Nico Rosberg wins pole at Belgian Grand Prix

Mercedes Formula 1 driver Nico Rosberg of Germany drives during the qualifying session at the...

Mercedes Formula 1 driver Nico Rosberg of Germany drives during the qualifying session at the Belgian F-1 Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps yesterday. (Reuters)

DEAN MCNULTY, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 2:42 PM ET

Nico Rosberg is making a home for himself at the front of the Formula 1 grid.

For the fourth consecutive grand prix Rosberg claimed the pole for Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps in his Mercedes.

This time the 29-year-old German did it the rain as the track was wet for all three qualifying sessions.

On his first attempt in the final session Rosberg laid down a lap of 2:05.591 to beat his Mercedes teammate and championship rival Lewis Hamilton to the pole position.

Hamilton’s lap was 2:05.819 a full two tenths behind Rosberg.

Four-time F-1 champion Sebastian Vettel will start third for Red Bull after a lap of 2:07.717.

“It’s fantastic to start from pole here at Spa,” Rosberg said. “It’s never easy here in these conditions, which make the track even more challenging.”

He said that it was his Mercedes engineers who came up with a set up that worked on the slippery track.

“My engineers helped me to find the right setup with all the opportunities to change something during a session,” Rosberg said. “The car went better and better at the end, so I’m very happy and also a bit surprised that the gap was so big to the other teams.

“Having said that, I hope to have a good start and a clear race tomorrow because, like we have seen in Budapest, Sunday is the day that counts. But I’m quite confident as we have a fantastic car.”

Ten things To Watch For At The Belgium GP And The IndyCar GP of Sonoma

1: ROAD RAGE - Sonoma’s 4.06-km, 12-turn natural road course is very technical with very few places to pass. Watch as some drivers to attempt a pass where it is sure to cause a crash.

2: RAIN A PAIN - Rain and a wet track combined to make qualifying at Spa Francorchamps an adventure on Saturday and if it doesn’t clear up by Sunday it will make the race slow and slippery.

3: FERRARI FOLLIES - Things haven’t been going well for the Prancing Pony team in Formula 1 this season. Neither Fernando Alonso nor Kimi Raikkonen has a win this season and the team has only two podium finishes.

4: TEAM ORDERS 1 - Will Power leads Penske Teammate Helio Castroneves by 39 points with two races left in the IndyCar season. Team owner Roger Penske will let the pair fight it out and my the best man win.

5: TEAM ORDERS 2 - In the Formula 1 world championship race Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg leads teammate Lewis Hamilton by a mere 11 markers. Mercedes bosses will not let them battle on the track preferring to make the decisions on the pit box.

6: SPEED DEMONS - The 7.004-km, 20-turn Circuit de Spa Francorchamps is the longest in Formula 1 with some very long straight sections which will see the fastest times of the season. It will also tax the engines.

7: CANADIAN CONTENT - Oakville’s James Hinchcliffe needs to rebound from a terrible weekend in Milwaukee to end the season on a high. He has a pair of top-10 results at Sonoma in three starts.

8: FRONT RUNNER - Nico Rosberg will start from the pole for Mercedes with teammate Lewis Hamilton beside him. The race could be decided by who wins the first lap on the Belgium road course.

9: TIRE TROUBLE - If the track is wet the Belgium Grand Prix winner will be the team that figures out first which type of tire to use. Staying out too long on wet tires can kill a win while coming in too soon could do the same.

10 HOT LAPS - Forecasters are saying the weather in Sonoma for the IndyCar race will be hot — above 30C — and humid at the Northern California track. Drivers will be taking plenty of fluids to beat the heat.

 

DEAN’S PICKS

Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton will start second at the Belgian Grand Prix at historic Spa Francorchamps just inches behind his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg.

Hamilton almost prefers coming from back in the grid.

He started second in Bahrain and sixth at Silverstone and with Rosberg on the pole and in both races Hamilton ended up on the top step of the podium.

IndyCar Grand Prix of Sonoma

Will Power has won two of the past three Verizon IndyCar races at Sonoma Raceway in the No. 12 Penske Racing Chevrolet.

He is in a tight race with teammate Helio Castroneves for the IndyCar championship and a win at the Napa Valley road course would go a long way to earning him his first series title.

BLIND SPOT

It has not been a great comeback season for Ryan Briscoe, who’s best finish in his second go around with Chip Ganassi Racing was fourth at Pocono.

But Briscoe has six podium finishes, including a win in 2012 at Sonoma, proving he knows the way to Victory lane at the California road course. And he was fast in the first practice on Saturday in the No. 8 Ganassi Chevrolet.​

 


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