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You are here: Motorsport Formula 1 Rosberg beats Verstappen to Spa Pole, Hamilton takes 55 place penalty

Rosberg beats Verstappen to Spa Pole, Hamilton takes 55 place penalty

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Mercedes' German driver Nico Rosberg will start tomorrow's Belgian Grand Prix, the 13th stage of the Formula One World Championship, from pole position after topping qualifying on Saturday. Rosberg's pole today was the 28th of this career, his second at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and sixth of the 2016 season so far.

Rosberg clinched pole position in a time of 1:46.744 seconds. He will be joined on the front row of the grid by Red Bull's Dutchman Max Verstappen, while Ferrari's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen and his German teammate Sebastian Vettel will start from third and fourth place respectively.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) will start fifth ahead of Force India's Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, who were 6th and 7th quickest, respectively.

Meanwhile reigning World Champion and Drivers' Championship points leader Lewis Hamilton made a mockery of the rules by taking a combined 55 place grid penalty for three Power Unit changes. With nowhere near that many cars competing, he will start from the last spot available on the grid.

Hamilton decided to give himself most of the afternoon off by doing a short run in Q1 to ensure he was within the 107% time to ensure he will compete in tomorrow's race and then didn't really bother with the rest of the qualifying session.

The Briton shared after his run, "It was definitely a weird qualifying session for me. There was no point in showing my pace. It was all about race preparation. The key for me is making sure I come out of tomorrow having lost the fewest points possible - and that meant having as many fresh sets of tyres available as possible and making sure the car was set up well. I can't say right now what the plan is - the team will know already what's best and we'll discuss that later. We're not easily the quickest here. We're all going to have massive degradation and looking after the tyres will be a struggle for everyone. It's going to be far from an easy, breezy day but where I can just pick people off. There will be lots of pit stops and who knows what else. I'm going to have to battle my way through the traffic - but I'll give it my best as always and see where I end up."

Meanwhile, Rosberg, enjoying the limelight at the happier end of the the grid, shared, "We had a difficult weekend until Qualifying. Especially, this morning we were thinking that we were off the pace a bit. So I was really happy to grab pole today. The Red Bulls were quickest on the long runs on Friday, so we need to be at our best to beat them. The tyres are a big challenge in the heat here this weekend. The degradation is very high. My disadvantage at the start is that I have a harder tyre with lower grip, so Max should get off the line quicker on the Supersoft. I reckon that, with some luck and a maybe a Safety Car, Lewis can climb up to the top very quickly, so he can't be ruled out either. In any case, I'm pleased with my qualifying and looking forward to tomorrow. It will be an exciting and intense race."

Young Max Verstappen, who will start from the front row of the grid tomorrow, shared, “It’s a great feeling. As soon as I crossed the line in Q3 on my fastest lap, I could see the fans going really wild so I knew it was a good lap. It’s been already an amazing weekend. To see so many fans around the track and feel their support is incredible and I’ve been enjoying the whole week a lot, so to be second on the grid is fantastic. It would have been very difficult to get pole position. The chance is always there if you are that close and in sector two we were very strong, but we were missing some top speed. Tomorrow will be very interesting with the different strategies between us, Mercedes and Ferrari so I think it’ll be a good fight. Hopefully the supersofts will give me a bit more grip in the first few laps and then for sure I will drop off a bit but that’s my strategy. I will probably have to pit a bit earlier but we have to wait and see how the race goes.”