Rosberg beats Hamilton to pole in Belgium

Sat Aug 23, 2014 9:50am EDT
 
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By Alan Baldwin

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS Belgium (Reuters) - Formula One leader Nico Rosberg swept to pole position at the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday with Mercedes team mate and title rival Lewis Hamilton alongside on the front row after a wet qualifying session.

Red Bull's four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel, last year's winner at the circuit in the Ardennes forests, qualified in third place and was joined on the second row by Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

Rosberg leads 2008 world champion Hamilton by 11 points after 11 of 19 races.

The pole was Rosberg's seventh of the season, with dominant Mercedes taking 11 of the 12 so far, fourth in a row and 11th of his Formula One career.

It was also his first at Spa in typically tricky conditions and reinforced his team's pace, with Rosberg's pole time of two minutes 05.591 seconds comparing to Vettel's best lap of 2:07.717 - a hefty margin.

"It's awesome. This is one of the most special tracks of the year so to be in front here is great," said the German. "It's always difficult on this track in the wet.

"We have a great car here. We are leading the way. We definitely have really good chances for tomorrow."

Hamilton, a winner in Belgium in 2010, had been quickest in the second phase of qualifying and the front row start, while not pole, at least ended a long run of qualifying setbacks.   Continued...

 
Mercedes Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Germany adjusts his cap during a practice session at the Belgian F1 Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps August 23, 2014. REUTERS/Yves Herman