Let's call this a wrap shall we? Hope you enjoyed today, I know I did. Tell you what, let's reconvene tomorrow, say at 1130 BST, and we'll do all of this again for the race. Should be a cracker. Take care.
BBC F1 pundit Eddie Jordan:
"What is it going to be like tomorrow when Hamilton tries to pass Webber at Eau Rouge? It is mouthwatering and I can't wait."
Boy_from_Brum on Twitter:BBC F1 analyst Anthony Davidson:
"It's like this. You want someone to get you there as smooth as you like in a Roller; hire Jenson Button. You want to make that flight in a taxi with seconds to spare; hire Lewis Hamilton. You want some building supplies delivered from B&Q, hire anyone from Ferrari!"
"Amazing, amazing lap from Lewis Hamilton. I thought the track had been ruined by the rainfall and he lost some time early on but made it up over the next two sectors. I'm sure he will be thinking about what might have been. I think they were robbed of pole position today."
My surprise pick for a podium finish, Renault's Robert Kubica (easy to say it after the event, right?), got that new 'F-duct' aero device upgrade working superbly and he is on the second row together with Red Bull's Seb Vettel. Button and Massa are on the third row with Barrichello starting from seventh and Adrian Sutil in eighth. The Hulk and Alonso complete the top 10.
Gutting for Alonso, he can only manage a 1:47.441 and he will start 10th on the grid. That will be some debrief in his side of the garage. BBC F1 pundit Eddie Jordan: "Yesterday, Fernando looked like an emerging world champion but today it was not good enough for him or Ferrari. It was very poor and it's a big disappointment. He got it wrong."
They have done it again. We've had 13 qualifying sessions in 2010 and Red Bull have secured pole 12 times. That is Webber's fifth pole of the season. His time of 1:45.778 was good enough. Hamilton posted a 1:45.863 at the end to join the Aussie on the front row.
MARK WEBBER QUALIFIES ON POLE FOR THE BELGIAN GRAND PRIX 1405:
Vettel is told over the radio: "There are spots of rain in the Turn One area but they're just spots, don't let that bother you." Massa goes straight through the gravel on the left of the straight at Malmedy. He can continue but that will hurt him. Less than a minute left.
My next job will not be a weatherman - fact. It's now raining in the pit lane. Alonso is in 10th and if this rain continues, he could be really hit hard on those slick tyres.
1400:BBC Sport analyst Anthony Davidson:
Webber sets the target with a 1:45.778. Kubica is second after a 1:46.100. Vettel third (1:46.127). The clouds are moody again. However, it looks as though it will be safe for the remaining minutes.
"Adrian Sutil in fifth has done a great job. If he can repeat that in Q3 he will really throw the cat amongst the pigeons."
Smoke seems to come off Hamilton's car as he sits patiently waiting for the green light at the end of the pit lane. Here we go.
At the other end it is Hamilton, Button, Vettel and Webber. "This is a big move for McLaren," says Eddie Jordan. "Lewis looks the more comfortable of the McLaren drivers," adds David Coulthard. The Ferraris are seventh and eighth. Kravitz says Ferrari spent more time on the soft tyres than anyone else and he predicts a better showing in Q3. They need it.
Schumacher, Rosberg, Alguersuari, Liuzzi, Buemi, Kovalainen and Glock are the boys that are excused for lunch. The others are set for the top-10 shoot out. Ready?
Mercedes boss Ross Brawn looks blankly at his TV screens. I wonder what is going through his mind? Both Schumacher and Rosberg fail to make Q3. "Sorry about the traffic," Schumacher is told as he coasts around on his in-lap.
No-one is going to beat that - Hamilton sets a 1:46.441. Still a few cars out there though on flying laps.
Bosh. Button fastest with a 1:47.421. Massa, The Hulk, Sutil, Rosberg, Barrichello, Glock and Kovalainen are in trouble. That could all change though as the session draws to a close. Seconds left.
