Webber pips Hamilton for Spa pole position (Belgian Grand Prix qualifying)

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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

Pos. # Driver Car Q1


1 6 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’57.352 1’47.253 1’45.778
2 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’56.706 1’46.211 1’45.863
3 11 Robert Kubica Renault 1’56.041 1’47.320 1’46.100
4 5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’58.487 1’47.245 1’46.127
5 1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’57.981 1’46.790 1’46.206
6 7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’58.323 1’47.322 1’46.314
7 9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’55.757 1’47.797 1’46.602
8 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’58.730 1’47.292 1’46.659
9 10 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’55.442 1’47.821 1’47.053
10 8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’57.023 1’47.544 1’47.441
11 3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’56.313 1’47.874
12 4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’54.826 1’47.885
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
16 19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 2’01.343 1’50.980
17 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 2’01.316 1’52.049
18 18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 2’01.491
19 23 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 2’02.284
20 21 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 2’03.612
21 20 Sakon Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 2’03.941
22 22 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 2’05.294
23 25 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 2’18.154
24 12 Vitaly Petrov Renault

2010 Belgian Grand Prix

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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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    93 comments on “Webber pips Hamilton for Spa pole position (Belgian Grand Prix qualifying)”

    1. Great job by Webber. Good job by top 3. Ham clearly beat But and Kub did well as the sole Renault.

      Was hoping for a good weekend from petrov but hopefully he can put in a good race. Alo/Ferrari dropped the ball today. I’d like Mas to be quicker but next season as it’s pointless now.

      Congrats to Schu outqualifying Nico and avoiding the carnage.

      1. Well put, and also good job by Sutil, Vettel somewhat disapponting. I still think Ferrari can have a good race, their grid position is due to mistakes/wrong timing, not lack of pace. But unless there is a lot of changing weather with SC periods, I don’t think they can win.

        Hamilton looks good for the win – Webber doesn’t really have a clear advantage anywhere, not even S2, and Red Bull can’t use their engine-retardation thing the whole race. I think superior f-duct allows the running of a lot more wing on the McLaren.

        1. It is a big gamble by Alo but maybe he saw they didn’t ahve the pace so tried it. I would have expected him to come out and say that straight away to show he is in fact the quicker one just because he’s so darn competitive.

          On his first run he was on used softs.

          I think Vettel in the end did a fairly good job. He had that small issue with the car this morning which would have been an unwelcome distraction but not really a problem but he so nearly screwed up in quali by leaving his run so late and going on the hards. Luckily the new teams are still slow and his lap on the inters was pretty good but it wouldn’t have been a comfortable time for him.

      2. really don’t understand what happened to Alonso on that first run. He didn’t make a mistake because he was down in every sector which makes no sense since he was 0.5 seconds faster in nearly identical conditions yesterdays. Will be interesting to see what the explaination is.

        1. It’s the kind of thing that makes you wonder if he’s gambled on a different set-up. But the conditions are so variable it’s be a big gamble if he did.

          1. As I posted here, https://www.racefans.net/2010/08/28/belgian-grand-prix-grid-2/#comment-418998 – looking at the sector times, he is clearly doing something different. I would hope for him it is a wet setup, because he is really far down in S1 and S3, and both Ferrari’s are down in S2.

            I would guess both have less downforce than McLaren, to be able to keep up in S1, S3, where Massa is indeed 3rd. In S2 Alonso edges out Massa, but they both are half a second down on everyone around. So maybe Alonso thought his only real chance was to do something different.

            1. He said he used an older set for his first run, saving the newer set for his second run, which was then wet.

          2. miguelF1O (@)
            29th August 2010, 1:02

            they change their front wing.because of the weather they might have got it all wrong and make a bad move

        2. I think Alonso was expecting rain, so he used rain setups. If you look there were differences between Alonso and Massa rear wings.

          1. According to Pravda, Massa was running an experimental low drag wing, for Monza. They have a drawing and stuff. So, Massa is now testing parts for Alonso? Anyway, it seems like they should have had that wing on the other car. Total strategic fail in qualifying for them today.

