Hamilton takes Belgian Grand Prix pole and dedicates to Chadwick Boseman

Defending champion Lewis Hamilton achieved his sixth Belgian Grand Prix pole position and dedicated this qualifying result in honour of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, who passed away with cancer.

Hamilton set a new track record around Spa-Francorchamps to score pole position and he finishes ahead of his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas and rival Max Verstappen in the Red Bull.

Both Mercedes and Verstappen will start the race on the medium Pirelli compound as they were able to get through Q2 on what is a better race tyre than the red-walled softs the rest of the top ten will start on in a dry race.

Ferrari managed to avoid losing a driver in Q1, but Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel were both eliminated in the next segment, one year on from Leclerc taking pole position at Spa.

When it came to Q3, Hamilton led the way after the opening runs with a one minute, 41.451 seconds – a new track record for the time, while Bottas had time to make up after locking up and running wide on the large kerb at the exit of La Source.

But while Bottas was able to improve early on the final runs on the soft tyres in Q3, Hamilton went even faster – setting personal best times in the first and third sector, and going fastest of anyone in the middle part of the track, where Mercedes has been dominant all weekend.

The world champion’s last lap looked in control all the way around as he blasted to a one minute, 41.252 seconds to improve the best time.

Running behind, Bottas lost time all around his final lap and wound up 0.511 seconds adrift.

Verstappen was left frustrated to finish just 0.15 second behind Bottas, complaining that he ran out of battery energy at the end of his final lap.

Daniel Ricciardo will start fourth after Verstappen’s last-gasp lap pushed him down one spot, with the Renault driver abandoning his final effort.

Alex Albon is fifth ahead of Esteban Ocon, who found enough time with the session’s final flying lap to deny Carlos Sainz Jr P6 for McLaren.

Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll took eighth and ninth after only completing one run in Q3, while Lando Norris rounded out the top ten after setting a personal best on his last run but not finding enough time to move up the order.

Personal best times were not enough to save Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly from elimination in Q2, as the Racing Point drivers gained significantly from their first attempts to get through the middle segment on the medium tyres.

Stroll and Perez jumping up the order from P11 and P12 after the first runs ultimately did for the AlphaTauri’s despite their own improvements, which meant they ended up in the positions just outside the top ten.

Both Ferrari’s were ultimately knocked out in Q2 for the first time in 2020, with Leclerc heading Vettel in P13.

This was a shocking qualifying result and it underlines the poor performance in that SF1000.

George Russell again got his Williams into Q2, but abandoned his first run, with his second good enough only for P15 after the Ferrari’s found time on their second efforts.

In Q1, Vettel was under pressure to improve after he sat P19 after the first runs had been completed, but the danger of both works Ferrari’s being knocked out in the opening segment remained.

A battling warm-up lap for the drivers still needing to improve to progress left both Vettel and Leclerc having to run without a tow at the head of a pack of cars.

But they still managed to improve enough to get through to Q2, with Vettel jumping up six spots, although Leclerc had a nervous wait as he was shuffled down to P15, complaining later about the lack of a tow.

The top four drivers knocked out in Q1 all set personal bests, but Kimi Raikkonen, Romain Grosjean, Antonio Giovinazzi and Nicholas Latifi could not match the delighted and surprised Russell in splitting the Ferraris.

They will start P15-P19, with Kevin Magnussen last in the second Haas after his final run was ruined by a long trip through the Stavelot gravel trap, where he nearly ran into the wall to his left as he struggled to slow his car.

So congratulations to Lewis Hamilton with this fine pole position. Nice tribute by the six-time champion to dedicated this P1 in honour of Chadwick Boseman. Wakanda Forever!

