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.

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing
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Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.