        3. Like Keith said if he has gambled on a wet wet race its a massive risk to take considering he’s just got himself back in the title race.

      3. miguelF1O (@)
        28th August 2010, 14:33

        did anyone notice mclaren new front wing its similar to ferrari concept but different design it is flexing like they wanted to strange is that the wing seems to be built with less carbon fibre maybe that was what made it flex more because without the big bridge they have less support less rigidity like expected ham ftw horrible qualy for ferrari but we never know on the rain anyway mclarens set up make them favourite for the wet cause the RW80 enables that but thankfully it is pointless to use that on monza so its imposible to predict the winner next gp

        1. Please use punctuation…

          1. or catch a big breath before start reading…

            1. Was a really good comment ignoring the punctuation and spelling.

              I didn’t notice that Miguel, We must have a look at the photo’s when Keith releases them, maybe that will show us.

              Did you see if the Ferrari or Red Bull wings were flexing?

        2. I just watched Q3 again. I noticed that Hamilton was running the old wing and Jenson the new one.

          1. RBR were back to the same flex as China… not the hitting the floor as at Silverstone onwards. Ferrari wing also seemed more rigid as pointed out y’day.
            Personally I’m convinced they have both changed their wings, but that is only based on TV pictures and is a bit subjective, however you can not dispute that the RBR wing is no longer hitting the track.

          2. Younger Hamilton
            28th August 2010, 20:38

            Yes Lewis had the Turkey-spec Front wing while JB had the new Front Wing

        3. I assuming that hams wing is flexing more than usual mainly because of martin brundles comments

        4. ferrari was running the old spec front wing, maybe thats why didnt see the flexiness. redbulls was “wobbling” and maybe mclarens wing looked close to the ground because the car was also close to the ground

      4. Massa quicker is unfortunetly probably only down to setup, which is prety different betwen dry and rain.

        If Alonso gembled with the setup and the whole race is wet than it might be quit different picture tomorow.

      5. I love this quote from James Allen´s blog:

        Asking engineers from other teams they share that sense of wonder at Hamilton’s final lap. And given that it boosted him to the front row of the grid it may turn out to be an important moment in the championship story. Button too was able to improve in the final run, but not by as much as Hamilton.

    2. Hamilton for the win in a dry race, in the wet too if he stays out of trouble. Not even a tenth off in qualifying, where Red Bull’s advantage always shows greatest. Great laps from him and Kubica also. Alonso in trouble, 30 (say) points with 6 races to go wouldn’t be a mountain to climb but he’d rather not have that gap increasing especially before Monza.

      1. Would have been interesting to see how the times would have stacked up in the dry. Hamilton was within a tenth of Webbter on a lap that was clearly compromised by rain on the first corner, dropping 3 tenths in the first sector, but equally it’s hard to say if Webber had a great deal more in better conditions.

      2. everyone is ruling out ferrari and redbull from monza, but without the f-ducts monza will be a test to the straight line speed and to the mechanical grip.

    3. Hey Keith, could you confirm what compounds Hulk/Sutil were using in Q3? I didn’t catch it, I wonder if they were running on the same as Rubens with the harder compound.

      If not it’s fantastic for Rubens to outdo them with the harder tyres!

      Oh yeah red bull pole grats etc etc

      1. I think only Barrichello ran hard tyres, everyone else options.

        1. miguelF1O (@)
          28th August 2010, 14:34

          why with the rain prospects it would be logical to use the option?

          1. If rain is predicted towards the end of the race Rubens could run till it rains then when everyone comes in for rain tyres he’d be making his first stop everyone else making their second. Could prove to be a very clever gamble

            1. And for the same reason, if it isn’t clear when it will be raining, the options allow running until it does.

            2. Of course if it rains early, he’d have used the slower hard tyres when everyone else has gain advantage on the softs…

              He might do well out of this, I hope he does.

              Isn’t the softer compound the option tyre?

            3. okay so barrichello is hoping for late showers

          2. As I understand it a softer compound will work better when the track is damp, as it’s easier to keep the temperature in the tyres, which is the most important thing.

