Belgian Grand Prix: Qualifying Recap

Event:  Qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix (Round 12 of 20)

Date:  Saturday, Aug. 26

Location:  Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps

Layout:  7.004-kilometer (4.352-mile), 19-turn circuit

Weather:  Sunny

Air Temps:  23.6-24.9 degrees Celsius (74.5-76.8 degrees Fahrenheit)

Track Temps:  33.2-37.1 degrees Celsius (91.8-98.8 degrees Fahrenheit)

Pole Winner:  Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes (1:42.553 – new track record)

Result:  Romain Grosjean qualified 12th / Kevin Magnussen qualified 13th

●  Lasts 18 minutes, with all 20 drivers participating

●  Fastest 15 drivers advance to Q2

Magnussen:  12th quick (1:45.535), advanced to Q2

Grosjean:  15th quick (1:45.728), advanced to Q2

Fastest Driver:  Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes (1:44.184)

Cutoff:  15th-quick Romain Grosjean of Haas F1 Team (1:45.728)

●  Lasts 15 minutes, featuring the 15 fastest drivers from Q1

●  Fastest 10 drivers advance to Q3

Grosjean:  12th quick (1:45.133)

Magnussen:  13th quick (1:45.400)

Fastest Driver:  Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes (1:42.927)

Cutoff:  10th-quick Esteban Ocon of Force India (1:45.006)

●  Lasts 12 minutes, featuring the 10 fastest drivers from Q2, all battling for the pole

Pole Winner:  Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes (1:42.553)

Second:  Sebastian Vettel of Scuderia Ferrari (1:42.795)

Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen qualified 12th and 13th, respectively, for the Belgian Grand Prix Sunday at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. It was the fourth time this season both drivers advanced to the second round of knockout qualifying.

Magnussen set the 12th-fastest time in Q1 with a lap of 1:45.535 around the 7.004-kilometer (4.352-mile), 19-turn track. Grosjean was 15th quickest with a lap of 1:45.728. Only the top-15 drivers move on to Q2. 

In Q2, Grosjean earned the 12th-fastest time with a lap of 1:45.133 and Magnussen was .267 of a second behind him in 13th with a lap of 1:45.400. Grosjean lopped .595 of a second off his Q1 time and Magnussen knocked .135 of second off his Q1 time. Just the top-10 drivers advance from Q2 to Q3.

Both Grosjean and Magnussen ran exclusively on the Pirelli P Zero Purple ultrasoft tire throughout qualifying.

Taking the pole for the Belgian Grand Prix was Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton. His fast lap of 1:42.553 set an all-time track record at Spa, one-upping the hours-old mark of 1:43.916 set by Scuderia Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen in final practice (FP3). Räikkönen broke the all-time fastest lap at Spa by .587 of a second. The previous mark of 1:44.503 was set by Jarno Trulli in his Toyota during the second round of qualifying for the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix. Hamilton’s pole-winning time crushed the eight-year-old record by 1.95 seconds.

With one record broken, Hamilton’s speed tied him for another. The pole was the 68th of Hamilton’s career, tying him with Michael Schumacher for the most poles in Formula One history. It was also Hamilton’s seventh pole this season and his fourth at Spa, earned by .242 of a second over runner-up Sebastian Vettel and his Ferrari. Hamilton will make his 200th grand prix start Sunday in the Belgian Grand Prix.

Before qualifying, Grosjean, Magnussen and the rest of their Formula One counterparts had one final practice to dial-in their racecars for a quick lap around the track.

Magnussen and Grosjean ran the same program in FP3, beginning with a reconnaissance lap on Pirelli Cinturato Green intermediate tires followed by a stint on Yellow softs and a final stint on Red supersofts.

Grosjean set the 13th-fastest time with a 1:46.196 on the 10th of his 14 laps. Magnussen tallied 13 laps and also earned his best time on his 10th lap – a 1:46.690 that put him 17th overall. Both drivers earned their quick times utilizing the Red supersofts.

Räikkönen’s quick FP3 time of 1:43.916 was .197 of a second better than his nearest pursuer, Vettel.

“Yesterday we tried a few downforce levels and, clearly, we had one that was far too light and it made the car tricky to drive. Today I’m very happy with myself and the team. It was a hell of a lap in qualifying. I could’ve done better with the tow, but I wasn’t quite close enough to the car in front of me to get the advantage on the straight line. The rest of the lap was pretty amazing. It’s the best we could do, to be fair. The car felt OK setup-wise. I pushed really hard, but on the low-drag circuits we’ve been struggling a little bit. It’s going to be a long race tomorrow with a lot happening. Nobody has real information about tire degradation and from the few laps I did yesterday on high fuel, the car felt OK. I’m looking forward to it.” 

“Qualifying was OK. The last run I didn’t put the lap together, which was a bit of a shame. I don’t think it would’ve changed so much anyway, but it’s never so good when you don’t get your lap together. In the end, I think the gap was too big to do anything. Only Romain was within reach, really. It’s not a bad position for tomorrow’s race to try and fight for points. Not a lot has to happen at the front to get us into the points. We don’t really know how the car is in race trim, but we’ll see tomorrow. I don’t expect it to be too different from today. We should be able to fight for points.”

“Yesterday we would’ve taken this result, but you always want more. This morning it looked good, and from yesterday we turned it around. Everybody did a great job. We ended up 12th and 13th and we were very close to 11th. Tomorrow, from these positions, we have free tire choice, so we’ll see what we can do.”

(Note: Those advancing to Q3 must start the race with the tires they used to qualify. Those outside the top-10 in qualifying can start the race with new tires on a compound of their choosing.)