Ros­berg edges ahead to take pole

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE -

Spa- Fran­cor­champs: Nico Ros­berg bounced back and took full ad­van­tage of his Mercedes team­mate Lewis Hamil­ton’s mul­ti­ple penal­ties to grab pole po­si­tion on Satur­day for Sun­day’s Bel­gian Grand Prix.

The 31- year- old Ger­man, who is 19 points be­hind three- time cham­pion Hamil­ton in the ti­tle race, re­cov­ered from a medi­ocre show­ing in prac­tice to pro­duce a well- judged per­for­mance in a tightly- con­tested qual­i­fy­ing session.

“We’ve had a pretty dif­fi­cult week­end up to now, es­pe­cially this morn­ing, so I am happy we have got the job done,” said Ros­berg. “Hav­ing made some changes to the car be­fore qual­i­fy­ing, I am very pleased.

“I am very happy to be on pole, but the tyres are go­ing to be dif­fi­cult and there is go­ing to be a lot go­ing on in this race. It will not be easy.”

Tak­ing full ad­van­tage of Hamil­ton’s grid penal­ties, that reached 55 af­ter his third power- unit change on Satur­day morn­ing and con­signed him to the back of the grid, Ros­berg was back to some­thing like his best.

It was Ros­berg’s fifth pole this sea­son and the 28th of his ca­reer -- and gives him a great chance to re­duce, or even over­haul, Hamil­ton’s 19- point lead in the driv­ers’ ti­tle race.

Dutch teenager and lo­cal hero Max Ver­stap­pen was sec­ond to be­come the youngest front- row starter in For­mula One his­tory, qual­i­fy­ing ahead of Finn Kimi Raikko­nen of Fer­rari in front of his army of fans in the sprawl­ing and spec­tac­u­lar Ar­dennes cir­cuit.

“You can al­ways do a bet­ter job, but Nico could have done a bet­ter lap too,” said Ver­stap­pen.

“To be so close to Nico on a track with long straights — we can be very pleased with that. I’m very pleased to be sec­ond in front of my fans. It’s such a great mo­ti­va­tion.”

Raikko­nen said: “It went pretty well on the sec­ond run, but I lost two- tenths in the last chi­cane.”

— PTI — AFP — AFP — AFP — AFP — PTI Getty Im­ages/ Reuters

Mercedes’ Nico Ros­berg cel­e­brates af­ter win­ning the pole on Satur­day Saketh My­neni did not drop a set in the three qual­i­fy­ing rounds

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