    4. i believe HAM could have got pole were it not for the rain. congrats to webber tho!

    5. Good job by webber, but I still think Hamilton had it in him to get pole if it wasn’t for the rain at the end. Massa didn’t do too bad for a number 2 driver, I bet alonso is gutted. I think they will be some serious drama tomorow, I’m not going to make any predictions about lewis because il jinx him lol

    6. HounslowBusGarage
      28th August 2010, 14:24

      So MSC will start the race from P21 on the grid. Has he ever been so far from the front? If it’s wet, I expect hom to reclaim the ten place grid penalty in the first three or four laps.

      1. He started from the pitlane in China 2004

        1. HounslowBusGarage
          28th August 2010, 14:41

          Aha! Thanks.
          (Your comment is too short . . . )

          1. ok heres something longer :) 2004 was probably his best season, 7 wins in a row. Apart from Monaco, China and Brazil it was one of his best. 2002 was pretty good too.

    7. I can’t believe Hamilton put that lap in! What a performance. Will be good to see him challenge up Eau Rouge, if anyone will try it it’ll be Lewis.

      Kubica also did a great lap and will be interesting with him in the mix tomorrow.

      1. Imagine how fast he could have gone when the track was at its driest… I’d love to see his lap onboard. And I too can not wait for the start, but I will be hoping Webber can Hamilton off. It is going to be so interesting!

    8. Nice grid mix up but over all a rather tame and subdued session. Just a stream of white and yellow on the official timing app until the last two sectors!

      Nice to see Kubica up there again..first time since Monaco? Shame for Petrov, was interested to see how the f-duct would have suited the team, given the weather which was bound to throw a spanner in the works and mix it up anyway.

      Looking forward to tomorrow!

      1. Tame and subdued? With all those isolated showers??

        1. Well..no one walled it! :P

          Petrov came close however.

    9. Realy thought that McLaren had no chance in todays qualifying, judging by all their talk of damage limitation this weekend. Maybe the changable conditions played there part and showed up some faults in the redbull and ferraries. Hope tomorrow is more of the same…..cant wait

    10. Great driving by Lewis today, particularly the last run for second. Really enjoyed seeing Massa outdrive the Ferrari number one too…

    11. Going to be interesting up Eau Rouge! Any other course I would expect RBR to walk the first corner, but not so convinced now.

      Great pic of EJ too for Barrichello’s 300th Grand Prix! He doesn’t half get some stick from Jake.

    12. Great for Hamilton, I’ll be hoping he can get the jump on the run up through the Eau Rouge/Kemmel straight section.

      As for 12 poles in one season by a constructor, it matches:
      Ferrari 2004
      Mclaren 1990, 1998
      Lotus 1978
      Williams 1987, 1995, 1996

      One more pole this season would make them outright 5th most poles, 3 more to become first equal along with:
      Mclaren 1988, 1989
      Williams 1992, 1993.

      1. Really it shows how badly Red Bull are throwing this compared to how all these teams during those seasons dominated.

        I don’t think Red Bull are going to win tomorrow.

        Nice load of stats there though, cheers

        1. Not entirely – their car clearly works better in qualifying than in the race.

          All the same, they have thrown loads of points away.

        2. *sigh* This season, fastest car in qualifying no longer means fastest car on race day – especially when RBR have a system that they run only on Saturdays anyway.

          1. And so far, that hasn’t really proven to be a good trade-off, so let’s hope next year teams might not follow it.

            1. Trade-off implies they’re sacrificing race speed for qualification, but is that the case?

    13. Our commentators mentioned that no penalties have been given following the incident in Q1. I presume it was the collision between di Grassi and Trulli which they were investigating.

      1. I think they were investigating any breaches of yellows but it was so chaotic I don’t think Alo or Schumi could have avoided lifting off even if they’d wanted to

      2. miguelF1O (@)
        28th August 2010, 14:36

        yes but the 3 we saw didnt touched what the cameras did not show is that other 2 cars had spun on front of that pack i think kubica and maybe a force india

      3. … but now Glock got 5 places drop for impeding Yamamoto, as unlikely as that sounds, I guess they checked it a few times before confirming it.

