Belgian Grand Prix: Lewis takes historic pole position ahead on Sebastian Vettel
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News August 26, 2017 Updated: 8:11 PM
SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium -- Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton made a historical milestone in his career as he equaled the great Michael Schumacher's all-time pole position record by taking his 68th at Spa-Francorchamps circuit ahead of Sunday's race. A humbled and focused Hamilton shared a moment to best express drawing level with the legend Michael Schumacher.
“I think it’s amazing, it’s a real privilege for all of us to be up here, knowing that even currently that there are kids, even adults that are looking up to us for inspiration in their daily lives but also setting goals. For me, I always try to put out positive energy. I think success comes a lot with a real positive frame of mind. It’s very easy for all of us to be negative on occasions – but the most important thing is to wake-up in the morning and try to find that positive energy, wherever you get it from, and apply that to whatever it is that you’re trying to work or achieve. I think we’re all born as stars with the opportunity to do something special. It’s all about finding and using that positive energy,” said Hamilton.
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel finished second and was 0.242s behind Hamilton at the end of the session. During the press conference, Vettel congratulated Hamilton on his achievement but still kept his eye on the prize for Sunday.
“The car, on one lap, I thought all weekend it was a bit trickier to get it together. Consecutive laps with high fuel I felt really good, so let’s see what we can do with the strategy tomorrow as well, but for sure Mercedes will be quick. But, we don’t have to hide. We are on the front row for a reason,” said Vettel.
Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas took third in what was beginning to look like a Mercedes one-two. However, Bottas lost a chunk of time in the middle sector allowing Vettel to split the silver arrows on the grid.
“This whole weekend for some reason I’ve been not really close enough to be able to challenge for that pole. For sure Lewis has been really on it but I’m slightly confused why I’ve not been able to get quite close enough. Still need to find some answers for me. The balance of the car has been feeling really good,” said Bottas.
Vettel's teammate Kimi Raikkonen took fourth after losing time in the middle sector. Raikkonen then switched to support mode assisting Vettel by giving him a tow during his lap. Later, Raikkonen took another attempt to improve his time but wasn't able to. Raikkonen's tow played a crucial part in Vettel's lap as it gave him an extra push to close in on Hamilton's time and finish ahead of Bottas .
Red Bull's Max Verstappen finished fifth and is hoping to put on a good show for the thousands of Dutch fans who plan to be in attendance this weekend. Teammate Daniel Ricciardo finished 0.483s behind Verstappen in sixth.
Renault's Nico Hulkenberg took seventh ahead of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon in eighth and ninth. Teammate Jolyon Palmer qualified tenth but ran into a gearbox issue in Q3.
As with Vettel and Raikkonen, Stoffel Vandoorne gave Fernando Alonso a tow to help him maximise straightline speed and attempt to get him into the top ten. Ultimately, Alonso would have to settle for 11th due to his car losing power and forcing him to abandon his lap.
America's team Haas F1 saw Romain Grosjean qualify in 12th ahead of his teammate Kevin Magnussen in 13th. Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz took 14th. After assisting his teammate, Stoffel Vandoorne qualified 15th but will start Sunday's race last once his multiple grid penalties are applied.
Williams driver Felipe Massa took 16th after missing valuable running time due to his car suffering damage in FP1. Daniil Kvyat took 17th despite his having issues with his power unit during FP3. Massa's teammate Lance Stroll had to settle for 18th after a damaged rear wing effected his lap.
Sauber's Marcus Ericsson, who walks into this weekend with a gearbox penalty, qualified 19th. But, he will not be alone as his teammate Pascal Wehrlein, who qualified 20th, also faces a gearbox penalty ahead of Sunday's race.
After his historic achievement, Lewis Hamilton could make even more history at next week's Italian Grand Prix by not only beating Schumacher's pole record but also surpassing Ayrton Senna and Juan Manual Fangio for most Italian Grand Prix pole positions.