Belgian Grand Prix: Qualifying Report

Following a difficult week for Formula One, fans will be hoping that the Belgian Grand Prix will once again deliver a thrilling race tomorrow. The F1 circus returns to the new improved Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps for the first time since 2005. Since then the circuit has seen a number of changes, there is a longer run down to La Source and the metal drainage grids on the exit, which caught David Coulthard out in the rain in 1998, have been removed. The other most notable change, aside from the new pit complex and a revised pit entry to accommodate a third revision of the Bus Stop chicane in recent history. Thankfully, the famous Eau Rouge corner remains as raw and sensational as ever before.

Q1

Drivers knocked out:

17. S. Vettel
18. R. Barrichello
19. T. Sato
20. A. Sutil
21. A. Davidson
22. S. Yamamoto

Q2

Renault s Fisichella was one of the first drivers out, along with Toyota s Jarno Trulli. Raikkonen set the early pace, overhauling Kovalainen on a 1:45.070. Hamilton set a time of 1:45.173 to go second, with Massa and Alonso filling third and fourth spot. Toward the end of the session twelve cars took to the circuit, with only the Ferrari and McLaren teams opting to not run again. Kubica is defending his fifth position, but needs to take a ten place penalty due to an engine change yesterday. Mark Webber was unable to start another fastest lap before the chequered flag fell, but stayed eighth. Kovalainen runs wide at the revised Bus Stop and abandons his lap, he scraped through in tenth.

Drivers knocked out:

11. G. Fisichella
12. R. Schumacher
13. D. Coulthard
14. J. Button
15. V. Liuzzi
16. A. Wurz

Q3

Massa passes Hamilton up the back straight toward Les Combes. The Brit then ran offline with surprise. All drivers are using the softer option compound for the final run. Hamilton set the early pace on a 1:47.556 through the fuel burn phase. Massa loses a tenth of a second through the first sector of his first run with a lock-up through La Source, and then a further lock up through the Bus Stop. Massa sets a time of 1:47.038 only for Raikkonen to set a 1:46.533, with Hamilton on a 1:47.1. Alonso meanwhile spins in-front of Jarno Trulli at Rivage. Ferrari mechanics check something on the back of Raikkonen s car before he starts his final run. With two minutes to go Alonso leaves the pit, in tenth position. Kubica is light on fuel, to try and set a quick time before taking his tenth place penalty. Massa sets a 1:46.011 to go fastest, but Kimi looks faster. Hamilton goes second and then Raikkonen sets a 1:45.994 to snatch pole position. Alonso goes third on a 1:46.091, with Kubica fifth (before penalty), Rosberg sixth and Heidfeld seventh.

1. K. Raikkonen
2. F. Massa
3. F. Alonso
4. L. Hamilton
5. R. Kubica
6. N. Rosberg
7. N. Heidfeld
8. M. Webber
9. J. Trulli
10. H. Kovalainen

Raikkonen will be looking to replicate his win of 2005, from the first all Ferrari front row of 2007.