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Page last updated at 13:30 GMT, Saturday, 29 August 2009 14:30 UK

Belgian GP qualifying as it happened



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By Caroline Cheese

1430: Look out for highlights of that frankly ridiculous qualifying session on the BBC website later, and you can even watch the whole bally thing again on iPlayer. Tomorrow's race should be a crackerjack. Return here at 1200 BST for build-up...

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt on Twitter: "I am referring to my notes from Friday and guess who was tipping the Force Indias to do well this weekend? Me! Well, no, it was Martin Brundle."

1421: I was rather hoping there'd be some reaction from Force India on their Twitter feed, but nothing so far. Perhaps they haven't picked themselves off the floor yet. Tomorrow's race cannot come soon enough. Surely, surely, Force India will break their points duck in F1.

Third-placed Nick Heidfeld: "It's obviously very important to everyone in the team. We said that BMW wants to leave on a high. It's even more important for the people in Hinwil - we are working on securing the future of the team and it is good we can show we have good performance."

1419: Good to see Jarno Trulli is as baffled as rest of us mere mortals by today's events...

Toyota's Jarno Trulli after qualifying second: "It's a mystery. We haven't done anything on the car compared to the last few races and suddenly here we are competitive. It is great, we were going through a difficult moment. We don't understand why we are struggling so much and then we are competitive sometimes like today. I am very confident for tomorrow."

Text in your views on 81111
From Kev, Newcastle, via text on 81111: "Why not abandon qualifying for next year and simply pull the grid line-up out of a hat. I reckon there'd be no difference to today! Unbelievable!"

1413: And what about BMW? Nick Heidfeld is third, Robert Kubica fifth.

Pole position man Giancarlo Fisichella: "It's unbelievable. I didn't expect to be on pole. It's amazing. It's fantastic. I'm so happy. I need to thank team because they did a fantastic job. I'm really, really happy - and really confident for tomorrow."

1409: We await the all-important fuel loads, but Eddie Jordan declares Rubens Barrichello as the "big winner" of that qualifying session. The Brazilian starts fourth, with fellow title contenders Seb Vettel eighth, Mark Webber ninth and Jenson Button 14th.

Jenson Button (14th) on BBC 5 Live Sports Extra: "I didn't it make because I wasn't fast enough. It's going to make tomorrow very difficult. I didn't have any pace on the soft tyres and every time I hit the brakes, the rear would move. I did not have any confidence in the rear end. It's strange to be four or five tenths off Rubens - our cars are different, but they are not that different. It makes tomorrow very difficult but if you're not quick enough, you're not quick enough and I didn't have any pace on the soft tyre. Hopefully we can get some points, because not getting any points tomorrow is pretty disastrous compared to Rubens but more so the Red Bulls ."

Lewis Hamilton after qualifying 12th: "I went into qualifying nervous as hell. I didn't know where we were going to be. We knew we didn't have the downforce of the others. I'm losing so much time in the middle sector. There was nothing I could do, I was on the ragged edge. But we can have a little bit of fun with Kers from down there."

1404: Out jumps the 36-year-old Fisichella and holds his arms aloft. He won't fancy driving a pedestrian Ferrari after this, will he? Trailing in the Italian's wake: Jarno Trulli, Nick Heidfeld, Rubens Barrichello, Robert Kubica and Kimi Raikkonen. Timo Glock, Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg complete the top 10.

1402: Somebody pinch me. Giancarlo Fisichella? Of Force India?! Here's his rather splendid reaction to being told he's on pole: "Pole position?" Feel the force, Giancarlo.


1359: The clock hits zero and you will never guess who is in P1... it's only ruddy Giancarlo Fisichella! Still some cars on fliers though.

1358: And now Nick Heidfeld takes over at the top... but Jarno Trulli wipes him out.

1357: Three minutes remaining, and we're finally getting some times on the board. Raikkonen, Rosberg, Heidfeld, Barrichello.

1355: BMW are putting the harder tyres on Nick Heidfeld's car, having cottoned on to the fact that they are now working much better. Everyone else now following suit. Jenson Button had soft tyres on throughout.

1354: Kimi Raikkonen puts his Ferrari in P1 with a 1:47.218. With five minutes remaining, this is the calm before the storm.

Text in your views on 81111
From James, Bolton, via text on 81111: "If Button loses this championship, then Spa is the place where it happened. What happened to the confidence of early season? Button's biggest enemy (it seems) is himself. Come on JB!"