Qualifying positions, Belgian Grand Prix:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:41.252
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:41.763
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:41.778
4 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:42.061
5 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 1:42.264
6 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:42.396
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1:42.438
8 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1:42.532
9 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1:42.603
10 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1:42.657
11 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 1:42.730
12 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1:42.745
13 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:42.996
14 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:43.261
15 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:43.468
16 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:43.743
17 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1:43.838
18 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:43.950
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1:44.138
20 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1:44.314

4 thoughts to “Hamilton takes Belgian Grand Prix pole and dedicates to Chadwick Boseman”

  1. Belgian Grand Prix qualifying review as reported by Formula1.com.

    Lewis Hamilton was quietly confident after Friday practice despite having failed to hook a up a tidy lap at Spa Francorchamps – but as he has done so often in his glittering career, the reigning world champion delivered when it mattered with an astonishing lap to take pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix.

    The Mercedes driver looked like he had the speed from the moment qualifying began, the Briton at one with his Silver Arrows, comfortably getting through Q1 and then easing through Q2 on the medium tyre to give him the favoured compound for Sunday’s race.

    Then when it came to Q3, he pulled out an epic lap on his first run, and then was even quicker, ending up 0.5s clear of team mate Valtteri Bottas, to secure his sixth pole at Spa and fifth of the season.

    Bottas slotted into second to give Mercedes their first front row lock out in Belgium since 2015, the Finn making his first appearance in the top two, but only just with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finishing just 0.015s adrift in third.

    Still, the Dutchman is in a great position for Sunday’s race, given his Red Bull’s team’s supreme race pace and the fact he will start on the more durable medium tyre like the two silver cars ahead of him.

    Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo finally managed to carry his Friday pace through to qualifying as he ended up a brilliant fourth fastest, his best-ever qualifying at Spa on what is his 10th visit, ahead of Red Bull’s Alex Albon who continued his improved form with his most accomplished qualifying performance of the year.

    Esteban Ocon made it two Renaults in the top six for the first time since Monza last year, while Carlos Sainz starts seventh – his best Spa qualifying, beating the two Racing Points, who didn’t light up the timesheets as anticipated. McLaren’s Lando Norris completed the top 10.

    Ferrari, who were so dominant at Spa last year, were nowhere to be seen in the top 10 shoot-out, the red cars lacking the pace in all three sectors, with Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel 13th and 14th respectively. That was the first time since Silverstone 2014 that a red car took no part in Q3. They have a lot of work to do if they are to salvage anything from this race.

    Q1 – Ferrari scrape through as Russell impresses

    So the big question heading into Q1 was whether the Scuderia could avoid the ignominy of seeing at least one car getting booted out in the first part of qualifying for the first time in the turbo hybrid era based on pure performance.

    It wasn’t looking great after the first run, with Vettel in the drop zone after the first runs, the Ferrari looking very uncomfortable around the sweeping turns of Spa.

    But after some jostling for position on the final out-laps, as drivers tried to avoid being the first car on track, Vettel and Leclerc saved their blushes by scraping through in P13 and P15 respectively, the latter scraping through by a tenth. What a difference a year makes, the red cars 1.048s slower than they were last year.

    Kimi Raikonnen just missed out, two places clear of Alfa Romeo team mate Antonio Giovinazzi, who remains the only driver to have been knocked out in Q1 in every qualifying session this season. In contrast, George Russell impressed once again, splitting the Ferraris as he made it into Q2 for the fifth time in seven races.

    Haas may have started in the top 10 with both cars at Spa for the last two years, but they were both kicked out in Q1 this time around, Kevin Magnussen getting it all wrong on his final lap to skate across the gravel before re-joining.

    Up front, Lewis Hamilton was quickest, ahead of Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas, with the Silver Arrows 0.959s quicker in Q1 than they were in Q3 last year.

    Knocked out: Raikkonen, Grosjean, Giovinazzi, Latifi, Magnussen

    Q2 – Albon impresses as Mercedes dominate

    Such is Mercedes’ pace advantage over the rest of the field, the Silver Arrows were able to head out on the medium tyre. Verstappen followed suit as did the two Racing Points. However, only Mercedes and Verstappen were able to make it work.

    Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll had to box and fit soft tyres, as they ended the first runs in the drop zone, but with the softer rubber fitted, they had the pace to make the top 10 shoot-out.

    Red Bull’s Albon has looked stronger in Spa and in qualifying he showed a great turn of pace as he used the soft to go third fastest, with McLaren’s Carlos Sainz also delivering a cracking lap with the fifth best time.

    Ferrari’s resurgence ended in Q2, Leclerc admitting he did the best that he could on team radio, as he ended up 13th quickest, one place ahead of Sebastian Vettel, behind the two AlphaTauris.

    Knocked out: Kvyat, Gasly, Leclerc, Vettel, Russell

    Q3 – Hamilton beats Bottas as Verstappen just misses out

    Hamilton looked effortless as he pumped in a new track record on his first run in the final segment of qualifying, while his team mate Bottas made an error in the opening seconds, running wide on the exit of the first corner.

    The Finn, who celebrated his 31st birthday on Friday, recovered to complete a more respectable lap, but he was no match for Hamilton, who went even faster on his next run, breaking the track record again.

    Verstappen came ever so close – closer than even he expected – to the front row, but slotted into third for Red Bull’s first top-four start in Spa since 2016. Elsewhere, Ricciardo was third quickest after the first runs and was strong enough in the second to ensure a top four spot on the grid.

    Though Norris was outpaced by team mate Sainz, his Q3 appearance finish means he is he only driver other than the two Mercedes racers and Verstappen to start every race this year inside the top 10.

  2. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton admitted it was hard to regain focus after Chadwick Boseman’s sudden death. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Lewis Hamilton says it was hard to regain focus before his charge to pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix after learning of the death of actor Chadwick Boseman.

    Boseman’s death at the age of 43 was announced on Saturday morning, sparking an outpouring of tributes to the star of the celebrated Black Panther film.

    Mercedes F1 driver Hamilton said on social media ahead of Saturday’s running at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps that he was “devastated” by the news of Boseman’s death, writing: “Our superhero passed away”.

    Hamilton charged to the 93rd pole position of his F1 career in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix, recording two laps good enough for pole as he finished half a second clear of the field.

    Hamilton revealed after the session that he had found it difficult to regain focus after receiving news of Boseman’s death.

    “Every lap was just getting better and better. We did a lot of great work in the background,” Hamilton said.

    “Today is a really important pole for me, because I woke up to the saddest news of Chadwick passing away. And it’s been such a heavy year, I think for all of us and that news just really, really broke me.

    “It was really not easy to get back in focus coming in today with that kind of hanging on my heart. I thought I had to go out there and drive it to perfection because what he’s done for the superhero, it shows all these young kids what is possible.

    “He was such a shining light. Wakanda forever.”

    Hamilton managed to take pole position without using a tow from team-mate Bottas, explaining after the session he had decided to go first on-track and get clear air.

    “There’s been times where we’ve had to try and get a tow,” Hamilton said.

    “We’ve got these three difficult sections where you’ve got, obviously the straight line first section here which is pretty straightforward but getting the right wing level here it’s not so easy.

    “Some, as you can see, are really quick in the first and last sector but not so good in the middle sector. We’ve not been the strongest today in the first and the last [sectors], but the middle has been very strong.

    “This weekend was my choice to go first or second with Valtteri and I chose to go first. I wanted to be out in clean air, not having to worry about people up ahead of me giving the gap in the last corner.

    “I didn’t want anything coming in my way, so it worked out.”

  3. Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen thinks running out of energy (ERS) didn’t cost him P2 on the grid. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Max Verstappen does not think that him running out of energy at the end of his final qualifying lap ultimately cost him second place on the grid for the Belgian Grand Prix.

    Shortly after completing his lap, Verstappen was told on the team radio that he had missed out on beating Valtteri Bottas by just 0.015 seconds.