Kovalainen yet to go out. The sun is shining, Lotus must be waiting until the end for the driest conditions. Ferrari say Massa and Alonso are now going out on softs.
Hold the back page. Schumacher is fastest with a 1:49.028 but Brundle says the times are going to tumble as the track dries out. Now Vettel tops the timesheets - a 1:48.710. Kubica third (1:49.309), Hamilton fourth (1:49.853). Ouch, Massa goes into the gravel after he loses the back end of his Ferrari at Rivage.
Virgin Racing's Lucas di Grassi:
"The session started mixed up, half dry and half wet. I got hit by Jarno [Trulli] on an early lap and the damage meant we had to stop and aim for tomorrow."
Renault's Vitaly Petrov:
"I just tried to check out the curb and it was just too wet. But we have a good car and plenty of straight speed with the 'F-duct' so we will stay positive for the weekend. I would prefer to qualify top 10 though. It is better to fight from a front position."
Q2 is go. Vitantonio Liuzzi is told that there is not going to be any more rain for the "immediate future". BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz:
"There was a big sigh of relief from the McLaren garage after they chose to keep their drivers in the pits when everyone else went out on slicks. They have now gone out on a used set of soft tyres to see where their car is." Split in Ferrari - Massa is on the harder compound, Alonso on the softer one.
BBC F1 pundit David Coulthard:
"It was a schoolboy error from Petrov to run out there. To put himself in that situation before even posting a timed lap shows his inexperience. He will start from the back of the grid and he is one man who will be praying for wet weather tomorrow."
Crikey that was an eventful Q1. The boys dropping out are Trulli, Kobayashi, Bruno Senna, Yamamoto, Pedro de la Rosa, Lucas di Grassi and Petrov. The Lotus of Heikki Kovalainen and Virgin Racing's Timo Glock are in Q2!!
All the drivers seem to be on slicks now. Rosberg goes fastest with a 1:54.826. The Hulk second after a 1:55.442. Wow. Barrichello posts a 1:55.757 to go third. This is all over the place. Session over.
Kubica is no longer in the drop zone. In fact, he's fastest. He posts a 1:56.041. Webber now out on the slicks. Whoops, Kamui Kobayashi goes straight on instead of turning right at Rivage. Looks wet there. He's in the gravel. Yellow flag.
Good work from Sutil, a 1:58.730. Fifth. Jarno Trulli has burnt out his slicks according to Kravitz and will now have to go out on slicks. Kubica now in the drop zone.
Brundle says the track in parts looks like it is ready for slicks again. Vettel posts a 1:58.487 which lifts him up to third. Safe. Sutil is now out and about and he needs a time to get out of trouble.
BBC F1 analyst Martin Brundle:
"The intermediates go from standing water to a dry track but they do wear out."
Loads of cars now come in. Vettel is out on the intermediates. He's got around nine and a half minutes. He is told that if he is not improving his time, he must not destroy those tyres. The teams only have four sets of inters for the whole weekend.
Bedlam. Five cars have trouble at Curve Paul Frere (Turn 15). It's wet there, the rain is pouring down there but not in the pit lane. This is bonkers. Hamilton sets the fastest time of 1:56.706. Vettel just manages to clamber up to 17th. He's out of the drop zone for now.
It is now raining in certain parts. It's very busy out there and a lot of drivers are being caught up in traffic. Schumacher is desperately trying to get around the Lotus of Jarno Trulli but the Italian is not yielding.
The session resumes. The softer compound slick tyres are on. Rain is expected between 1310 and 1315. This is going to be tight because if it comes sooner, the drivers could be in trouble.
That incident shows how treacherous this qualifying is going to be. The clouds look absolutely awful and the drivers will be wanting to get out there as quickly as possible. Petrov's car is being lifted up and over the barriers to safety. Another setback for Mercedes, they have had to change Nico Rosberg's gearbox and he will be demoted five places on the grid.
Red flag - session suspended. The clock has stopped. Petrov runs over onto the slippery white line coming out of Turn Nine, spins and smacks into the barrier on the other side. The front wing has taken a knock. Big blow for Renault.
