Nico Rosberg has put his Mercedes on pole for the Belgian Grand Prix ahead of Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.

Mercedes showed signs of weakness in qualifying on the super soft tyre, as Rosberg’s pole lap was only 0.149 seconds faster than Verstappen’s. However, Rosberg set his fastest time in Q2 on the soft compound tyre which means his will start tomorrow’s race with an advantage over Verstappen.

Sebastian Vettel lost traction out of the final corner and managed to qualify in fourth position, demoting Daniel Ricciardo to fifth in the process.

The two Force India’s of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg were next in sixth and seventh positions respectively, with just over a tenth of a second separating the pair.

Valtteri Bottas had an engine software issue which limited his flying lap and could only manage a best time of 1:47.612. which was still over half a second quicker than his team mate Felipe Massa in 10th position who experience the same issue. Jenson Button split the Williams pair in ninth.

There was alternating strategies between the top teams in Q2, as Rosberg, Ricciardo and the two Ferrari’s set their fastest time of the session on the soft compound tyre, meaning that they will start the race on the softs rather than the super softs.

Ferrari weren’t convinced their times were good enough to get them into Q3 and put both Vettel and Raikkonen on the super softs towards the end of Q2, however, neither driver needed to complete a lap as drivers in the dropout zone failed to improve into the top 10.

Romain Grosjean registered a late lap and missed out on Q3 by three-tenths of a second from Jenson Button. Also eliminated was Kevin Magnussen, Esteban Gutierrez, Jolyon Palmer, Carlos Sainz and Pascal Wehrlein.

Lewis Hamilton only completed the single flying lap during Q1 as he will be taking a 55-place grid penalty for all of the components changed to his power unit this weekend, as Fernando Alonso was also an early exit in qualifying.

The Spaniard pulled over at the top of Eau Rouge and failed to set a lap time, this comes after McLaren change his power unit ahead of this weekend, resulting in a 35-place grid penalty.

Also out in Q1 was Felipe Nasr, newcomer Esteban Ocon, Daniil Kvyat and Marcus Ericsson, who will also serve a grid penalty of 10 places due to taking a sixth turbocharger.

Wehrlein escaped the Q1 dropout zone comfortably by putting in a time good enough for ninth. The German failed to make Q3 however, and will line up 16th on the grid.

Image via XPB Images

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Josh Kruse

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