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2018 F1

Hamilton seals a record fifth pole for Belgian GP

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Lewis Hamilton beats dramatic wet condition and Ferrari duo to take pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix. The Q3 session was hits by rain at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, the Mercedes driver took advantage of the complicated conditions to finish comfortably clear of his title rival Sebastian Vettel, who will start second for Ferrari. Hamilton’s time was 1min 58.179sec, with Vettel on 1:58.905.

Force India ace, Esteban Ocon will line up in third place in Sunday’s race ahead of his team-mate Sergio Pérez. Haas F1 driver Romain Grosjean was fifth ahead of Kimi Raikkonen who consistently made fastest lap in Q1 and Q2. Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo took seventh and eighth.

“It was one of the toughest qualifying sessions I can remember,” said Hamilton, who won from pole in Belgium last season and is 24 points clear of fellow-four times champion Vettel with nine races remaining.

“We were very close, I was hopeful, Ferrari were very quick on the straights, then the rain came and I can’t stress how difficult it was.

“Definitely not,” says Hamilton when asked if he is “invincible” in the rain.

“I love driving in the wet. I didn’t want it to rain, I was looking forward to it being close in the dry. Ferrari had the upper hand but I thought maybe I had enough to get ahead of them, which is an exciting prospect.”

Sebastian Vettel is noticeably downbeat in the post-qualifying press conference.

“It’s not rain, it’s not dry, it’s something in between,” he says. “I knew all of the laps don’t matter apart from the last one.

“It was a bit chaotic and not great from a management point of view. I don’t feel we put everything together in the last lap, we ran out of battery.

“It wasn’t a nice ending to a great qualifying up to that point. It’s great fun but obviously not very rewarding when you know you could have done a bit better.”

“It was just not as calm as I think it could have been,” he adds. “It didn’t feel as if I got everything out for various reasons, therefore it was a bit of a scrappy session.

“But it can be a lot worse.”

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