Dominant Hamilton secures pole as Vettel struggles

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Lewis Hamilton took a dominant pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix, beating Nico Rosberg by almost half a second as Sebastian Vettel struggled.

Following Rosberg's impressive start to the weekend on Friday, Hamilton hit back with the fastest time of FP3 on Saturday morning and carried that momentum through in to qualifying to take pole position with a 1:47.197. Rosberg was always second on the road to his team-mate but never able to respond, finished the session 0.458s adrift.

Valtteri Bottas took third place but was a massive 1.3s slower than Hamilton, with Romain Grosjean impressing with the fourth quickest time, though he faces a grid penalty. Grosjean will drop to ninth as a result of a gearbox change, which will promote the equally impressive Sergio Perez from fifth to fourth.

Daniel Ricciardo was sixth in qualifying ahead of Felipe Massa and Pastor Maldonado, while Vettel could only manage ninth place in a disappointing qualifying session for Ferrari. Carlos Sainz rounds out the top ten, though he was nearly a second adrift of Vettel in Q3 and his best lap was over 2.5s slower than Hamilton.

Q2 was interrupted by a red flag as Kimi Raikkonen's qualifying struggles continued. Raikkonen stopped on the exit of Stavelot with a loss of oil pressure, dropping him out in 14th place. Raikkonen still had Max Verstappen below him with the Toro Rosso driver not leaving the garage.

With Perez going through in fourth place, it was somewhat surprising for Force India team-mate Nico Hulkenberg to drop out in 11th having looked strong so far this weekend. Daniil Kvyat also failed to make it through to the final part of qualifying, ending Q2 in 12th place ahead of Marcus Ericsson.

Verstappen needed a late lap to make it out of Q1, sneaking through in 15th place having complained of losing a lot of time on the pit straight and out of La Source. The Toro Rosso's improvement knocked Felipe Nasr out in 16th place, with Nasr a second clear of Jenson Button in the lead McLaren.

Fernando Alonso was half a second slower than his team-mate having missed all of FP3, but both will drop to the back of the grid on Sunday. That will promote the two Manors, with Will Stevens pipping team-mate Roberto Merhi by just over 0.15s.

Click here for a gallery of the biggest crashes at Spa-Francorchamps 

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01Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:48.9081:48.0241:47.197
02Nico RosbergMercedes1:48.9231:47.9551:47.655
03Valtteri BottasWilliams1:49.0261:49.0441:48.537
04Romain GrosjeanLotus1:49.3531:48.9811:48.561
05Sergio PerezForce India1:49.0061:48.7921:48.599
06Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1:49.6641:49.0421:48.639
07Felipe MassaWilliams1:49.6881:48.8061:48.685
08Pastor MaldonadoLotus1:49.5681:48.9561:48.754
09Sebastian VettelFerrari1:49.2641:48.7611:48.825
10Carlos SainzToro Rosso1:49.1091:49.0651:49.771
11Nico HulkenbergForce India1:49.4991:49.121
12Daniil KvyatRed Bull1:49.4691:49.228
13Marcus EricssonSauber1:49.5231:49.586
14Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1:49.288
15Max VerstappenToro Rosso1:49.831
16Felipe NasrSauber1:49.952
17Jenson ButtonMcLaren1:50.978
18Fernando AlonsoMcLaren1:51.420
19Will StevensManor1:52.948
20Roberto MerhiManor1:53.099