    14. Perhaps the difference in tyre wear has a lot to do with this qualifying result. We’ve been saying all season that the McLaren’s are harder on their tyres than say the Ferraris… maybe that helped them to warm the tyres up faster in cool and changing conditions?

    15. Another Calum
      28th August 2010, 14:35

      Hamilton would have been on pole if he did that lap in the dry it was crazy but then agian im happy it was damp because alonso is in 10th place and im sure hamilton will pull off a nice move through Eau Rouge :P

      One of the best quali’s to watch this season i think and i guarantee the race will be something special 0.0

      1. Must admit I got a laugh from your user name :P

      2. I think your right about him making a move…not so much through eau rouge but up to les combes…however, i fear it might have to be on robert kubica

    16. Younger Hamilton
      28th August 2010, 14:35

      First of all i want to congrate Mark for a good call when to go out on to the track and getting Pole.But Lewis what a lap to snatch P2 by the death i have to say thats gotta be one of his best laps.Robert great call again that got him P3.Jenson well done in P5 but i would have likes him a bit further up the grid.

    17. Massively disappointed by Alonso. What an awful qualifying session he had.

    18. Keith, is it possible to put a break-down of the sector times for Q3 laps (or everyone!) in your posts? I’d really like to see how they all compared in S2 especially.

    19. Great lap by Lewis. But I was seeing smoke coming out of his Mclaren when he started Q3. I really hope that’s just a bit of oil and nothing else. And congrats to Webbah and Kubikah as well.

    20. Alonso and Michael Schumacher will not be side by side as Michael has to go back another 10 places to 21st.
      Although starting at the back may remind him of his 1995 Spa,where he won the GP that year from 16th on the grid..

      Michael seems a lot happier and settled,not too dispirited.Pity for Rosberg having that 6 place penalty through no fault of his own.

      Congrats to Mark Webber, as always a man that can deliver.Shame if he retires at the end of this season.

    21. Unless conditions are dry and perfect, Ferrari cannot make a good call no matter how hard they try.

      If Ferrari predicts that the next five years will be of global warming, you can bet your life that the next Ice Age will start this winter.

      1. I don’t think Ferrari did anything wrong today. They just lacked pace. Unless it turns out they stuck Alo on a wet set up and it stays dry tomorrow…

        1. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8952304.stm – apparently they did get it wrong in needing to use a set of softs too many before Q3, then not going out with them right away while it was still dry – then again, Button mentions the same issue costing him 2nd row, so Ferrari weren’t the only ones.

          1. Did everyone really have 2 sets of new options?? Apparently Button had the same issue. Had only one set of options left, and opted to leave it till the end of the session.

    22. McLaren run at least 2 different front wings… didn’t noticed which one was Hamilton using during Q3. The latest version looks a bit more like the latest Ferrari wing.
      The question is: will it flex like Ferrari’s and Red Bull’s?

    23. Younger Hamilton
      28th August 2010, 15:31

      I’ve noticed that both McLaren drivers used the Option Tyres for the whole of Qualifying i think they’re saving the Primes for the long normal second stint and guessing they’re trying to get Both Lewis and Jenson ahead of the Two Red Bulls and hold positions for the first stint then try and plug away from the Red Bulls in the Second stint I also have a feeling Robert will get jumped by Jenson on the start as well and Hold up the Two Redbulls,thats if it all predicted above happens.But Anything is always possible

      1. I doubt there is much strategic advantage for a driver in having 3 new sets of prime tyres for the race instead of 2…

      2. There’s no advantage in saving hard tyres. They’ll have used the softs because they’re faster. Anyway, didn’t Hamilton start the session on hard tyres?

    24. Makes the Alonso / Massa thing in Germany look a bit stupid now.

      1. How so? Alonso is still Ferrari’s only hope of winning the WDC as he was before this race. And other than being caught out without a two fresh sets of soft in Q3 he’s again outpaced Massa all weekend.

