Hamilton equals Schumacher pole record at Spa
Lewis Hamilton produced a stunning lap to claim pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix and equal the all-time Formula 1 pole record held by Michael Schumacher.
The three-time world champion was untouchable at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit as he delivered a blistering new track record 1:42:553s to take his 68th career pole position.
Hamilton dipped into the 1:42s bracket on his first run in Q3 before shaving a further half a second off the benchmark time.
The Brit was congratulated on equaling Schumacher’s record by Liberty Media’s Ross Brawn, who relayed a message from the Schumacher family.
Hamilton said he felt honoured to equal the achievement of the sport’s most successful driver.
“I can’t believe it,” said Hamilton.
“I have to say a big thank you to my team. Ross (Brawn) was a big part in me coming to Mercedes.
“To come here and put a lap together like that is a dream.
“To hear the message that Ross just gave I have to say a big thank you. I pray for Michael and his family all the time.
“I had the privilege of racing with him and always admired him. I’m honoured to be up there with him. He will still be one the greatest of all time.”
Sebastian Vettel, who confirmed a new three-year deal with Ferrari, dug deep on his final effort to join Hamilton on the front row.
Valtteri Bottas was third fastest in the sister Mercedes with Kimi Raikkonen fourth after suffering a vibration on his Ferrari.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen out-qualified Daniel Ricciardo to claim fifth as the Milton Keynes squad locked out the third row.
“We couldn’t improve on Ferrari and Mercedes today they were quick,” said Ricciardo.
“We tried something yesterday and we came back on it today. We ended up with a better set up in the end.
“When we started to push more we found ourselves with more problems.
“It might mean we have a better chance in the race with the way the tyres drop off.”
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg was seventh ahead of the Force India duo of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon.
The top 10 was completed by Jolyon Palmer although the Renault driver was unable to set a time in Q3 after being struck by a gearbox issue.
McLaren’s Fernando Alonso narrowly missed out on the top 10 following a last gasp effort from Hulkenberg in Q2.
Alonso’s ongoing frustrations at the lack of power from the Honda engine emerged again, with the two-time world champion voicing his views over the team radio.
Haas F1’s Romain Grosjean pipped his team-mate Kevin Magnussen to 12th ahead of Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz.
Neither Williams made it through Q1 with Felipe Massa suffering a five place penalty for ignoring yellow flags in final practice.
The Saubers of Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson have been hit with the same penalty after undergoing gearbox changes.
The final row of the grid will be occupied by Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat, who suffered a 20 place grid drop for a change of engine elements, and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne after he incurred 65 place penalty.
Vandoorne, who ended qualifying in 15th, headed to his home race with a 35 place grid drop for a change of power unit before his team undertook a further gearbox and engine change.
The Belgian Grand Prix is scheduled to start at 2200 AEST.
Result: Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix Qualifying
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m43.380s||0.827s|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m43.863s||1.310s|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m45.244s||2.691s|
|9||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m45.369s||2.816s|
|14||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m45.439s||–|
|15||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren/Honda||–||65 place penalty (engine and gearbox change)|
|16||Felipe Massa||Williams/Mercedes||1m45.823s||5 place penalty (ignoring yellow flags)|
|17||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m46.028s||20 place penalty (engine change)|
|19||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||1m47.214s||5 place penalty (gearbox)|
|20||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber/Ferrari||1m47.679s||5 place penalty (gearbox)|