Rosberg edges Hamilton for Belgian GP pole

08/23/2014 10:05 AM

08/23/2014 10:27 AM

Spa, Belgium ( - Formula One championship leader Nico Rosberg claimed his fourth successive and seventh overall pole position this season by topping his Mercedes teammate, Lewis Hamilton, in Saturday's qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix.

Heavy rain fell on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit prior to the start of qualifying, but track conditions improved significantly for the third and final round of this session.

In Q3, Rosberg made a lap around this 4.352-mile (7.004-kilometer), 19-turn circuit in 2 minutes, 5.591 seconds. It's the first time he's won the pole for the Belgian GP.

"It's always difficult on this track in the wet, so I'm really happy," Rosberg said. "The car was handling well. Together with my engineers we fined tuned it perfectly for qualifying and got there in the end. I was feeling comfortable and able to push. It's fantastic, but it's only qualifying. Still a long race [on Sunday]."

Hamilton's lap was 0.228 seconds behind Rosberg. It's the first time he will start on the front row for a grand prix since June 8 in Canada. Hamilton had started 20th in Germany and then 22nd in Hungary due to mishaps in both of those qualifying sessions last month.

"I had a glazed front-left brake, so the car was pulling to the left or to the right, and there was nothing I could do on the out laps to try to get rid of that," Hamilton said. "I was struggling with the braking, and I had to bring the braking point a little further back. I was losing massive amounts, particularly out of turn 1."

Rosberg currently holds an 11-point lead over Hamilton in the F1 world championship standings.

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, the four-time world champion and defending winner of the Belgian GP, qualified third, but Vettel's lap was more than two seconds behind Rosberg.

"I think it would have been nice to be further up, but the gap was quite big," Vettel said. "It was the best that we could do today. It was a tricky qualifying, especially in Q2."

Fernando Alonso from Ferrari took the fourth spot, while Vettel's teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, was fifth. Ricciardo won the most recent grand prix in Hungary.

Williams' Valtteri Bottas qualified sixth, followed by Kevin Magnussen from McLaren and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

Felipe Massa from Williams and McLaren's Jenson Button completed the top-10.

Andre Lotterer will start 21st in his F1 debut. Lotterer is taking the place of Kamui Kobayashi for Caterham in this race.

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