        1. but didn’t outpace Massa when it mattered

        2. Not all weekend Ads as Mas was quicker in q2

    25. Apparently Rosberg is on a wet setup, a gamble decided on because of the 5 place drop (and possibly Schumacher as well then given they were so close?) http://www.gpupdate.net/en/f1-news/241331/schumacher-disappointed-and-rosberg-on-wet-race-setup/

    26. Is anyone else disappointed that the BBC have 50 minutes of build-up, some of which isn’t F1 related, then end the broadcast as soon as Qualifying is over, no drivers’ press conference etc.?

      They did this once last year as well, we had to watch Jake Humphrey trying to drive a Lotus, but no interview/press conference from any drivers’ afterwards.

      1. I don’t think they could continue it for longer even if they wanted to today since there was live rugby after. Suppose it’s just the tight schedule. But yeah it is annoying, especially when you don’t see the press conference!

    27. i couldn’t notice any “flexing” in RBR wings…anyone know if they have fixed it?
      and what’s the deal with Mclaren front wing? there isn’t too much about it anywhere!!

      1. This is what Whitmarsh has said, and his comments reflect some interesting details about how the RBR wings were working:

        “The [FIA] requirements for Monza really will end what has been a misnomer: the bodywork is intended to be attached rigidly with no degrees of freedom and when you look at bib stays that hinge, buckle, slide and have dampers, it seems a bit bizarre to me. So I think it should end that particular trend and that is the mission really. That will be good.”

        I think theories referencing the Silverstone RBR nose cone failure had some substance.

    28. If there are some incidents, the Lotuses and Virgins could be looking seriously for a point.

      1. Not sure the faster cars of Sauber & Mercedes are behind so that need luck favoring in front & back of them.

    29. I don’t get what Ferrari are doing. Massa had the highest speed trap—and +9 kph over Alonso and +5 on the next car. Maybe Alonso is gambling on a full wet set up, but that won’t explain Massa’s lack of pace. Massa did go off on his final run, so maybe there is more in the car.

      Also notice McLaren are about equal with RBR in the speed traps, but still make about .3s on them in S1 and S3. They are getting to terminal speed faster: Mercedes torque.

      Looks good for Hamilton. With .3s on Webber in sector 1, he will have a good shot at passing him up Kemmel, assuming he can keep Kubica back. Webber must know that if he lets Hamilton by that’s the match. He’ll never pass a McLaren on this track. I’m not going to bother with Button’s excuses. He is .3 to .5 back no matter what. But he must, must get by Vettel for the WCC and for Hamilton’s sake.

      It’s quite surprising that the backmarkers were not flying on the straights, as usual. If it pours tomorrow they could be surprisingly competitive.

      1. Perhaps Massa just got a good tow off someone?

    30. might be silly , but I’d like to hear some predictions for the start –

    31. Buemi and Glock given 5-places grid penalty for blocking..

    32. I noticed that only in Q3 did RBR show their expected advantage in the S2. Could it be the delayed ignition setting?

      LOL, also noticed that “Faster than you” is more than 1 second slower than the other employee.

    33. A delicious qualifying session with Webber comfortably ahead of Vettel, ice cool Kubica in the top 3 which is always nice to see, Glock and Kovy into Q2, both Williams into Q3! My predictions are pretty much out of the window but I’m not bothered as I am pleased with the results today :)

      Mind you with Button in 5th and chances of rain I bet we could see him in the top 2 again. Who’s with me?

    34. The way things started in the qualifying in Q1 after the green flag at one moment it made me felt that I am watching the race in Sunday & for some reason I missed the qualifying on Saturday.

      Good job by Red Bull who many predicted that won’t be strong this weekend the weather may have help but hey you need some luck with you.Ferrai did disappointed but Mclaren did kept their promise. Mercedes still not
      looking the sharpness weapon as far making decision making is concern as they let out both drivers in front of traffic. Alonso is the happiest guy on earth & to make matter worst Massa is P6 who also didn’t had the best lap. Kubica is the surprise hope he stays on the podium if not a win.

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