Mercedes F1 dominated the qualifying session at the Belgian Grand Prix as Nico Rosberg eased into pole position despite viperous wet weather conditions.
Saturdays hour long qualifying is split into three sessions and is basically a knock out competition, 22 drivers are whittled down to 10 in the last 15 min session where pole position is decided by whomever sets the fastest time.
Formula One cars don’t like rain, even with full wet weather tyres, driving can be treacherous but this can level the playing field where the slowest cars on the grid can square of with the fastest. But that was not the case for the Mercedes F1 team. Both drivers ended up on the first row of the grid over 2 seconds quicker than the next car in third.
The weekend started so well for Lewis Hamilton but Fridays’ practice session’s are lightweight compared with the do or dare mentality needed for Qualifying. As session 3 came to its conclusion, with the minutes remaining turning into seconds, Hamilton could only manage second, as his teammate Nico Rosberg calmly crossed the finish line clinching pole position by setting a marginally and therefore faster time.
Hamilton made errors during his final qualifying run and it cost him vital fractions of seconds, he would later say that the brakes weren’t to his liking and never got settled into a driving rhythm.
Sebastian Vettel made up for a lack of running during the opening day of the race weekend by posting the third fastest time, albeit over 2 seconds slower than the Mercedes duo ahead of him.
Next up was Alonso, with Daniel Ricciardo 5th ahead of the Williams of Valtteri Bottas. Sunday’s race will present a challenge for Hamilton but more so for the the Mercedes F1 team. Rosberg is still seen as the underdog over the much favored Hamilton, but this season Rosberg has proved he has the speed and mentality to beat Hamilton, that much is known.
What will be fascinating is how Mercedes F1 handle the fierce battle that is expected for Sunday’s race, this is the only barrier separating two rivals in the same camp. In Formula One, team orders are quite often a lot more treacherous than having to deal with wet weather conditions.
Saturday’s Qualifying Times: