Brake problem hinders Hamilton in Q3, but he is pleased with P2

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Lewis Hamilton has ended his streak of disappointing qualifying results in Belgium today after securing second place on the grid behind his Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg.

The Briton was unable to top his teammate’s time in wet conditions at the end of Q3, but this still marks his first front-row start since the Canadian Grand Prix back in June.

Speaking in the post-session FIA press conference, Hamilton revealed that he had a problem with his front-left brake during the final part of qualifying that did not help his cause.

“I had a glazed front-left brake, so the car was pulling to the left,” he explained. “There was nothing I could do on the outlap to try and get rid of that, so I was struggling under braking.

“I had to make the braking point further back, I was losing massive amounts, particularly at turn one.”

Hamilton was asked whether or not he was disappointed with the result, given that his championship rival starts just ahead of him, but the Briton said that second place may in fact be a better place to start.

“I’m not disappointed today actually,” Hamilton said. “In previous years, P2 is actually the best place to start here, so I’m quite blessed that that is the case.

“I started on pole here last year and Sebastian [Vettel] passed me along the top straight, so I think it gives you the most opportunity.”

Indeed, since the turn of the century, the race has been won just five times from pole position – a hit rate of less than 50%.

For Hamilton though, it was a good result as it brings to an end his luckless form in qualifying. He hit trouble in Q1 in Germany and Hungary, forcing him to start from the back, but he still rallied to finish in the top three. This weekend, he will start from second place and faces less of a fight to make up the deficit to Rosberg in the championship.

“I’m just happy to be up here,” Hamilton said. “I was going into qualifying not knowing if the car was going to make it through it, and I’m grateful for all of the hard work that the team put in to make sure that we had no problems.

“It’s a great feeling to be back up here.”

You can watch the Belgian Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7.30am ET tomorrow.

Rebellion confirms LMP1 return, all-star line-up for WEC super season

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Rebellion Racing has confirmed it will return to the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018/19 ‘super season’ with an all-star line-up featuring Le Mans winners Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Rebellion raced in LMP1 as a privateer between 2009 and 2016 before stepping down to LMP2 for the most recent season, capturing the class titles at the first attempt.

Following a push from the WEC and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to make LMP1 more appealing to privateer teams, Rebellion announced on Wednesday it would return to the premier class for the 2018/19 season with a two-car effort.

WEC LMP2 champion Bruno Senna will return with Rebellion next year, as will Mathias Beche, with the pair set to be joined by four new faces.

The most notable arrivals are Porsche factory drivers Lotterer and Jani, both of whom were left without an LMP1 drive following the closure of the German manufacturer’s program at the end of the season.

American racer Gustavo Menezes will also join Rebellion, stepping up after two years in LMP2, while outstanding 2017 rookie Thomas Laurent completes the Swiss team’s line-up.

“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started nine years ago,” said Jani.

“Rebellion Racing played a huge role in my career and also helped me become a factory driver for Porsche. When Porsche stopped in LMP1, it was clear for me that I wanted to race again for Rebellion.

“With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and with a bit of luck, maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of WEC.”

“I am very happy to join the champion Rebellion team,” added three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer.

“The LMP1 project is very exciting and to be able to go on with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC challenge is something I did not want to miss.

“I am motivated and looking forward to have a great time with great people there.”