Nico Rosberg’s streak of pole positions extended to four in Belgium yesterday after he saw off Mercedes teammate and championship rival Lewis Hamilton in the final part of qualifying at Spa-Francorchamps.
The German driver secured his seventh pole position of the season by two-tenths of a second after taming the wet conditions in his W05 Hybrid, but with Hamilton securing his first front-row start since the Canadian Grand Prix in June, the stage is set for an epic fight at the front of the field today.
Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso both managed to capitalize on the wet conditions to qualify on the second row, whilst Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas line up in fifth and sixth place on the grid.
The session did see the likes of Jules Bianchi and Kevin Magnussen shine, with both youngsters securing a good grid slot for today’s race. P16 may not seem like much, but for Bianchi and Marussia, it is a very big deal indeed.
Although the forecast for today’s race is dry, rain could yet interrupt proceedings given Spa’s microclimatic nature.
You can watch the Belgian Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7.30am ET today.
FROM THE STEWARDS’ OFFICE
It has been a quiet weekend for the stewards in Belgium, with only two minor bits of news:
- Daniel Ricciardo was fined €1,000 for speeding in the pit lane during qualifying.
- Pastor Maldonado, Fernando Alonso and Daniil Kvyat were randomly selected for anti-doping tests as part of the FIA’s regular procedure.
STARTING GRID FOR THE 2014 BELGIAN GRAND PRIX
1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull
4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari
5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
6. Valtteri Bottas Williams
7. Kevin Magnussen McLaren
8. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
9. Felipe Massa Williams
10. Jenson Button McLaren
11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso
12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso
13. Sergio Perez Force India
14. Adrian Sutil Sauber
15. Romain Grosjean Lotus
16. Jules Bianchi Marussia
17. Pastor Maldonado Lotus
18. Nico Hulkenberg Force India
19. Max Chilton Marussia
20. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber
21. Andre Lotterer Caterham
22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel are the two most decorated drivers currently on the Formula 1 grid, with seven World Championships between them (four for Vettel, and three for Hamilton).
However, their paths have rarely crossed on the track, and only in 2010 did both drivers battle each for a World Championship in the same year. They also battled Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber that year, with Vettel emerging on top to claim his first World Championship.
However, the 2017 season sees Hamilton and Vettel in the two best cars on the grid, and they have gone head-to-head multiple times already this year, with each claiming two victories through the first five races. Currently, Vettel leads Hamilton 104-98 in the world championship, and the two men are developing a strong on-track rivalry.
Monaco Grand Prix coverage continues with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday. Full times are linked here.
In Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, we take you behind the scenes during F1 superstar Fernando Alonso’s qualifying runs for the Indy 500, including when he was on the pole for a brief period. He’ll eventually start fifth.
On Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, Parker Kligerman and his backseat driver, Kyle Petty, took to the iRacing simulator to make a mock run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
They look at the challenges of IMS, as well as the challenges two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will face in the first oval track race in his illustrious career. Alonso is among the favorites in the race and will take the green flag from the middle of Row 2 (fifth position).
Check out the above video.
Sunday is the biggest day of the year in motorsports, starting in the morning with Formula 1’s legendary Monaco Grand Prix.
Then, at Noon ET, it’s the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The final part of the tripleheader of racing is NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the 400-lap, 600-mile Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Newly-named NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 inductee Ken Squier gives you a great primer for what promises to be a memorable day around the world (see video above).