Belgian Grand Prix 2012: Jenson Button dominates to takes pole at Spa
Belgian Grand Prix 2012: McLaren's Jenson Button takes pole ahead of Kamui Kobayashi and Pastor Maldonado
McLaren’s Jenson Button took pole position for Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix after a dominant qualifying performance at Spa.
In his 50th race for McLaren, the British driver celebrated in style by achieving his first pole position for the team – his last being in 2009 in Monaco for Brawn GP.
After having his rear wing worked on at the beginning of Q2, the 32-year-old drove three laps good enough for pole position, beating Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi by two tenths.
Finishing Friday practice as the quickest driver, Kobayashi continued his fast form, making him the first Japanese driver to make the front of the grid.
Williams’ Pastor Maldonado will start behind in third with Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen in fourth. Lewis Hamilton will start in eighth place.
“It’s been quite a long time since my last pole,” said Button. “That was back in 2009 in Monaco I think.”
“Sundays have gone well for the last couple of years but Saturdays have not gone perfectly. It was a great qualifying session and it’s so important to come back after such a long break with a good result on Saturday.
“I know the race is tomorrow but this is close to winning a Grand Prix for me because it’s been so long”.
“We just got the balance right this morning. The car has been working really well all day. It’s been limited running this weekend but every run we’ve done the balance has been reasonably good. We just tickled it, especially through qualifying, and yeah the balance is to my liking”.
“I obviously have a style that is quite difficult to find a car that works for me in qualifying but when it does we can get a pole position.”
“A big thank you to the whole team, especially Dave and Tom, my two engineers, who have on some of the Saturdays found it pretty tough but it was a good day. It makes it a lot easier for us being in this position but it’s still going to be a hard day tomorrow.
World championship leader Fernando Alonso qualified in sixth ahead of Red Bull’s Mark Webber, who was hit by a five-place grid penalty for a gear box change.
His team-mate Sebastian Vettel may have been on pole at Spa last year, but the Red Bull driver will start the Grand Prix from 11th position on Sunday, having failed to make it to the top 10 shoot-off.
Fellow German Michael Schumacher, who will drive his 300th race this weekend, also failed to make it into the top 10 and will start in 13th.
It has been a disappointing weekend so far for Mercedes’ driver Nico Rosberg.
Having pulled out of final practice with a suspected transmission problem, the German driver will start the race from 18th position. The 27-year-old failed to cross the line before the chequered flag dropped, meaning he was not allowed to start his final flying lap.
Button’s pole position marks another new record this season, making him the ninth different pole sitter at the Spa circuit in the last nine Grands Prix.
Belgian Grand Prix 2012: Provisional starting grid
1 Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 47.573s
2 Kamui Kobayashi Japan Sauber-Ferrari 1m 47.871s
3 Pastor Maldonado Venezuela Williams-Renault 1m 47.893s
4 Kimi Raikkonen Finland Lotus-Renault 1m 48.205s
5 Sergio Perez Mexico Sauber-Ferrari 1m 48.219s
6 Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 48.313s
7 Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1m 48.392s
8 Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 48.394s
9 Romain Grosjean France Lotus-Renault 1m 48.538s
10 Paul di Resta Britain Force India-Mercedes 1m 48.890s
11 Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 1m 48.792s
12 Nico Hulkenberg Germany Force India-Mercedes 1m 48.855s
13 Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 49.081s
14 Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 49.147s
15 Jean-Eric Vergne France Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 49.354s
16 Daniel Ricciardo Australia Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 49.543s
17 Bruno Senna Brazil Williams-Renault 1m 50.088s
18 Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 50.181s
19 Heikki Kovalainen Finland Caterham-Renault 1m 51.739s
20 Vitaly Petrov Russia Caterham-Renault 1m 51.967s
21 Timo Glock Germany Marussia -Cosworth 1m 52.336s
22 Pedro de la Rosa Spain HRT-Cosworth 1m 53.030s
23 Charles Pic France Marussia -Cosworth 1m 53.493s
24 Narain Karthikeyan India HRT-Cosworth 1m 54.989s