Lewis Hamilton on pole position at Spa (2008 Belgian Grand Prix qualifying)

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Lewis Hamilton (centre) scored his third pole position in four races at Spa

Lewis Hamilton will start the Belgian Grand Prix from pole position alongside title rival Felipe Massa.

Their team mates will line-up directly behind them on row two with Heikki Kovalainen ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.

Part one

Adrian Sutil put his Force India in front of Kazuki Nakajima's Williams

Lewis Hamilton moved to the top of the times early in the session with a 1’46.887 that was a whole second fastest than anything he’d done in practice. He sat in the garage while the others shot for his time, with Felipe Massa and Heikki Kovalainen eventually bettering it.

Then, in the final moment, Sebastien Bourdais put in a 1’46.777 to take over at the top of the times.

The battle at the other end of the field was between the Force Indias, Honda and Williams. Adrian Sutil put in an impressively clean lap for 14th but he was quickly knocked back down the order to 18th.

But Kazuki Nakajima was visibly struggling and could only managed 19th, seven tenths of a second slower than Nico Rosberg. Honda’s miserable weekend continued with both drivers being knocked out.

Bottom six drivers’ times for part one

16. Rubens Barrichello 1’48.153
17. Jenson Button 1’48.211
18. Adrian Sutil 1’48.226
19. Kazuki Nakajima 1’48.268
20. Giancarlo Fisichella 1’48.447

Part two

Nelson Piquet Jnr was knocked out in the second part of qualifying

Kimi Raikkonen improved on his Q1 time by 0.7s with a 1’46.298 at the beginning of the second part of qualifying. Only the McLarens were able to beat it, both drivers doing 1’46.0s, with Kovalainen 0.051s faster than Hamilton.

The two Toyotas failed to make the final part of qualifying after struggling with the low track temperatures. David Coulthard moved up to fifth with a late lap but was dropped out of the top ten by, among others, team mate Mark Webber.

Nico Rosberg never looked like being better than 15th as he struggled with the un-competitive Williams.

Bottom five drivers’ times for part two

11. Jarno Trulli 1’46.949
12. Nelson Piquet Jnr 1’46.965
13. Timo Glock 1’46.995
14. David Coulthard 1’47.018
15. Nico Rosberg 1’47.429

Part three

Nick Heidfeld out-qualified Robert Kubica for only the second time in 2008

The McLarens, Ferraris, BMWs, Toro Rossos, Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso were left for the start of the final part of qualifying.

Massa was the first driver to complete a hot lap but a mistake at the chicane cost him a few precious tenths of a second, and his 1’48.666 was quickly beaten by team mate Kimi Raikkonen.

The McLarens then demoted both Ferraris, with Hamilton posting a 1’47.973 with a middle sector 0.3s faster than anyone else. Kovalainen, second, was one tenth behind his team mate.

Nick Heidfeld slotted his BMW between the two Ferraris, continuing to out-pace team mate Robert Kubica, with the drivers all pitting before starting their final laps.

Massa bounced back from his mistake and improved by almost a whole second, taking provisional pole position off Hamilton. But the British driver hit back and re-took pole with a 1’47.338.

Heikki Kovalainen couldn’t quite manage to take second, his 1’47.815 putting him third ahead of Raikkonen.

Nick Heidfeld out-qualified Robert Kubica on merit for the first time this season, taking fifth, with Kubica an unusually poor eighth. Fernando Alonso was sixth ahead of Mark Webber, and the two Toro Rossos filled row five, with Sebastien Bourdais 1.4s faster than his team mate, suggesting Sebastian Vettel has plenty of fuel on board.

Top ten drivers’ times for part three

1. Lewis Hamilton 1’47.338
2. Felipe Massa 1’47.678
3. Heikki Kovalainen 1’47.815
4. Kimi Raikkonen 1’47.992
5. Nick Heidfeld 1’48.315
6. Fernando Alonso 1’48.504
7. Mark Webber 1’48.736
8. Robert Kubica 1’48.763
9. Sebastien Bourdais 1’48.951
10. Sebastian Vettel 1’50.319

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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16 comments on “Lewis Hamilton on pole position at Spa (2008 Belgian Grand Prix qualifying)”

  1. Most exciting quali for sometime. Although initial impression is that MCL’s are lighter, suspect low track temperature and Bridgestone’s hardest tyres available played a big role in today’s session.

