Pole Position at the Belgian GP

26 August 2017

In qualifying for the Belgian GP at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit today, Lewis Hamilton claimed his 68th Pole Position equalling Michael Schumacher’s record ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas in a session that saw Hamilton put in an astonishing performance to achieve it.

During the session, Renault’s Jolyon Palmer looked set to qualify best of the rest behind the top three teams after setting the seventh quickest time in Q2, but he broke down at the exit of Stavelot on his out-lap in Q3 after losing gearbox oil pressure but managed to qualify in tenth place despite this which is a fantastic achievement.

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso missed out on the final Q3 spot by 0.084s, despite the efforts of team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne to give Alonso a tow along the Kemmel Straight on Alonso’s final flying lap. Alonso then aborted the attempt, complaining of “no power” from his Honda engine at the exit of Pouhon over team radio.

Let us not forget that Vandoorne will drop to the back of the grid in any case thanks to a 65-place penalty for two illegal engine changes earlier in the weekend. But Williams’s disastrous Spa weekend continued with both cars dropping out in Q1. Felipe Massa fell less than a tenth short of making the cut after a late improvement, knocked out by a better one from Carlos Sainz Jr’s Toro Rosso.

Even though Massa ended up sixteenth quickest, he will drop back thanks to a five-place grid penalty for ignoring double waved yellow flags in final practice.

Daniil Kvyat’s day just got worse in qualifying. He complained during the session that he had “no reference” after breaking down with an engine problem in the morning session. Kvyat will take a 20-place grid penalty for requiring an engine, turbo and MGU-H change before qualifying.

But qualifying was all about Lewis Hamilton. During Q2, Hamilton astoundingly broke through the 1m43s barrier for the first time in Q2 at Spa and then repeated the feat on his first run in Q3 and he led Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas by more than three tenths of a second.

But Hamilton found even more time on his second Q3 run and managed to break into the 1m42s barrier. There were fears however as the session as Vettel managed to put an amazing lap together himself and was the only other driver other than Hamilton to lap below 1m43s.

But it was Lewis Hamilton who was claimed Pole Position with an astonishing lap time of 1:42.553 and equalled Michael Schumacher’s record of 68 Pole Positions. It is truly a fantastic achievement and shows the driver and champion that Hamilton is.

Hamilton finished ahead of Sebastian Vettel in second place who was 0.242 seconds behind him and ahead of Valtteri Bottas in third place who was 0.541 seconds behind Hamilton.

Kimi Raikkonen qualified in fourth place ahead of Max Verstappen in fifth place, Daniel Ricciardo in sixth place, Nico Hulkenberg in a brilliant seventh place, Sergio Perez in eighth place, Esteban Ocon in ninth place and Jolyon Palmer who rounded off the top ten finishers.

Fernando Alonso qualified in eleventh place ahead of Romain Grosjean in twelfth place, Kevin Magnussen in thirteenth place, Carlos Sainz Jr in fourteenth place and Stoffel Vandoorne in fifteenth place.

As we head into the latter stages of the grid, Felipe Massa ended the session in sixteenth place ahead of Daniil Kvyat in seventeenth place, Lance Stroll in eighteenth place, Marcus Ericsson in nineteenth place and Pascal Wehrlein in twentieth place.

The classification of Qualifying for the Belgian GP is as follows:-

1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1.42.553
2. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 0.242s
3. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 0.541s
4. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 0.717s
5. Max Verstappen, Red-Bull-TAG Heuer, 0.827s
6. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull-TAG Heuer, 1.310s
7. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 2.429s
8. Sergio Perez, Force India-Mercedes, 2.691s
9. Esteban Ocon, Force India-Mercedes, 2.816s
10. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, No Time Set
11. Fernando Alonso, McLaren-Honda, 1.45.090
12. Romain Grosjean, Haas Ferrari, 1.45.133
13. Kevin Magnussen, Haas Ferrari, 1.45.400
14. Carlos Sainz Jr, Toro Rosso, 1.45.539
15. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren-Honda, No Time Set
16. Felipe Massa, Williams-Mercedes, 1.45.823
17. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, 1.45.823
18. Lance Stroll, Williams-Mercedes, 1.46.028
19. Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber-Ferrari, 1.47.214
20. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber-Ferrari, 1.47.679

Driving for Pleasure will be covering the Belgium GP weekend with our race report alongside the latest news.

Sarah Jones- @jonesy_laaa