Renault report from Belgian GP qualifying

Sebastian Vettel was best of the Renault brigade

Sebastian Vettel was best of the Renault brigade

Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel will start tomorrow’s Belgian Grand Prix from the second row following a rain-lashed, thrilling qualifying session. The quadruple champion and two-time Spa winner overcame a lack of track time yesterday to put his RB10 into third behind the two Mercedes.

Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo lines up fifth. Both Scuderia Toro Rossos had the pace for the top ten but were eliminated in the dying seconds of the tricky Q2. Kvyat will start 11th with Vergne 12th. Romain Grosjean will start 13th and Pastor Maldonado 17th for Lotus F1 Team while Andre Lotterer completed his first qualifying session for Caterham F1 Team in 21st with Marcus Ericsson 22nd.

Q1: A heavy downpour an hour before qualifying had soaked the 7km Spa circuit, but the sun just peeped out to dry the track enough for the intermediate tyre. Lewis Hamilton set the early benchmark for the session and continued to lower the time as the track dried. The Briton looked set to finish on top until Nico Rosberg snatched it at the death. Behind him, the two Williams and Jean-Eric Vergne completed the top five. Pastor Maldonado was the first to be eliminated ; the Venezuelan had spun on his potentially fastest lap, leaving just one flying lap to make the grade. He just pushed through only to be knocked down again by Adrian Sutil. Joining him in the drop zone were Hulkenberg, Chilton, Gutierrez – who had pulled up with a mechanical problem with seven minutes to go – Lotterer and Ericsson.

Q2: Rain at the end of Q1 dampened the track, leading all cars bar Jean-Eric Vergne to make an early excursion from the pitlane. With the track slippery many drivers ran wide or spun, but as the track dried and grip improved the times tumbled. The two Mercedes were again on top, with the two Ferraris, Williams, McLarens and Red Bulls also making the grade for Q3. Both Toro Rosso cars were eliminated despite heroic efforts – Kvyat was looking set to make the grade until he was pushed out by Button. Team-mate Vergne will start just behind him. Also out were Perez, Sutil, Grosjean and Bianchi.

Q3: The rain stayed away for Q3, allowing the track to dry further. Nico Rosberg was on top as the flag dropped, outqualifying team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Sebastian Vettel, a two-time winner at Spa, will start third. Daniel Ricciardo had held fourth until a last gasp lap by Alonso knocked him down to fifth. Completing the top ten were Bottas, Magnussen, Raikkonen, Massa and Button.

via .