    In response, Verstappen expressed his frustration and then said: “I ran out of energy a bit too early.”

    But while aware that having more energy at the end of the lap could have made a difference, the Red Bull driver thinks that the way the battery power had been used up earlier in the lap was probably still the best way.

    “Of course you try to manage the energy throughout the lap, but I think probably it was the fastest way around the lap,” said Verstappen.

    “It’s just always, when you get low out of the last corner, you feel that the engine is not as accelerating as normal because you run out of that energy.

    “But, you probably use it up somewhere else. So it’s always that feeling. Probably when I go back and look at the data, it’s still the fastest way, but it’s just a bit of an odd feeling sometimes.”

    Despite just missing out on a shot of splitting the Mercedes drivers, Verstappen said he was still hugely encouraged by how close he got to the world champion team.

    “We expected to come here and, with the long straights around here, it’s never going to be the easiest for us,” said the Dutchman. “But I think we managed to find a good balance on the car straight away when we came here from FP1, so that helps

    “It’s been a positive weekend and I didn’t really have a lot to complain. If I’m not mistaken, I think this is the closest we’ve been to Mercedes in qualifying on the track where we didn’t expect it to be like this, so yeah, very, very happy with that. I think qualifying went pretty smooth.”

    Although Red Bull has been closer to the Mercedes pace in races rather than qualifying, Verstappen is still sceptical about being able to challenge pole position man Lewis Hamilton on Sunday.

    “If you look at the lap time difference to Lewis, I don’t think we suddenly in the race can start fighting [with him],” he explained

    “But you never know. And with the weather as well I hope that will it come into play and make it a little bit more difficult for everyone. Especially around this track, if there is a bit of weather around then it makes it a lot of fun.”

  4. This was a difficult qualifying session for the Scuderia with both drivers knocked out in the second segment. Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel said this Q2 exit was ‘not a surprise’. Motorsport.com has the story.

    Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari’s double Q2 elimination in Formula 1 qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix was “not a surprise” given its ongoing struggles.

    Ferrari slumped to its worst qualifying performance of the 2020 season so far at Spa on Saturday as both Charles Leclerc and Vettel were eliminated in Q2, finishing 13th and 14th respectively.

    The team has struggled throughout the race weekend, with Leclerc scraping through Q1 by less than one tenth of a second.

    It meant Ferrari ended qualifying as the seventh-fastest team, only beating the cars from Williams, Alfa Romeo and Haas.

    “It is the true picture of what the car can do around here today,” Vettel said after the session.

    “Obviously we tried everything we can, and there was a lot of effort going in from last night to today trying to make things better.

    “I think we did a little bit. Obviously we’re not where we want to be, but that’s not the first race and the first qualifying where that’s the case.”

    Vettel added that it was “no surprise” given Ferrari’s current struggles with the SF1000 car, and felt it was doubtful the team would even reach Q2 after propping up the timesheets in final practice.

    “P13 is not as exciting as P1, but still we tried to put everything together,” Vettel said. “This morning we looked like we didn’t make it to Q2 and we did with both cars.

    “Obviously that’s not a success, but it’s everything we could do today and where we stand.”

    The result marks a significant fall for Ferrari since it locked out the front row of the grid for last year’s Belgian Grand Prix, with pole-sitter Leclerc going on to win the race.

    Leclerc said after qualifying that it was “very difficult” to give an explanation for why Ferrari had lost so much performance in the space of a year.

    “It’s a big step back from the others, so we need to try and find the main issue to try and address it,” Leclerc said.

    “It’s not a good day but it’s like this at the moment. We need to keep working hard.

    “Everybody in the team needs to keep their heads up, even though it’s very difficult on a day like this.

    “I can also understand the fans at home that are very disappointed. It’s understandable, but as drivers, we’ll try to make the best race possible tomorrow, even though we can’t expect any miracles.”

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