The Formula One season resumed today at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium and it was business as usual for championship leader Lewis Hamilton as he eased to pole position.
Current champion Hamilton has struggled at Spa previously in his career and has only managed one win at the circuit during his time in F1, but after qualifying ahead of team mate Nico Rosberg he’s in great shape to double that tally.
Rosberg would have come into this weekend hoping to swing the momentum in his favour, having only out qualified Hamilton once this season, but it wasn’t meant to be as he trailed the Brit by four tenths.
Over the mid-season break, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff warned his team not to rest on their laurels, which they certainly haven’t and the German team looked as dominant as ever if not more.
The Silver Arrows day got even better when nearest rivals Ferrari lost Kimi Raikkonen in Q2, due to a chassis problem which temporarily red flagged qualifying, he’ll start tomorrow in 14th place.
Things went from bad to worse for the Italian powerhouse as Sebastian Vettel could only manage 9th on the grid, despite coming into the weekend on the back of a victory in Hungary.
Valterri Bottas lines up on the 2nd row and he’ll be hoping to spoil the Mercedes party, but he’ll need to replicate what happened at Silverstone by leapfrogging Mercedes off the line if Williams are to compete.
Fourth fastest was the Lotus of Roman Grosjean, the surprise package of the session, the French driver showed good pace throughout qualifying, which is a much-needed result for the British team, who are currently suffering financial difficulties at the moment.
Sergio Perez in the Force India also impressed and will start tomorrow’s race in 5th place, his team-mate Nico Hulkenberg only managed 11th.
Neither of the Mclaren’s made it out of Q3, and after making multiple engine changes they will start at the back of the grid. Felipe Nasr in the Sauber joined them in falling out in Q3 after he struggled to produce a competitive lap.
Hamilton leads Rosberg by 21 points in the Drivers’ Championship and knows another victory here will really put him in the box seat to win a 3rd title and match Ayrton Senna’s record.
Rosberg will be encouraged by Hamilton’s failures of past at this race track and hope he can cause an upset, especially with so many British fans attending the race.
Bottas will do well to keep pace with Mercedes and perhaps may have to battle with the Ferrari’s later in the race once they enviably come through the field in search for a podium.
Red Bull racing don’t look like matching their podiums in Budapest, with Daniel Ricciardo lining up 6th on the grid and Danil Kyvat falling out in Q2. He’ll start in 12th.