    Temperature tomorrow is set to be 2-3° hotter and no rain is expected, so maybe Ferrari can salvage the win, but Kimi could have a early battle with the bantamweight Alonso behind him.

  2. Kubica not getting it done.

  3. Hamilton is making a habit of setting a quick time from the off in Q1 and having a nice 10 minute break in the garage. Did anyone else think Massa looked fairly morose with P2? Low fuel?

    Something tells me tomorrow won’t be a procession. I also think Massa-Kovi into the first corner’s going to be interesting – the best defence is offence, so perhaps McLaren will ask/tell him to try to grab P2 from Felipe at the off.

  4. Just an hour after the session finished the GP2 cars are going out for their feature race on a track so wet they’re starting behind the safety car. Don’t rule out more rain tomorrow…

  5. I don’t think p4 is a big problem for Kimi on this track, absent some fuel strategy problem, but I DO think he’d better get as far away from Alonso as he can – also, he may be underrated but I still don’t think Kov. can take Massa at the start – thoughts?

  6. Nice to see quick Nick being quick after a long time..

  7. Martin – i agree with you on Kova there, i would be surprised if he jumped the Brazilian. But as David mentioned, Massa was not looking very happy – you got the feeling that Ferrari was on the fumes and he expected to stick it 0.5 seconds ahead of Lewis. Or maybe he just had a bad stomach and was trying to keep a straight face and tomorrow the Ferrari will be singing again.

  8. I second that thought Mika….I am rooting hard for Nick tomorrow.Time to shout at the T.V.

  9. Did anyone else think it odd that even though Lewis was the only one on the hard tyres in Q2 and the options appeared to be quicker no one on the ITV crew mentioned it? They kept saying that everyone was about level, when it seemed that Hamilton had quite a bit over the rest, which is how it turned out.

  10. “Kubica not getting it done.”
    So? Where is conclusion? Hi was struggling with set-up for whole sessions (“We’re in the wood”).
    Good for Nick, may by podium finish?
    Go Massa!

  11. Good job from Heidfeld, but Kubica did terribly. I like to see Heidfeld perform well, but only when he is behind Robert hehe. Its going to be a tough race for Kubica tomorrow. Alonso seems to be very quick and Heidfeld should be out of reach.

  12. Back from 12 excellent days in the Greek isles, nice to see you all again on this forum.

    I entirely agree w/ Salty. I think the equation is pretty straight-forward for all remaining races:
    (a) 30 C (or higher) + softer rubber = Ferrari win, OR
    (b) 25 C (or lower) + harder rubber = McLaren win

    25-30 C is a toss-up no matter the tire.

    The weather forecast I saw calls for a high of no more than 15 C for Sunday, so I like Lewis’s chances, even if he is lighter by a lap or two. So was Kimi last year (by a mere lap) and translated that weight advantage into a 13-sec lead by the first pit-stops.

    Lewis wins, Massa 2nd, Kimi 3rd. Unless it rains a lot.

  13. F1Fan – You too? Where? I got back from Petra on Lesbos (no sniggering) yesterday.

    I like your Grand Unified Temperature Theory – I’ll be referring to that in the future. I think it’s going to be fairly close tomorrow though.

  14. How many times it has happened that Kimi starts on dirty side, and Alonso starts just behind him and overtakes Kimi on the first corner, and then Kimi can’t do anything ? ? ?

    I think it was at Hungary, Valencia, Spa and probably some races before too. I can’t understand how this has escaped Ferrari’s attention

  15. My blunder. It has only happened once, But I am fully sure, it will happen today

  16. Keith,

    I went to Skopelos where they filmed Mamma Mia. Outstanding and highly recommended. Beautiful beaches and all kinds of trees all over the place, great food of course. Temps never exceeded 32 C, sunny every day.

    If you ever want to go, I can hook you up w/ some people there and give you more information.

    Just checked the weather for the race today and occasional showers are expected. If it rains, it should play to Lewis’s favor.

    I think the time penalty for a lap’s worth of fule is around .3 sec. So at most, Massa is a lap heavier than Lewis which should not be enough to pass during the pit stops. Lewis should be able to run away to the tune of no less than 10 sec until the first stops. If there is no safety car, it should be pretty much over at that point.

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