Rosberg edges ahead to take pole
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.”
Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg celebrates after winning the pole on Saturday Saketh Myneni did not drop a set in the three qualifying rounds