Sebastian Vettel, 1m 48.298s, P1
Mark Webber, 1m 49.376s, P3
Vettel said that he had been ‘uncomfortable’ early on in qualifying, but that he took a step forward in Q2 with some new racing lines that led to a big improvement. He was delighted with his ninth pole of the season. Webber, turned 35 this weekend, was happy, until he got pushed from 1st to 3rd, and suggested that he might have pushed his tyres too hard, too soon.
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 48.730s, P2
Jenson Button, 2m 05.150s, P13
Hamilton survived the drama of a collision at the end of Q2 when Maldonado drove into him, and was able to fight for pole in Q3 though his McLaren’s suspension was slightly out of line. He held it for seconds, until he was deposed by Vettel, and says he will be strong in the race. Button was unlucky to miss his final chance to improve as times tumbled at the end of Q2, after a misunderstanding between him and the team saw him cool his tyres and run out of laps in which to improve. He will start only 13th.
Felipe Massa, 1m 50.256s, P4
Fernando Alonso, 1m 51.251s, P8
Ferrari looked very strong in Q1 and Q2, with Alonso fastest in the latter. But when the time came to go to slicks in Q3, the Spaniard had trouble generating sufficient tyre temperature and also struggled with traffic. For a change, Massa got the best out of a tricky and disappointing situation to take fourth, with his team mate only eighth.
Nico Rosberg, 1m 50.552s, P5
Michael Schumacher, no time, P24
Mercedes had a bad start when the right-rear wheel fell of Schumacher’s car at Les Combes on his out lap, spinning him into a wall and leaving him in 24th place. Rosberg improved late on to fifth.
Not to Forget -
Adrian Sutil, 2m 07.777s, P15
Paul di Resta, 2m 07.758s, P18, will start P17
Force India came to Spa expecting to repeat their 2009 level of competitiveness, but for various reasons failed to deliver. Sutil had just gone fifth fastest in Q2 when he lost it at the top of Eau Rouge and trashed his VJM-04, while Di Resta spun while trying to push through to Q2, and just when he looked safe was bumped by Kovalainen. The Scot blamed the team for keeping him in the pits when conditions were at their best, then calling him in just as he could have made one last effort to improve. Starting 15th and 18th, they’ll be charging on Sunday.