BELGIUM GP – QUALIFYING RESULTS

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Report – At 2pm tomorrow, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen will start the Belgian Grand Prix from the second and fourth rows, after the Spaniard was fourth fastest in qualifying, 69 thousandths off third placed Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull,) with the Finn in eighth spot on the grid.

Rain affected qualifying, having fallen before the start and then intermittently during the session. Neither Ferrari man had any trouble in Q1, getting through with Kimi sixth and Alonso ninth. Q2 also went smoothly, with Fernando making the cut to Q3 in third place, with Kimi fifth. In the top-ten shoot-out, the sun reappeared and the track gradually dried out.

Final Times:

Pos Driver                Team                  Time       Gap   
 1. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              2m05.591s            
 2. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes              2m05.819s  +0.228s   
 3. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      2m07.717s  +2.126s   
 4. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               2m07.786s  +2.195s   
 5. Daniel Ricciardo      Red Bull-Renault      2m07.911s  +2.320s   
 6. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Mercedes     2m08.049s  +2.458s   
 7. Kevin Magnussen       McLaren-Mercedes      2m08.679s  +3.088s   
 8. Kimi Raikkonen        Ferrari               2m08.780s  +3.189s   
 9. Felipe Massa          Williams-Mercedes     2m09.178s  +3.587s   
10. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      2m09.776s  +4.185s   
Q2 cut-off time: 2m09.272s                                 Gap **
11. Daniil Kvyat          Toro Rosso-Renault    2m09.377s  +2.768s
12. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Renault    2m09.805s  +3.196s
13. Sergio Perez          Force India-Mercedes  2m10.084s  +3.475s
14. Adrian Sutil          Sauber-Ferrari        2m10.238s  +3.629s
15. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         2m11.087s  +4.478s
16. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Ferrari      2m12.470s  +5.861s
Q1 cut-off time: 2m11.081s                                 Gap *
17. Pastor Maldonado      Lotus-Renault         2m11.261s  +4.131s
18. Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes  2m11.267s  +4.137s
19. Max Chilton           Marussia-Ferrari      2m12.566s  +5.436s
20. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari        2m13.414s  +6.284s
21. Andre Lotterer        Caterham-Renault      2m13.469s  +6.339s
22. Marcus Ericsson       Caterham-Renault      2m14.438s  +7.308s

QUOTES

Kimi admits mistakes made difference: “They were quite difficult conditions and I made quite a few mistakes on the last lap. I was held up on the out-lap by a few cars, which affected the way I wanted to start the whole lap and get the tyres ready, but I just made some mistakes and didn’t get a good lap on that last run. In the wet conditions, it’s a bit more tricky to say. They were difficult conditions and I was sliding a lot, so it was quite tricky. In the dry yesterday, I had so many problems that we couldn’t really do much. This morning, [in FP3], it didn’t feel too bad – the lap probably wasn’t anything good, but the car felt quite good, so everything seems to be okay. Obviously, the wet is always wet and bit tricky, but it was not a disaster. Running [on Friday] was a bit limited by the issues on my side and, this morning, there were just two or three laps [in the dry], so not many, but I think we should be okay knowing what we should do. The weather can change a lot here – and quickly, as we have seen – so we’ll try to make the right decisions at the right time and hopefully get a good result. Obviously, the weather will be the same for everyone, and sometimes it works for you and sometimes not. Hopefully, whatever the conditions are, we’ll make the right call and get a good race. It’ll be a long race and different conditions from start to finish, so let’s see how it is.”

Kimi thinks race could be different story: “You would think here and in Monza that the Mercedes [power unit] should have more advantage, like in the beginning of the year in Bahrain. But obviously we improve things all the time and small things here and there, so it’s getting better, but the race will tell the true story. You can get a good lap time but in the race, it’s very difficult to fight when the others are faster in a straight line – even if your actual lap time can be exactly the same as them. We’ll see how it goes, but it’s been surprisingly nice not to see a massive difference. In the wet Mercedes has the best grip, but in the dry it’s been okay.”

Kimi Raikkonen: “After lots of unforeseen incidents on Friday, this morning I was reasonably happy with the handling of my car. In the afternoon, the arrival of the rain made everything more unpredictable, the car was sliding all over the place and putting together a good lap wasn’t easy. On my last run in Q3, I tried my best, but some mistakes cost me a few places. Even if I’m a bit disappointed, now I want to just think about tomorrow’s race, which will be a long one, with the chance of very variable weather. I will try and make up as many places as possible and in order to do that, it will be very important to make the right decisions at the right time.”

Pat Fry: “We are reasonably pleased with the outcome, even if we cannot ignore Mercedes’ performance, given that we want to get back to being in the top positions. Fernando only just missed out on third place, having produced a fantastic lap. I hope he can have a good race from fourth on the grid. Kimi lost out a bit in all three sectors, but I believe he drove as hard as he could, even though he wound up eighth. Certainly, we can’t forget all the difficulties he experienced yesterday, because I’m sure that with a bit more track time, he could have been a bit higher up the order. Tomorrow’s race will be long and difficult: the forecast is for less chance of rain than today, but here at Spa, it’s impossible to be sure. The important thing is to be ready to adapt our strategy to whatever conditions we encounter.”

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