Michael Schumacher is not yet enjoying his landmark 300th grand prix.
The great German arrived at his favourite circuit Spa-Francorchamps to mark the special occasion with a brand new platinum helmet. But he got in trouble in Friday’s rain, incurring a EUR 2500 fine for an illegal run into the pitlane.
Schumacher then qualified an unlucky 13th, although it was at least better than Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg’s dire run to 18th, which becomes even worse due to a grid penalty for a gearbox change.
Also moving fives places back is Mark Webber, the highest-ranked points runner behind championship leader Fernando Alonso.
In the sister Red Bull, Sebastian Vettel failed even to make it out of Q2, while Australian Webber’s seventh place becomes 12th due to a gearbox change.
“I’d have like to have been further up to take the sting out of the penalty, but we weren’t fast enough,” said the Australian.
More than fast enough, meanwhile, was McLaren’s Jenson Button, whose Belgian pole was his first qualifying triumph in 50 attempts with the British team. Teammate Lewis Hamilton, eighth, was unhappy.
“Jenson has the new rear wing on, I have the old,” he Tweeted. “I lose 4 tenths just on the straight.”