Free Practice 3
Despite Saturday morning starting out dry, there was not much running early in the session as the long Spa-Francorchamps circuit held onto occasion damp spots. Mark Webber used the shortened time to his advantage to secure the top time of third practice ahead of Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button.Hamilton returned to the old Silverstone-spec front wing package, while team mate Button kept the Hungaroring version. Vettel had a more turbulent session – the young German lost engine power during his final run as he suffered from problems with his air box; surprisingly, Vettel making use of an old engine this weekend.
Sauber already have Pedro de la Rosa on his 8th engine of the year as the Spaniard hits his maximum limit of power units, setting the 11th best time in the process. Vitantonio Liuzzi spent much of the session in the garage – the F-duct was removed from his Force India, leaving the Italian to set the 18th best time.
With 15 minutes left, the skies opened halting any fast runs.
It didn’t look like he would do it, but Mark Webber secured his fifth pole position of the 2010 Championship. All weekend the Red Bull driver looked like he might be pipped by his team mate, the McLaren’s and even the Ferrari’s, but Championship leader pulled a special lap out of the bag when it mattered.
He will be wary on the opening lap tomorrow though. The powerful Lewis Hamilton flanks the Australian on the front row, as he beat Robert Kubica to 2nd spot at the last moment. The Pole still beat the other Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel to lead the second row of the grid – they will also be very aware of the Mercedes powered Jenson Button in 5th spot as they head out on the opening lap.
Felipe Massa (6th) led the Ferrari’s in a poor session for Fernando Alonso (10th) – the Spaniard stayed out too long on his soft tyres during the session, negating any chance of an improved position. Rubens Barrichello led the Williams charge in 7th, with younger team mate Nico Hulkenberg in 9th; both the Cosworth powered cars sandwiched the Force India of Adrian Sutil who 8th quickest.
Rain returned in the final moments of qualifying, but it was not enough to slow the field.
A disappointing session for the Mercedes pair saw both drop out of qualifying after Q2, with Michael Schumacher leading the two. It’ll be a tough race for the German squad as both will also pick up penalties – Schumacher a ten-place drop for his antics at Hungary and Nico Rosberg a five-place drop for a gearbox change.
The two Toro Rosso’s also fell by the wayside, with Jaime Alguersuari heading Sebastien Buemi (13th & 15th respectively); however Buemi will also serve a penalty for impeding Rosberg. Vitantonio Liuzzi split the Italian cars with the 14th best time; not aided by a mid-run spin.
Both Heikki Kovalainen and Timo Glock made it through to Q2 following a crazy first session, but in the dry condition, the pair rounded up Q2 in 16th and 17th. Glock would also take a penalty for impeding Sakon Yamamoto in the opening 20-minute run.
In a manic opening session that was halted by a red flag, there were a number of minor shocks. Indeed while Kubica surged forward, his Renault team mate, Vitaly Petrov, dropped a tyre onto a wet kerb and was flung across the circuit and into the arms of the Armco barrier. It left the Russian in a dangerous position and the reds came out as the marshal’s cleared the stricken machine.
Both Sauber’s had offs that finished their sessions early. With little to lose, Pedro de la Rosa decide to go for an engine that resulted in a grid penalty for the Spaniard.
Rain fell during the twenty minute run resulting in a few spins, including a faint accident between Lucas di Grassi and Jarno Trulli. The Virgin wobbled midway around the circuit and was connected by Trulli; both spun around, but recovered with the Lotus rejoining by driving the wrong way down the gravel trap – stewards took no action.
Both Trulli and di Grassi would drop out of Q1 though, as too did the Hispania pair – for a time they looked like they just might make it to Q2, but were knocked out as the track dried.
Belgium, Qualifying (August 28th)
1 WEBBER Red Bull 1m45.778s
2 HAMILTON McLaren 1m45.863s
3 KUBICA Renault 1m46.100s
4 VETTEL Red Bull 1m46.127s
5 BUTTON McLaren 1m46.206s
6 MASSA Ferrari 1m46.314s
7 BARRICHELLO Williams 1m46.602s
8 SUTIL Force India 1m46.659s
9 HULKENBERG Williams 1m47.053s
10 ALONSO Ferrari 1m47.441s
11 ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso 1m48.267s
12 LIUZZI Force India 1m48.680s
13 KOVALAINEN Lotus 1m50.980s
14 ROSBERG Mercedes 1m47.885s (*)
15 TRULLI Lotus 2m01.491s
16 BUEMI Toro Rosso 1m49.209s (**)
17 KOBAYASHI Sauber 2m02.284s
18 SENNA HRT 2m03.612s
19 YAMAMOTO HRT 2m03.941s
20 GLOCK Virgin 1m52.049s (***)
21 SCHUMACHER Mercedes 1m47.874s (****)
22 DI GRASSI Virgin 2m18.754s
23 PETROV Renault no time
24 DE LA ROSA Sauber 2m05.294s (*****)
* penalised 5 places for gearbox change
** penalised 3 places for impeding Rosberg
*** penalised 5 places for impeding Yamamoto
**** penalised 10 places after Hungarian GP
***** penalised 10 places for using 9th engine
Belgium, 3rd Free Practice (August 28th)
1 WEBBER Red Bull 1m46.106s
2 HAMILTON McLaren 1m46.223s
3 VETTEL Red Bull 1m46.396s
4 BUTTON McLaren 1m46.397s
5 KUBICA Renault 1m46.492s
6 ALONSO Ferrari 1m46.627s
7 MASSA Ferrari 1m46.962s
8 SUTIL Force India 1m47.064s
9 HULKENBERG Williams 1m47.170s
10 KOBAYASHI Sauber 1m47.296s
11 DE LA ROSA Sauber 1m47.388s
12 PETROV Renault 1m47.406s
13 BARRICHELLO Williams 1m47.512s
14 SCHUMACHER Mercedes 1m47.695s
15 ROSBERG Mercedes 1m47.837s
16 BUEMI Toro Rosso 1m47.905s
17 ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso 1m47.981s
18 LIUZZI Force India 1m48.692s
19 TRULLI Lotus 1m50.600s
20 SENNA HRT 1m51.133s
21 KOVALAINEN Lotus 1m51.384s
22 DI GRASSI Virgin 1m51.517s
23 GLOCK Virgin 1m51.669s
24 YAMAMOTO HRT 1m52.001s