Anthony Davidson on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra: "It's so topsy turvy - I can't make out what is going on. It's a bit of a mix up and I don't think the teams know what is happening - a lot of the cars are reacting well to the low fuel levels used in Q2."

1351: We're off in the shoot-out.

From DarcTiger on 606: "Shock O'clock at Spa!"

1346: So an unusual top-10 shoot-out will feature both BMWs and both Toyotas. Jarno Trulli was quickest in Q2 ahead of Robert Kubica and Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull. Button's team-mate Rubens Barrichello was sixth quickest, four-tenths quicker than the Englishman. This could be a big moment in the title race.

1343: Bur-limey. Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso join Jenson Button in the bottom five. "Not good enough Jenson, I'm afraid, P13," comes the gloomy message from the Brawn pit wall - and it's even gloomier than that: he's 14th. What on earth is going on with the championship leader? The other fallers in Q2: Adrian Sutil (sniff) and Heikki Kovalainen.


1341: And Lewis Hamilton is teetering on the brink in 10th... this is so, so tense.

1340: Fernando Alonso roars out of the drop zone and into sixth with a scorcher. That puts championship leader Jenson Button in the bottom five!

1339: Force India have never had two cars in the top-10 shootout. They lie 10th and 11th at the moment.

1337: So here goes Nico Rosberg on his first hot lap of Q2. It's not that good. Sutil, Alonso, Kovalainen and Heidfeld also in the bottom five. Trulli quickest ahead of Webber.

1335: Williams, struggling with their aero package this weekend, have planned for Nico Rosberg to go out for two or three laps on the harder tyre. And he's out now.

1333: Eight minutes remaining and the bottom five is: Sutil, Kovalainen, Heidfeld, Alonso, Rosberg.

BBC1 commentator Martin Brundle: "There's some monster driving out there, Fernando Alonso throwing his car at the Pouhon corner at 180mph. Amazing."

1331: BMW's Robert Kubica lays down the first marker with a 1:45.496. Jarno Trulli promptly destroys it with a 1:44.865.

1329: I do apologise. Our leaderboard appears to have taken a step back in time, with Sebastien Bourdais making an unlikely appearance. Watch out for Scott Speed popping up later.

1327: The 15 minutes of Q2 begin.

1324: Luca Badoer lost control after passing Sebastian Vettel on the entrance to Les Combes. It's not even funny anymore, it's just excruciating. Lewis Hamilton only just sneaks into Q2, finishing 15th quickest, behind Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso. Ferrari's, sorry, Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella is top of the pops, Jarno Trulli second, Rubens Barrichello third.

1321: Despite the yellows for Luca Badoer's collision with a wall, Fernando Alonso and Robert Kubica escape the bottom five at the death having passed the Italian before the flags came out. Sebastien Buemi, Jaime Alguersuari, Kazuki Nakajaima, Romain Grosjean join Luca Badoer for an early bath.

1320: There's a Ferrari in the gravel, rear wheel spinning pointlessly. I don't need to tell you it's Luca Badoer. Yellow flags are out.

1319: Mark Webber is in the bottom five... but not for long, he's finally put a quick lap together and rockets up to second. Fernando Alonso now in trouble.

1316: Everyone on the track except Quick Nick Heidfeld, who feels he's done his work. The BMW man is currently second. Rob Smedley radios Luca Badoer: "Half a second. Put all your sectors together, and you're in. Come on." Badoer 20th.

1315: Less than five minutes remaining and Mark Webber and Kimi Raikkonen are among those hovering above the bottom five. We could have drama here...

1313: Martin Brundle reckons we're going to see some "very famous and well-paid tears" in this qualifying session. Could they be from the Williams drivers, who are both in the drop zone at the moment?

Anthony Davidson on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra: "At the moment Toyota are looking pretty strong they could do well this weekend, this circuit should suit them."

BBC1 commentator Jonathan Legard: "Apparently, Luca Badoer was 6-1 to finish in the top eight here. Extraordinary odds. I would have thought 206-1 was more like it."

1309: There's Rubens Barrichello slithering off the track, as Ross Brawn looks on with concern. Heidfeld, Sutil, Buemi the slightly surprising one-two-three at the moment.

1308: Twelve minutes remaining and the bottom five are Badoer, Fisichella, Hamilton, Vettel and Kubica. That will change.

1306: It's a Toyota one-two, Glock from Trulli with a 1:46.394.

1303: Luca Badoer is top... for about a second before Kimi Raikkonen puts him back in his place. Everyone on the track bar Hamilton, Kubica and Vettel.

