The undulating Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps produced ripples of equal magnitude in qualifying this afternoon, as constantly changing conditions saw Kimi and Romain clinch P8 / P7 respectively on tomorrow’s grid.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 2m01.012s 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 2m01.200s + 0.188s 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 2m01.325s + 0.313s 4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 2m02.251s + 1.239s 5. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 2m02.332s + 1.320s 6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 2m03.075s + 2.063s 7. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 2m03.081s + 2.069s 8. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 2m03.390s + 2.378s 9. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 2m03.482s + 2.470s 10. Felipe Massa Ferrari 2m04.059s + 3.047s Q2 cut-off time: 1m49.088s Gap ** 11. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m49.088s + 0.792s 12. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m49.103s + 0.807s 13. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m49.304s + 1.008s 14. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m52.036s + 3.740s 15. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m52.563s + 4.267s 16. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m52.762s + 4.466s Q1 cut-off time: 2m02.948s Gap * 17. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 2m03.072s + 2.882s 18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 2m03.300s + 3.110s 19. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 2m03.317s + 3.127s 20. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 2m03.432s + 3.242s 21. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 2m04.324s + 4.134s 22. Charles Pic
Kimi Raikkonen – 8th: “When it was dry in the second qualifying session we were fastest, so if it’s dry tomorrow we should be okay for the race; even though we will not start from a great position. The last qualifying session was wet and our car does not give its best in these types of conditions. Any lap which came right at the end of the session would have helped, but if it stayed dry it would have helped more. Tomorrow is another day so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”
Romain Grosjean – 7th: “It wasn’t an easy session today with the changing weather and while it’s good to be in the top ten, it wasn’t exactly what we were hoping for. It was a big challenge to know what condition the track was in, to make the right decisions at the right time and to adjust the speed according to the weather. At the end of qualifying you needed to be on the on track at the right time. I’ll work with the engineers later to assess why Kimi was a bit quicker in the dry, where we can improve in the wet, and options in terms of strategy. I’ll give my best in the race tomorrow.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “It was a frustrating session for the team. The weather conditions were difficult, but the same for everyone. We displayed great pace in the dry with Kimi fastest in Q2, but unfortunately the rain returned for the final phase. We tried to get a lap in right at the start on dry tyres, but the rain beat the start of the session so we had to change to intermediates. Seventh and eighth on the grid isn’t where we want to be, but at least we’re in the top ten.
“As we qualified on intermediate tyres we can start a dry race on either dry compound. A dry race would be better for us, but we can’t influence the weather. If it’s a wet race, there are many different permutations and conditions possible so we’ll be fighting for the very best result we can achieve.”
A productive final practice session saw Kimi and Romain finish the morning with a pair of top 10 placings as a true picture of the weekend’s grid still remains to take shape…
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m48.327s 16 2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m48.432s +0.105s 14 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m48.533s +0.206s 16 4. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m48.776s +0.449s 15 5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m48.788s +0.461s 15 6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m48.882s +0.555s 13 7. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m48.930s +0.603s 18 8. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m48.967s +0.640s 14 9. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m48.993s +0.666s 16 10. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m49.008s +0.681s 17 11. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m49.035s +0.708s 15 12. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m49.046s +0.719s 17 13. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m49.122s +0.795s 15 14. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m49.177s +0.850s 15 15. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m49.226s +0.899s 14 16. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m49.471s +1.144s 14 17. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m49.478s +1.151s 19 18. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m50.418s +2.091s 14 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m51.416s +3.089s 15 20. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m51.800s +3.473s 18 21. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m52.221s +3.894s 17 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m53.507s +5.180s 18