Rosberg beats Verstappen to Spa pole

By on Saturday, August 27, 2016


Nico Rosberg held on in the face of an unexpected challenge from Red Bull's Max Verstappen to claim a crucial pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa.

Rosberg notched a 1:46.744 on his first run in Q3, but Verstappen was only a tenth adrift with a mightily-impressive lap, and although the Dutchman couldn't improve with his final attempt, he will become the youngest-ever driver to start on the front-row, delighting his adoring fans.

Kimi Raikkonen out-qualified team-mate Sebastian Vettel to take third on the grid, while Daniel Ricciardo struggled in the final part of qualifying and was therefore pushed down to fifth by the two Ferraris.

Sergio Perez (MEX)/Sahara Force India F1

Sergio Perez (MEX)/Sahara Force India F1

Force India delivered on their practice potential as Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg took sixth and seventh respectively, edging the Williams of Valtteri Bottas.

Jenson Button will start from ninth after hauling his McLaren into the top-ten shoot-out with a fantastic late lap in Q2, while a scruffy lap for Felipe Massa consigned the Brazilian to tenth on the grid.

Romain Grosjean will have free tyre choice from 11th on the grid, while Renault enjoyed a better afternoon as Kevin Magnussen took 12th and Jolyon Palmer claimed a season-best P14, with Esteban Gutierrez sandwiched between them.

Carlos Sainz could only manage 15th as Toro Rosso's struggles continued, and Pascal Wehrlein had to settle for 16th after a superb performance in Q1 to make it into the second segment of qualifying.

Felipe Nasr just missed out on a place in Q2 in 17th and Manor debutant Esteban Ocon was a solid 18th, though he failed to match his more experienced team-mate.

There was more disappointment for the under-pressure Daniil Kvyat as he crashed out at the first hurdle, while the penalised Marcus Ericsson wound up 20th, ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who opted to put in a single time within the 107% rule to ensure he could start the race, and Fernando Alonso, who ground to a halt at the summit of Eau Rouge.

Hamilton will start last with a combined 55-place grid penalty, with Alonso joining him on the back row.


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