1300: Off we go then. Luca Badoer goes out on the soft tyres, while Kimi Raikkonen has the medium compound on his Ferrari.

1255: Mark Webber will be wearing a black armband today in honour of fellow Aussie racer Frank Gardner, who died today at the age of 78.

1249: Back on BBC1, Jake Humphrey gets to interview the skaterboi we mentioned earlier (see 1056). "Don't you wear a helmet?" asks Uncle Jake. The 14-year-old gives the old man a pitying look and shrugs his shoulders. The young man in question, Axel Cruysberghs, is the youngest European Skateboard Champion ever. Radical.

1245: Right, we've heard nothing but drivers banging on about how brilliant Spa is. If you want a quick virtual trip around it on the BBC website , do it now. You have 15 minutes until qualifying.

1239: You just can't keep Giancarlo Fisichella off our screens today. The Italian is now being interviewed live on BBC1 and he admits that it would be a dream come true to race a Ferrari at Monza. But he adds: "It's just a rumour so far. Until Ferrari call me I'm not concentrating on that, I'm concentrating on Force India. We have taken a step forward and we are much closer. We hope to do well. Our target is to score points."

From VillaFour on 606: "Tracks like Spa highlight the difference between the old tracks and the new tracks. The old tracks are exciting and a huge challenge for the drivers, while the new tracks are pretty boring with no real challenge. That's why it's great to see Canada back on the schedule."

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt on Twitter: "Eddie Jordan says Heikki is a decent shout to do well on Sunday. Lee McKenzie is going for Kimi. I was going for Webber then his engine packed up..."

Rosberg on his F1 future: "I haven't decided about next season. I hope to soon. Williams really supported me to come into F1. We get on really well together. That's the sentimental side."

Williams driver Nico Rosberg: "We're struggling here. I'll be happy if I finish in Q3."

1226: Forgot to mention Eddie Jordan's attire. A smart black jacket coupled with a sober, blue shirt. Disappointing. Very disappointing. Anyway, BBC1 are just running through the possible driver switcheroos for next season - as well as who might take over from Luca Badoer in Monza. Giancarlo Fisichella says it's "nice" to be linked with the drive, but Ferrari haven't picked up the phone yet.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner: "Every race is like a cup final for us now. We've got to go for for it, throw caution to the wind. If we're still in it come Abu Dhabi, I'll be delighted."

1216: BBC1 coverage under way, and Jake Humphrey is wrapped up in a black bomber jacket, while David Coulthard braves a beige, lightweight summer option. Who's right?

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt at Spa: "I'm looking out across the wooded slopes that huddle around the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit and I can sense the anticipation ahead of qualifying beginning to build. There is the sweet smell of waffles in the air (despite a Belgian waffle stand starting a small fire at the track on Friday) and fans snuggled up in jackets are letting out occasional blasts of air horns. Across the track at Eau Rouge, the blue stands are not quite full of fans - you can't blame them because it is a bit nippy - but I can spy some Ferrari and Finnish flags flapping in support of Kimi Raikkonen, who could do very well here this weekend."

1209: While you were gone, we learned the provisional calendar for 2010. In summary: it starts in Bahrain, and Britain and Canada are both on it but listed as provisional.

1202: As callmedev911 on 606 so rightly observes, that was a very confusing final practice session. Is it significant that Jenson Button was the quickest of the title contenders? Could BMW be back among the frontrunners this weekend? What was Fernando Alonso (17th) up to? We'll see...

1200: Welcome back.

1115: Short break - and I mean it this time - ahead of qualifying. I'm back at 1200 BST. Don't go away... well, not for long anyway.

1105: Gentle pat on the back for Luca Badoer, who is a mere 1.667 seconds off the quickest time AND isn't the slowest man. That dubious honour goes to Kazuki Nakajima in the Williams.

1104: Of the title contenders: Jenson Button is quickest in 10th, Sebastian Vettel 14th, Rubens Barrichello 16th and Mark Webber failed to record a quick lap. Don't think you can read much into that session.

1101: Session over and it is indeed Quick Nick Heidfeld who ends up on top in the BMW. Jarno Trulli is next, then Adrian Sutil, Romain Grosjean and Timo Glock.

1059: Romain Grosjean, third quickest at the moment, runs off on to the grass at turns 12 and 13. And Nick Heidfeld in his BMW has just toppled Adrian Sutil with a 1:45.388.

1058: A minute remaining - and the news is confirmed that Mark Webber's Red Bull does need a new engine. Not great preparation for qualifying.

