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2016 Belgian Grand Prix : Qualifying

Spa-Francorchamps, August 27, 2016 – With temperatures remaining unusually high for qualifying at the Belgian Grand Prix, Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg claimed pole position, using the P Zero Red supersoft tyres. The most crucial sessions was Q2, with Rosberg, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, and the Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen scored their best session time on the soft tyre – which will mean that they will start the race tomorrow on that compound, which should allow a longer initial stint. With those soft tyres Rosberg already beat the 2015 pole time.

The weather will continue to be a talking point tomorrow: the forecast for tomorrow is for warm temperatures, but some rain could be possible at the race time. High temperatures would affect wear and degradation rates, adding a key thermal element to a circuit where wear and degradation is already quite high. As a result, both two and three stop strategies are anticipated tomorrow, with the rapid supersoft (on which most of the top 10 will start the race) expected only to complete a relatively short opening stint.

 

As qualifying got underway, track temperatures were in excess of 40 degrees centigrade. All the drivers came out on supersoft for Q1, with the exception of Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, who was the only driver to choose soft. His team mate Lewis Hamilton, who has been affected by grid penalties, took a tactical approach to qualifying in order to maximise his opportunities in the race, completing only Q1 to ensure he was within 107% of the pole time.

 

During Q3 all the drivers run supersoft from start to finish. Rosberg took pole with a time of 1m46.744s, ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who claimed his best-ever qualifying result.

 

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “The high track temperatures have increased the wear and degradation rates on a circuit that is already very demanding on tyres. We’re expecting two or three pit stops per car, depending on degradation rates, and we’ve seen the tyre strategy start already with a number of drivers completing Q2 using the soft compound. With some drivers – notably Lewis Hamilton – starting out of position as well, due to grid penalties, we should see an intriguing mix of tactics during the grand prix tomorrow.”

Free practice 3 - top three times

Raikkonen       1m47.974s      Supersoft New

Ricciardo         1m48.189s      Supersoft New

Vettel               1m48.297s      Supersoft New

 

Qualifying top 10

Rosberg          1m46.744s      Supersoft New

Verstappen      1m46.893s      Supersoft New

Raikkonen       1m46.910s      Supersoft New

Vettel               1m47.108s      Supersoft New

Ricciardo         1m47.216s      Supersoft New

Perez               1m47.407s      Supersoft New

Hulkenberg      1m47.543s      Supersoft New

Bottas              1m47.612s      Supersoft New

Button              1m48.114s      Supersoft New

Massa             1m48.263s      Supersoft New

 

Most laps by compound so far

Medium           Rosberg           18 laps

Soft                  Magnussen      21

Soft Proto        Bottas              15

Supersoft         Hulkenberg      13

Supersoft         Vettel               13

 

Best time by compound so far

Medium           Rosberg            1m49.520s

Soft                  Rosberg            1m46.999s

Soft Proto        Rosberg            1m49.481s

Supersoft         Rosberg            1m46.744s

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