Mark Webber gave Red Bull their 12th pole position of the year in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix.
He beat Lewis Hamilton by less than a tenth of a second, and the McLaren driver will start alongside him on the front row for tomorrow’s race.
Robert Kubica put his upgraded Renault in third place after an exciting, rain-hit session.
The first session began with most of the cars queuing up at the exit of the pit lane as they anticipated an incoming rain shower. But as the cars negotiated their out laps Vitaly Petrov spun his Renault into the barriers at the exit of turn nine, bringing out the red flag.
The meant the rain hit after a hiatus in proceedings, as the drivers went back out to begin their laps. That caused chaos when they reached Curve Paul Frere, which was the wettest corner.
Several cars spun and others had to slow down to get around them – including Michael Schumacher who had to dodge from side to aide to avoid spinning and re-joining cars.
It was hard to pick out whether anyone had transgressed in the mayhem, but the stewards announced they would investigate it.
Meanwhile some drivers had made it through unscathed and registered lap times. The two McLaren drivers went quickest to begin with but the Red Bull pair, who’d left it late to set their times, had to go out on intermediates.
As the rain passed over the track tried quickly and the lap times came tumbling down. Robert Kubica set a new fastest time but McLaren kept their drivers in the pits.
That decision was vindicated when both Sauber drivers spun in the closing stages, leaving the pair in the drop zone.
That allowed two of the new teams’ drivers to capitalise, Heikki Kovalainen and Timo Glock both making it into Q2.
No more rain fell during the second part of qualifying, but the first laps on a damp track made for a fascinating spectacle. Lewis Hamilton’s first effort was an impressive 1.7 seconds faster than anyone else, the McLaren driver finding more grip than anyone else, particularly in the middle sector.
Most cars did two runs but Hamilton regained the top spot once again by half a second over his team mate.
Neither Mercedes driver made it into the final ten, Schumacher finding traffic on his final run.
Both Toro Rossos, Vitantonio Liuzzi and the two drivers from the new teams were also knocked out.
Mark Webber hit the top of the times at the start of Q3, four tenths of a second faster than anyone
This proved crucial as the weather was about to play a role once again. A small shower hit the start line area as the drivers were heading out for their second runs.
This was a disaster for Fernando Alonso, who had only managed tenth with his first run and wasn’t able to improve. Felipe Massa in the other Ferrari went off at turn seven trying to find more time.
But the McLaren pair each bettered their times. Button did a 1’46.206 to take fifth place, knocking Massa down to sixth.
And Hamilton found another four tenths of a second to join Webber on the front row of the grid, missing out on pole position by less than a tenth of a second.
Full qualifying times
|1||6||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||1’57.352||1’47.253||1’45.778|
|4||5||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1’58.487||1’47.245||1’46.127|
|8||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1’58.730||1’47.292||1’46.659|
|13||17||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1’58.944||1’48.267|
|14||15||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Force India-Mercedes||2’01.102||1’48.680|
|15||16||Sebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||2’00.386||1’49.209|
|22||22||Pedro de la Rosa||Sauber-Ferrari||2’05.294|
|23||25||Lucas di Grassi||Virgin-Cosworth||2’18.154|
2010 Belgian Grand Prix