And we are off. There's 20 minutes of Q1 and remember that the bottom seven drop out. BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz reports that Jenson Button is the only one of the championship contending drivers on the softer compound tyres.
Air temp - 16C, track temp - 22C. Petrov is told that rain is set to arrive halfway through the session.
On the telly, Jake Humphrey produces a wonderful picture of a younger Eddie Jordan which is on the inside of a special commemorative book celebrating Barrichello's 300th GP. He looks like a Butlins holiday rep. Forget that... the sun is out.
Eddie Jordan believes McLaren and team boss Martin Whitmarsh should put the controversy over bodywork that is allegedly flexing illegally on the Red Bull cars behind them. Red Bull have, apparently, passed the more stringent tests imposed by the FIA and Jordan believes Whitmarsh's complaints are distracting for his drivers and the other teams.
As we all know, Red Bull have absolutely bossed qualifying this year - the only time they missed out on top spot was at the Canadian GP. They have locked out the front row in six races while Seb Vettel has claimed pole in the last four races - winning only one of them. Red Bull on pole anyone?
Last year in Spa, Giancarlo Fisichella sprang a massive surprise by qualifying on pole for Force India. Here's the team's latest
"We're ready to go in qualifying. Skies are very grey... could we see another sensational qualifying at Spa?"
Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher on BBC One:
"At the end of the day there are physics. How can a 41-year-old be as good as a top level 23 or 24-year-old? But I have experience and a high level of speed. If it is exactly the same as at my high periods in Ferrari I don't think we will ever know. Because when I had that with Ferrari I had been working for 10 years to make that level. This time I have been with a whole new team just for one year."
Speeding Toffee on 606:
"Looks like on and off rain for quali - lets hope McLaren learn their lesson and get an early Q1 lap in if it's dry!!"
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Spa:
"There were plenty of relaxed faces as the sun shone over the paddock at lunch-time. McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh was smiling as he entertained guests and Sauber's Kamui Kobayshi, who was just over a second off Mark Webber's pace in third practice, talked to almost anyone who stopped for a chat. Red Bull gave the simple explanation that Sebastian Vettel's curtailed session was a precautionary stop because of a problem with the airbox, which supplies the engine with air. Red Bull have taken all but one pole this season but the top-eight cars this morning were covered by less than a second, and our man Martin Brundle reckons qualifying could be pretty close in Spa's changeable conditions."
Pole position does not seem to be as important at this wonderful track as it does at other venues. BBC F1 commentator David Croft quoted a great stat earlier that 13 of the 53 races that have been held at Spa have been won by the man of pole. The last driver to win from pole was Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen in 2007.
Belgian GP race steward and 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell on the Schumacher/Barrichello incident:
"As a fan, not a steward, it was a little bit over the top. Michael stated his case, Rubens stated his, and there's nothing much else to say. Drivers had a lot healthier respect for each other back then, because you knew you could get hurt if you had an accident. The problem is that drivers today, in all formulas, think they're bullet-proof."
Remember that Michael Schumacher has received a
10-place grid penalty
for his little
with Rubens Barrichello in Hungary last time out when the Brazilian was nearly run into a pit wall.
during the week via text message. "There were two reasons I sent the text. One of the main reasons is that it is his 300th Grand Prix and we have quite a lot of history together so I thought it was appropriate to congratulate him," said Schumacher. "[The second reason was to] clarify the point because he sort of felt that I wanted to push him against the wall and very clearly this was not my ambition. I wanted to race very tightly but without any contact. [I wanted to] clarify that if he felt that this was the case then I was sorry for that."
It really is tight at the top of the championship. Just 20 points separate Webber, Hamilton, Vettel, Button and Alonso and there's just seven races left. BBC F1 pundit Eddie Jordan
loves it. "Apart from the points on the board, everything starts from here. It's a run in for the championship, it's so exciting and finely poised."
