• Belgian GP - Qualifying

Rosberg beats Hamilton to pole at wet Spa

Laurence Edmondson at Spa-Francorchamps
August 23, 2014
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Nico Rosberg took pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix by over 0.3s from Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton at a wet Spa-Francorchamps.

Hamilton's fast lap was riddled with minor errors, starting at La Source with a fistful of oversteer before a mistake in the first part of Stavelot put Rosberg's time beyond his reach. After the session he explained that a brake issue was causing the car to pull to one side on the entry of corners, which helps to explain the gap to the lead Mercedes. Rosberg, meanwhile, kept his head in tricky conditions to take his seventh pole position of the season and his fourth in a row at recent races.

Sebastian Vettel clinched third on the grid, and despite being over two seconds off Rosberg, he was a crucial 0.069s quicker than Fernando Alonso's Ferrari in fourth. Daniel Ricciardo was fifth fastest despite running well wide at Blanchimont on his final attempt, while Williams' Valtteri Bottas failed to live up to his own expectations of a top-five grid spot. Kevin Magnussen will start seventh on the grid ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in eighth, Felipe Massa in ninth and Jenson Button in tenth.

Daniil Kvyat just missed out on a space in Q3 but still managed to beat his Toro Rosso team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne to 11th by over 0.4s. Sergio Perez will be the highest-placed Force India on the grid in 13th - a disappointment given the team's Mercedes power and good track record at Spa. Adrian Sutil took 14th for Sauber ahead of Romain Grosjean and another impressive performance from Jules Bianchi, who managed to haul his Marussia out of Q1 and up to 16th on the grid.

Pastor Maldonado failed to make Q2 after a scrappy session in which he spun at the final chicane on one attempt and fell short of the cut at his next. Nico Hulkenberg was the surprise casualty in Q1 after struggling for brake temperature on his final run, which forced him wide at the last chicane. Max Chilton qualified 19th ahead of Esteban Gutierrez, who pulled to the side of the track with a technical issue midway through the session. The Caterhams will occupy the final row of the grid with debutant Andre Lotterer out-qualifying team-mate Marcus Ericsson by just under a second.

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