Teenage European Skateboard Champion Axel Cruysberghs
1056: I'm afraid I have some rather disturbing news for you. Yesterday after practice, it seems a young hoodlum managed to get on to the historic Spa circuit and skateboard on it! Ugh. I don't know, the youth of today, they have no respec… You what? It was European Skateboard Champion Axel Cruysberghs and it was a planned filming opportunity for BBC1? Oh.

1053: Just caught the end of what sounded like a rather fraught conversation between Luca Badoer and race engineer Rob Smedley. "If you put it all together," says Smedley. "You'll be two or three tenths off Kimi." If...

BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Red Bull need to look closely at the engine integration. There's no point Webber sitting in the car while they do that. Team boss Christian Horner says they'll make a decision at end of session whether they need to put a new engine in. That'll be a lot of work for them - but they will be able to do it."

1050: Mark Webber won't be out again this session, as Red Bull look into his engine problems. Not good news for them, following Sebastian Vettel's well-documented engine troubles.

1046: Luca Badoer is less than two seconds off the pace of leader Adrian Sutil, a victory of sorts for the Ferrari reserve. He's also ahead of Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso. Strange times.

1040: Fernando Alonso follows Kimi Raikkonen in going wide into the gravel on the run down to Rivage. More on Red Bull's troubles from Ted Kravitz: "The exhausts seem OK. I wonder if Red Bull knew about this problem before practice and that's why they are limiting Mark Webber's laps as well as Sebastian Vettel's."

1038: Mark Webber tells his Red Bull team he's suffering from a loss of power. The Aussie - many people's tip for a race win - still hasn't put a quick lap on the board. Red Bull have reverted to their old 'fat' nose cone today, not the skinnier one they introduced at Silverstone.

1036: Woo-hoo. Super Sutil hits the top with a 1:46.109, nearly four-tenths quicker than Heikki Kovalainen.

1033: New name at the top and it's Heikki Kovalainen. Meanwhile, Giancarlo Fisichella has hit an animal. BBC pit-lane reporter Holly Samos reveals that they don't know what sort of animal it was "but it is now dead". RIP, animal.

1030: Half an hour gone, and Lewis Hamilton still top ahead of Jarno Trulli, Heikki Kovalainen, Sebastien Buemi and Timo Glock. Kimi Raikkonen is ninth, Sebastien Vettel is 13th, while the Brawns of Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button are 10th and 15th. Mark Webber yet to post a time.

1024: McLaren tell Lewis Hamilton that his pace is pretty much the same as yesterday. The world champion - currently topping the timesheets - is quickest in the first and third sectors but is losing "seven or eight tenths" in the middle twisty section. Whoah. Kimi Raikkonen goes careering off into the gravel and there must be damage there.

BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC 5 Live Sports Extra analyst Antony Davidson on Jenson Button: "He's pretty calm in himself. He knows the car isn't as bad as a few races ago. But he has to be careful. I think he's got to be a bit more racier than he has been recently."

1021: Now then, you may have seen a rather juicy story in today's Times, in which Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali admits they are pushing to have three cars on the grid next season. The story also suggests Michael Schumacher could be in one of those cars. Esteemed website F1 editor head honcho type person Andrew Benson has been doing a bit of digging and reveals: "There is a provision for three-car teams in the new Concorde Agreement should the need arise. My source is cagey on what triggers it, but he was clear that Agreement says that teams would do it on rotation and by ballot. So what Ferrari are talking about would be in contravention of an agreement that was signed only a month ago - so on that basis you'd have to say it's almost certainly not going to happen. Not only that, but Michael Schumacher said only a week ago that he wasn't ever thinking of a return being anything other than as a replacement for Felipe Massa."

1017: Ah, if only F1 would stop now. Adrian Super Sutil is the man on top of the charts - but he is quickly knocked off by Force India team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella.

Get involved on 606
From pete_in_halstead on 606: "From what I can see Jenson Button drives best when he has some clear air - that's why he always puts in fastest laps at the end of the race and why was doing so well earlier in the season when rivals went in a lap or two ahead of him and then he put in some fast laps. This suggests that maybe he should qualify with a bit of extra fuel so he can stay out for a couple more laps than his rivals. Obviously this still requires him to qualify in an OK position and get a decent start."

1005: Everyone back in their box after the installation laps. Some news shortly about Ferrari, and some interesting plans they have for next season.

Text in your views on 81111
From Ian, Newcastle, via text on 81111: "Sitting at my computer trying to some work but can't wait for morning practice to get going and hoping Jens and Brawn have found some speed."