This page is all about you so you are cordially invited to get involved via the usual ways. Use
or text on 81111
(UK) or +44 7786200666
(worldwide). Could you please put F1 before your message though, just so I can see your message amongst all the others. Ta.
Darrell in Norwich via text:
"Hi Mark. It's fantastic to have Formula 1 back after the summer break. I fancy Alonso to get pole today, with Vettel second and Webber third."
A quick reminder that telly coverage on BBC One is about to get going. It's also available in the stream at the top of this page. I can see a few umbrellas being unfurled at Spa. The rain has returned.
jazzy_1985 on Twitter:
"Just had a tuna, tomato, red onion and mayo sandwich. Yummy, but not as tasty as your sandwich sounds."Just taken my first bite and I won't lie, it is very good.
There's plenty of other sport taking place around the BBC Sport interweb site today. The lovely Sam Lyon is taking you though today's
(come on Arsenal - sorry, did I say that out loud?) while the peerless Tom Fordyce has all the
from England's clash with Pakistan. Tidy.
1148: BBC F1 analyst David Coulthard
was speaking earlier this morning on the battle for pole position, here's what he said: "Spa is a fast circuit, a medium-downforce track and certainly that would come into the domain of where Ferrari and McLaren are very strong. The Red Bull car is the most aerodynamically efficient car out there but the Renault engine they feel they don't have the horsepower of a Mercedes or a Ferrari. The race weekend is very open. Fernando Alonso realises that this is a 'make-or-break' point in the season for him and Ferrari need to win to stay in the championship."
OK, OK, it was a little bit longer than five minutes - but I think I've got away with it. I'm now armed with a ham, tomato, mayo, mustard and spinach sandwich and I'm ready for what the next two and a bit hours have in store. Bring it on.
If it's OK with you, I'm just going to take a five minute breather. Won't be long, don't go too far.
Disturbing scenes on the telly feed I am getting. I looked up to see David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan getting involved in a bit of Riverdance action. Not sure what to make of it in truth. I just hope I do not have a repeat of that in a dream. Before I forget, have a quick glance at the
report on third practice
which is now up on the site. Fashion news: the F1 white trousers are nowhere to be seen. Come on you lot, who's got them.
Wookieboy via text:
"Fancy Kubica to spring some surprises this weekend. He's been impressive so far and the main threat to the big three."
Rain fans, you'll be very pleased to hear that there is 95% of showers for the start of qualifying. Which should spice things up a little. Now, today sees the return of the very occasional and vaguely popular Orlo's F1 quiz. Can you tell me who was the last manufacturer, apart from Ferrari or McLaren, to win the Belgian GP? You can tell me who drove the car and when they did it as well if you like. I can't offer a prize, although there's some leftover mini-shredded wheat on my desk if you want. And an orange.
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Spa:
"Red Bull's title contender Sebastian Vettel collected third place in Spa last season but that isn't his lasting memory of the Belgian circuit. The 23-year-old explains: 'I had a crash here in the Renault World Series in 2006 and broke my finger. For the first time I was in the medical centre; they brought me in the ambulance to the hospital, the ambulance driver was probably crazier than all of us. I was put into a wheelchair, even though there was nothing wrong with my legs. They gave me this funny dress like an old woman's dress. I don't want to do it again but it was an experience.' Crikey."
BBC F1 analyst Anthony Davidson on Red Bull deciding not to give Vettel a new engine for this race:
Engines are a living, breathing animal and you cannot be sure how they are going to react. You see some engines blow up after just a few miles and others go way beyond their life expectancy. I can't believe that Red Bull would do anything to significantly damage Vettel's chances here."
BBC Sarah Holt on Twitter:
"Lewis Hamilton wants the championship lead back and he is right on Webber's heels in final practice - just 0.117 seconds behind for McLaren."
That's it for practice. It finished Webber (1:46.106), Hamilton (1:46.223), Vettel (1:46.396), Button (1:46.397), Kubica (1:46.492), Alonso (1:46.627), Massa (1:46.962), Sutil (1:47.064), The Hulk (1:47.160) and Kamui Kobayashi (1:47.296). BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz says Vettel went out for a lap to check things and everything was OK.
Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali:
"Unfortunately on Friday you don't score any points. We must be humble because we saw this morning that the Red Bulls and McLaren are so strong. If you make one mistake here, you jump backwards. The development we brought earlier this season didn't bring the improvement we hoped. This weekend we really hope that everything will be smooth, beyond that we don't know."
BBC F1 analyst Anthony Davidson:
"For Mark Webber, this might be his only chance to win the world championship and it showed when he was still sitting in his car in the garage when it rained. He wants pole position, wet or dry."
There's some movement now as some of the drivers investigate the wet track. Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari is the first driver out. His team tell him: "Check the track without pushing too much. Mind the tyres, we do not want to destroy the tyres." BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz
says Red Bull have told him that Vettel had an air box problem and instructed Seb Vettel to shut down the engine as a precaution.
Apparently this shower is set to last for five minutes. As a colleague in the office has just mentioned, Webber's fastest time now looks safe. Michael Schumacher is down in 13th after a 1:47.695 with Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg once place worse off with a best of 1:47.837.
You know what I said about the rain? Well, it's now arrived. And then some. It's absolutely pouring. All the cars are now in the garages.
Oh dear, Sebastian Vettel is going nowhere fast at the entrance to the pit lane. A group of marshals have to push him back to where the Red Bull boys can take over. Not good. BBC F1 analyst Anthony Davidson wonders if it is hydraulics. Ted Kravitz is on the scene to ask team boss Christian Horner what is going on but he does not know yet.
BBC Sport's pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz:
"McLaren have definitely not changed the way they operate the 'F-duct'. It is all with the knee and not with the hand. If you saw Lewis take his hand off the wheel it would be to fiddle with one of the buttons or paddles on the back there. In other news, Lewis is trying an older spec front wing from Silverstone, while Jenson is on the Hungary spec wing."
Webber now quickest after a 1:46.106. The clouds are getting moodier than a sulky teenager at the moment. When will the rain arrive?
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Spa:
"The trusty F1 encyclopaedia that sits on my desk at work describes Spa as 'the greatest challenge, whose reputation as a classic circuit has remained largely unscathed' since it made its debut as a grand prix circuit in 1925. At the entrance to the circuit is a sign offering guided tours bearing the slogan 'Spa - the myth, the legend.' The essence of Spa is the Eau Rouge into Raidillon complex, which sweeps the drivers left and right uphill and over a blind summit. McLaren's Jenson Button, who is contesting his ninth Belgian GP, says: 'It's a drivers' track and the corners at Eau Rouge and Pouhon are a real buzz for us. You always drive round here with a smile on your face but you're always on the edge of throwing the car in the wall.'"
BBC Sport's pit-lane reporter Holly Samos:
"Robert Kubica's side of the Renault garage were very happy yesterday. That 'F-duct' aero device was supposed to be introduced a few weeks ago, but they brought it straight here. But they say the figures they pulled yesterday in a rainy session were almost identical to those they were getting in the factory."
Apparently rain is expected before the end of FP3. Hamilton improves to a 1:46.223, then it is Kubica (1:46.492), Webber (1:46.678), Alonso (1:46.805) and Massa (1:46.962). BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz
has some engine news. "Vettel is the only leading contender who is using an old engine for the rest of this weekend. Everyone else has got a new power engine for this circuit. It's just physics. Engines do lose power the more mileage you do with them. However it does mean that Vettel will have a fresh engine up his sleeve as the championship comes to the business end. Meanwhile Pedro de la Rosa is on his eighth and final new Ferrari engine for the season with another seven races still to go."
Renault's Robert Kubica posts the fastest time of 1:46.492 - is he a cheeky bet for a podium finish this weekend? Hang on, now Hamilton sets a 1:46.315. The Hulk is third after a 1:47.160 with Force India's Adrian Sutil fourth after a 1:47.168.
