Button claims first pole since Monaco, 2009 at Spa-Francorchamps

McLaren’s Jenson Button claimed pole at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, his first since Monaco, 2009 in his world championship year at Brawn. Button set three separate lap-times quick enough to take pole position, once in Q2, setting a time of 1:47.654, then set a time of 1:47.686 in Q3, only to go faster later in the session, setting a time of 1:47.573 to take pole by 0.298 seconds from Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi and 0.320 seconds ahead of Williams’ crash-meister Pastor Maldonado.

Before I go into the rest of the top 10 starters; I’m going to talk about the shock qualifying exits, first exitee was Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg who went out in Q1 setting a time 1.188 seconds off the fastest Q1 lap and 0.055 seconds behind 17th placed Lotus’ driver Romain Grosjean. Second shock and biggest shock was current world champion Sebastian Vettel failing to make it into Q3, setting a time 0.012 second outside the cutoff; Maldonado edging the German out, sneaking into the top 10!

Great laps from Sauber’s Kobayashi and Williams’ Maldonado to start from second and third respectively ahead of Lotus’ former champion Kimi Raikkonen in fourth place. The second Sauber of Sergio Perez starts from fifth place, a great qualifying session for the Swiss team with second and fifth place starts. Current championship leader Fernando Alonso qualified in sixth place; looks like another case of damage limitation, but you wouldn’t bet against the Spaniard grabbing a podium!

Red Bull’s Mark Webber qualified in seventh place; but because of a gearbox change will start from 12th place promoting his team mate Vettel into the top 10. Lewis Hamilton, who chose to run the old rear wing will start from seventh after Webber’s grid penalty, Romain Grosjean and Paul di Resta also benefit from Webber’s penalty moving up one place to eighth and ninth respectively.

From a personal point of view, I hope that Jenson’s domination of qualifying will continue into the race; but I fear for him given that he has Kobayashi beside him and crash-prone Maldonado directly behind. A clean start is vital for Button or else he could find himself being T-boned into La Source like in 2010, that time it was Sebastian Vettel misjudging his braking! My dream podium would be Button, Webber, Kobayashi, which is unlikely to happen but there’s no harm in dreaming!

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