1000: The green light is on and Luca Badoer is first out... NO... he's been beaten to it by Giancarlo Fisichella's Force India.

0958: It's cloudy and it's cold in Spa today - but it's not raining, and there is only a small chance of showers later. The high today is expected to be 17C. I think I heard a sigh from the Brawn garage.

0956: Fingers at the ready... manually refresh for some moving pictures at the top of this page (UK only).

Text in your views on 81111
From Sam, Surrey, via text on 81111: "Good luck to Jenson. He will be protected by Ferrari and McLaren anyway. If you get what I mean."

From DunkMonk on Twitter: "Re 0937: I reckon Button has been listening the Pet Shop Boys while thinking of those Red Bulls - You Were Always On My Mind..."

Sebastian Vettel on whether he worries about his engine situation: "You concentrate on running and as long as there is a sound behind you, everything is OK."

0948: So it's a big weekend for Button - and a crucial one for Sebastian Vettel too. The German, already 25 points off the lead, only has four of his allotted eight engines left to last the season. If he has to use a ninth, he'll incur a 10-place grid penalty. Should he fall further behind in the championship in Spa, Red Bull could decide to put their eggs in a Mark Webber-shaped basket.

BBC Sport's Lee McKenzie on Twitter: "Not looking like rain for the moment although I am wearing a Cossack hat inside so still cold!"

0942: Back to Jenson 'I'm not feeling the pressure, I'm totally relaxed, honestly' Button. He was asked on Thursday whether he really wanted to win the championship. A stupid question, oh yes indeed, but boy, did Button bite. "Who would possibly say that? Does Jenson want to win the title or not? It is a pretty silly question isn't it? Why the (bleep) am I here? Does he want to win the title? No, I want to finish second or third. What I would like to do now is stand up and walk away, have a good weekend and then we will talk about it afterwards."

0937: I warmed up for today's live text by listening to the Pet Shop Boys. It's put me in a chipper mood, I must say. Berate me for my music taste - and comment on F1 things - via text on 81111, on 606, or on Twitter.

0930: Good morning Spa fans. Big day for Jenson Button, who for someone who claims not to be feeling the pressure is doing a very good impression of... someone feeling the pressure. This time last week, he bungled qualifying. He could do with nailing it today.

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After 60 of 61 laps
Position Driver Team

Race stopped at 60 laps

1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes
2 Germany S Vettel Red Bull
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull
4 Spain F Alonso Ferrari
5 Brazil F Massa Williams
6 France J Vergne Toro Rosso
7 Mexico S Perez Force India
8 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India
10 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren
11 Finland V Bottas Williams
12 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus
13 France R Grosjean Lotus
14 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso
15 Sweden M Ericsson Caterham
16 France J Bianchi Marussia
17 Great Britain M Chilton Marussia
18 Great Britain J Button (ret.) McLaren
19 Germany A Sutil (ret.) Sauber
20 Mexico E Gutierrez (ret.) Sauber
21 Germany N Rosberg (ret.) Mercedes
22 Japan K Kobayashi (ret.) Caterham

FIA Formula 1 World Championsh 2016

Position Driver Team Pts
1 Germany N Rosberg Mercedes 385
2 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes 380
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull 256
4 Germany S Vettel Ferrari 212
5 M Verstappen Red Bull 204
6 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari 186
7 Mexico S Perez Force India 101
8 Finland V Bottas Williams 85
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India 72
10 Spain F Alonso McLaren 54
11 Brazil F Massa Williams 53
12 C Sainz Toro Rosso 46
13 France R Grosjean Haas F1 29
14 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso 25
15 Great Britain J Button McLaren 21
16 Denmark K Magnussen Lotus 7
17 Brazil F Nasr Sauber 2
18 J Palmer Lotus 1
19 P Wehrlein Manor Marussia F1 1
21 Mexico E Gutierrez Haas F1 0
22 Sweden M Ericsson Sauber 0
23 E Ocon Manor Marussia F1 0

Points projected from latest race positions

see also
Belgian Grand Prix photos
29 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Bahrain set to start 2010 season
29 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Fisichella on shock Belgium pole
29 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Belgian Grand Prix practice
27 Aug 09 |  Results
Hamilton on top as Button toils
28 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Belgian GP practice as it happened
28 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
F1 year to have day-night climax
28 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Renault plan to reintroduce Kers
26 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Iím not feeling pressure - Button
27 Aug 09 |  Formula 1

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