Ticklemice on Twitter:
"Regarding your dream, remember the old saying: ' Friday's dreams on Saturdays told, are bound to come true no matter how old."
There's a few times on the board now. Lewis Hamilton posts a 1:48.096 with Williams driver Nico Hulkenberg second after a 1:48.481. Schumacher is told by his race engineer that his 'F-duct' aerodynamic device is working well. Which is nice.
mikee_300 on Twitter:
"I think that this will be brilliant race tomorrow! Especially if it rains! It could decide the championship!!"
It's Michael Schumacher who makes the first move out. And the track is obviously dry enough for him to put on a set of slick tyres.
Apparently at the drivers' briefing last night, there was a bit of concern over the slippery white lines at Spa. Here's BBC F1 analyst Anthony Davidson: "You need the white lines because four wheels over them is off the circuit. It's part of the challenge of driving in the wet."
The track looks dry and every driver completes an installation lap. They all are back in the garages now though. It's as quiet as a country road out there.
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Spa:
"McLaren, Red Bull and Ferrari's championship contenders agreed it was difficult to get a true sense of comparative form after Friday's rain-hit running. I bumped into Fernando Alonso huddled up under a huge Ferrari umbrella after he set the fastest time in the second session and he said he was happy with how things have gone so far in Spa but dismissed Friday's times as counting for "nothing at all". He will be focused on capturing his first pole of 2010 when qualifying begins at 1300 BST. On Alonso, our own David Coulthard says: 'He knows this is a make-or-break race weekend for him.'"
Green light and 60 minutes of FP3 is up and running. It's not a quiet start as a host of cars pile out of their garages.
The plan for today is thus: third and final practice begins at 1000 BST with coverage on the Red Button and at the top of this interweb page starting now. Qualifying starts at 1300 BST with coverage on BBC One from 1210 BST. There's also coverage on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra. For the rest of you, well there's me. Sorry about that.
Elsewhere, championship leader Mark Webber, who celebrated his 34th birthday yesterday, was down in 18th but was not too concerned after a chaotic end to second practice with only Alonso able to complete a clean flying lap. "It was a bit of a messy day so I won't be losing sleep over it," said the Australian Red Bull driver. "It was actually a pretty good day for us, we worked through our programme and the car ran well."
Force India on Twitter:
"We'll be running blown diffusers on both cars. Weather forecast says 50% chance of rain so could do anything..."
Anon via text:
"I had a dream about driving in an F1 car and crashing into Alonso. I hope he wins as well!"
Fernando Alonso was pretty happy with yesterday's performance, unsurprisingly, but the Spaniard played down the significance of the timesheets. "The impression you get on Friday does not always get confirmed on Saturday and Sunday, therefore we have to evaluate today's results with a lot of care," he said. "The times count for little, or nothing at all, because when the track changes so quickly times can improve or get worse by two or three seconds depending on when you are out on the circuit."
Now, I have to admit that I had a very odd dream last night. I was talking to McLaren's Jenson Button about the new mortgage I'm getting for a loft extension. He advised me that I shouldn't worry about it and that we should go ahead and get it. So that's OK then. Did you have any F1 dreams last night? Let me know on
or text on 81111
(UK) or +44 7786200666
(worldwide) with FORMULA 1 before your message. If you do not want to make your dreams public, maybe you would just like to keep the chat about qualifying and the race. It's up to you.
Hello to you. Well? Glorious day here in Shepherd's Bush, if the temperature was above 10C it would actually feel like summer. Anyway, it was a difficult day for the drivers in the
first two practice sessions
yesterday, with heavy rain, then a drying track, and a red flag because of children reportedly trying to climb on to a fence creating a pretty bizarre day. At the end of it all, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso came out on top from Force India's Adrian Sutil and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton.
Morning. The sun is out (in London, and in Belgium), the sky is blue (in London, and in Belgium - ish) and we are all set for final practice and qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix (in Belgium, not in London - obviously). Welcome aboard.