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Page last updated at 13:02 GMT, Saturday, 6 September 2008 14:02 UK
Belgian Grand Prix
Spa-Francorchamps, 5-7 September



Belgian Grand Prix
Venue: Spa-Francorchamps circuit Race: Sunday 7 September at 1300 BST Coverage: Live on ITV, BBC Radio 5 Live and the BBC Sport website


Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton is chasing his fifth win of the season in Spa

Lewis Hamilton edged out main title rival Felipe Massa in the dying seconds of qualifying to capture pole position for Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix.

Massa had claimed provisional pole for Ferrari only for Hamilton to put his McLaren across the line in one minute 47.338 seconds - 0.340 secs quicker.

Heikki Kovalainen in the second McLaren overhauled Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari to take third place on the grid.

Hamilton's pole in Spa was his fifth of the season and 11th of his career.

Nick Heidfeld, who set the fastest lap in final practice, kept up his improved run of form to take fifth for BMW Sauber with team-mate Robert Kubica in eighth.

Renault's Fernando Alonso claimed sixth spot ahead of Red Bull's Mark Webber.

Tomorrow will be a challenging day but with the car and the package we'll be hard to beat

Lewis Hamilton

The two Toro Rossos of Sebastien Bourdais, who shocked the field by leading the first qualifying session, and Sebastian Vettel rounded out the top ten.

The Ferraris had come to Spa expecting to press their title challenge on a circuit that traditionally favours the Italian marque.

McLaren, however, found the cool temperatures to their liking and consistently eked out faster times than the Ferraris in all three qualifying sessions.

And Hamilton, who leads the drivers' championship standings by six points, timed his lap to perfection on the fast and flowing Spa circuit.

"The team made no mistakes, and I made no mistakes," said Hamilton, 23. "I feel great.

"Coming from Valencia (the European Grand Prix two weeks ago) I knew we had work to do.

"I feel better than ever and I'm struggling not to smile. Tomorrow will be a challenging day but with the car and the package we'll be hard to beat."

After dominating Friday's early practice session, Massa went into qualifying with supreme confidence but could not find enough pace to better Hamilton.

"I did a great lap, almost perfect, but it was not enough," said the Brazilian. "Sometimes you do a great lap and you are still missing something.

606: DEBATE
MacCrazy

"We don't know about their (McLaren's) fuel loads but they are strong here.

"The race is long and starting from the front row is very important so let's hope we have a strong race."

Raikkonen continued to struggle to hit the heights on a circuit he calls his favourite and at which he has claimed three consecutive victories.

The Finn went to Spa knowing that anything less than a victory would see his hopes of defending his world title diminish.

But despite putting together some decent laps he had to settle for fourth on the grid behind Kovalainen.

Raikkonen may have to rely on Spa's unpredictable weather to help his cause. The qualifying session stayed dry but rain could still affect the outcome of the race.


Grid positions for the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps:

1. Lewis Hamilton (GB) McLaren-Mercedes 1 min 47.338 secs

2. Felipe Massa (Brz) Ferrari 1:47.678

3. Heikki Kovalainen (Fin) McLaren-Mercedes 1:47.815

4. Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:47.992

5. Nick Heidfeld (Ger) BMW Sauber 1:48.315

6. Fernando Alonso (Spn) Renault 1:48.504

7. Mark Webber (Aus) Red Bull-Renault 1:48.736

8. Robert Kubica (Pol) BMW Sauber 1:48.763

9. Sebastien Bourdais (Fra) Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:48.951

10. Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:50.319

11. Jarno Trulli (Ita) Toyota 1:46.949

12. Nelson Piquet (Brz) Renault 1:46.965

13. Timo Glock (Ger) Toyota 1:46.995

14. David Coulthard (GB) Red Bull-Renault 1:47.018

15. Nico Rosberg (Ger) Williams-Toyota 1:47.429

16. Rubens Barrichello (Brz) Honda 1:48.153

17. Jenson Button (GB) Honda 1:48.211

18. Adrian Sutil (Ger) Force India-Ferrari 1:48.226

19. Kazuki Nakajima (Jpn) Williams-Toyota 1:48.268

20. Giancarlo Fisichella (Ita) Force India-Ferrari 1:48.447


see also
As it happened: Belgian GP qualifying
06 Sep 08 |  Formula One
Massa & Alonso top Spa standings
05 Sep 08 |  Formula One
I need win in Belgium - Raikkonen
04 Sep 08 |  Formula One
Raikkonen given Ferrari backing
29 Aug 08 |  Formula One
Raikkonen defiant over poor form
28 Aug 08 |  Formula One
Massa closes on Hamilton with win
24 Aug 08 |  Formula One
Ferrari admit to engine concerns
26 Aug 08 |  Formula One


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