• Belgian Grand Prix - Qualifying

Hamilton snatches pole in changing conditions

ESPN Staff
August 24, 2013
Lewis Hamilton took pole at a wet Spa-Francorchamps © Sutton Images
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Lewis Hamilton took pole position from Sebastian Vettel in a topsy turvy qualifying session that saw the track change from lap to lap and eventually favour the Briton on his very last attempt.

At the start of Q3 all the drivers bar Paul di Resta went out on the track on slicks, only to return one lap later to fit intermediates. That left the Force India with a free track and with intermediates bolted on it looked as if the team had pulled a masterstroke to take pole as the rain soon intensified.

However, in true Spa-Francorchamps style the weather changed again in the final minutes of the session and all of a sudden the circuit offered up quicker times. Nico Rosberg was the first to take advantage with a brilliant lap in miserable conditions, but Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton were further down the road and all finding more time as the track improved.

As each of the trio crossed the line the pole position changed hands, with Hamilton snatching it right at the end to take his fourth consecutive pole position. Rosberg and di Resta had done enough to hold onto fourth and fifth, with Jenson Button sixth ahead of Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen. The Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa will start ninth and tenth after both set their fast laps in the worst of the weather, which provided the team with a frustrating end to a promising Saturday.

During a dry Q2 Hamilton snuck through to the top ten by just 0.021s ahead of Nico Hulkenberg who will start 11th. Adrian Sutil also missed the cut ahead of a disappointed Sergio Perez in the second McLaren.

Q1 provided an upset as a drying track surface allowed van der Garde and the two Marussias to take a punt on slicks and embarrass some of the faster cars. Van der Garde will start the race 14th ahead directly ahead of Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton.

Pastor Maldonado just missed out on Q2 to Chilton after a disappointing session for Williams. The promising practice pace of the Toro Rossos came to nothing with Jean-Eric Vergne 18th and Daniel Ricciardo 19th, while Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Gutierrez also missed out on Q2. Charles Pic just managed to get within 107% of the fastest time in last place.