Button clinches first McLaren pole in Belgium

Button clinches first McLaren pole in Belgium

1 September 2012 – Jenson Button has sealed his maiden pole position for McLaren ahead of Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix. The Englishman will share the front row with Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi, with Pastor Maldonado and Kimi Räikkönen third and fourth. Championship leader Fernando Alonso starts sixth, with Red Bull tenth and twelfth.

Qualifying at Spa-Francorchamps always did promise to thrown up an unusual order, as the teams had experienced only a single hour of dry practice time this morning. Both of Friday’s sessions were washout out, meaning four hours of car setup time was condensed to one.

After the monsoon of Friday, the weather stayed bright

The biggest scalp from Q1 was Nico Rosberg, who already had a mountain to climb before mistiming his final run and crossing the start line nine seconds too late. The German, who also takes a five-place penalty for a gearbox change, starts on the back row. Team-mate Michael Schumacher was consistently losing over one second per lap in the middle sector, highlighting the fact that the current Mercedes is not a competitive front-running car.

Not only were Schumacher and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa eliminated in Q2, but Red Bull’s struggles were obvious as 2011 pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel was dramatically knocked out. As Mark Webber has a penalty and slides back to 12th place, the reigning Champion starts tenth and faces a tough Sunday afternoon of damage limitation.

In practice, one of the burning questions had been whether McLaren was sandbagging or struggling. Clearly, the former was the answer as Button repeated his superb Q2 pace by registering a Q3 lap time of 1:47.573. This is a massive seven tenths of a second quicker than Kimi Räikkönen, a favourite for victory with many whose chances have now been lowered by Lotus not being able to run ‘Double DRS’.

More headlines were suddenly made as Kobayashi became only the second Japanese driver to qualify on the front row of a Formula 1 race, with Sergio Pérez fifth to confirm that Sauber are the best overall qualifiers this weekend. With Maldonado third in the highly regarded Williams, Alonso was left to pick up the pieces in sixth; despite this comparatively lowly placing, the Spaniard is still ahead of most championship rivals, including Lewis Hamilton who will start seventh following a lap which included a small error at La Source.

Button’s eighth F1 pole position is not only his first for McLaren, but his first since Monte Carlo 2009 for Brawn, thus ending a 60-race draught. With his previous grid best at Spa having been third for Williams in his debut season of 2000, today’s result also confirms his first front row start since the Malaysian Grand Prix at the end of March.


Sunday’s 2012 Belgian Grand Prix begins at 2pm local time (BST +1) and can also be tracked though the interactive GPUpdate.net Live Report

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Sunday 21 September 2014

  2. Alonso rues timing of Safety Car deployment 18:54

    Alonso rues timing of Safety Car deployment

    Fernando Alonso was left to rue the timing of the Safety Car as he raced to fourth position in the Singapore Grand...

    F1
  3. Bottas links late slump to power steering 17:53

    Bottas links late slump to power steering

    Valtteri Bottas says an issue with his power steering system contributed to his tumble down the order in the Singapore Grand...

    F1
  4. 17:45

    Latest F1 photos: Sunday in Singapore

    F1
  5. Force India reclaims fifth from McLaren 17:31

    Force India reclaims fifth from McLaren

    Force India boss Vijay Mallya was suitably elated after his team moved ahead of McLaren in the battle for fifth in the...

    F1
  6. Magnussen treated for burns after scoring point 17:05

    Magnussen treated for burns after scoring point

    Kevin Magnussen was treated for burns by doctors after the McLaren driver battled to 10th place at the Singapore Grand...

    F1
  7. Vergne fights back to earn best result of season 17:05

    Vergne fights back to earn best result of season

    Outgoing Toro Rosso driver Jean-Éric Vergne recorded his best finish in over a year as he battled to sixth in the Singapore...

    F1
  8. Vettel questions timing of Hamilton move 16:35

    Vettel questions timing of Hamilton move

    Sebastian Vettel reckons Lewis Hamilton took more risks than he needed to when passing him during Sunday's Singapore Grand...

    F1
  9. Hamilton hails 'clean' Singapore weekend 16:13

    Hamilton hails 'clean' Singapore weekend

    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was pleased after a "clean" Singapore Grand Prix weekend culminated in him taking a vital...

    F1
  10. Rosberg urges Mercedes to improve reliability 15:51

    Rosberg urges Mercedes to improve reliability

    Nico Rosberg has urged Mercedes to improve its reliability after his costly retirement from Sunday night's Singapore Grand...

    F1
  11. 15:27

    In full: Singapore Grand Prix race result

    F1
  12. Hamilton takes title lead with Singapore win 15:10

    Hamilton takes title lead with Singapore win

    Lewis Hamilton moved into the lead of the championship with a commanding victory in Sunday night's Singapore Grand Prix,...

    F1
  13. 12:35

    Follow the 2014 Singapore Grand Prix live!

    F1
  14. Video: Hill, Herbert become mechanics 10:44

    Video: Hill, Herbert become mechanics

    Watch as Damon Hill and Johnny Herbert become Marussia mechanics for a practice session in Singapore.

    F1
  15. 10:42

    Photos: Historic F1 race in Singapore

    F1
  16. Hamilton: Rosberg relations 'back to normal' 10:41

    Hamilton: Rosberg relations 'back to normal'

    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton says that his relationship with team-mate Nico Rosberg is 'back to normal' following the...

    F1
  17. Grosjean hits out at Renault problems 07:02

    Grosjean hits out at Renault problems

    Romain Grosjean has hit out at continual Renault problems, which he says are having a negative impact on the morale of his...

    F1
  18. 06:32

    Photos: Special helmets for Singapore

    F1
  19. Video of the Day: Formula 1's Safety Car 05:03

    Video of the Day: Formula 1's Safety Car

    There has never been a Singapore Grand Prix without the appearance of Formula 1's Safety Car. Ahead of the night race,...

    F1
  20. Pérez sure of Force India race recovery 01:04

    Pérez sure of Force India race recovery

    Force India driver Sergio Pérez says he is sure that he can recover from a lowly grid spot and notch up a top 10 finish in...

    F1
  21. 00:35

    Starting grid for the Singapore Grand Prix

    F1
  22. Saturday 20 September 2014

  23. Massa encouraged by Williams improvements 18:32

    Massa encouraged by Williams improvements

    Felipe Massa says he is encouraged by the progress which Williams has made since Friday's practice sessions after qualifying...

    F1
  24. 17:25

    Latest F1 photos: Saturday in Singapore

    F1
  25. Magnussen seeks help from Safety Car 17:24

    Magnussen seeks help from Safety Car

    Kevin Magnussen says he is hoping to see the Safety Car called into action during Sunday evening's Singapore Grand...

    F1
  26. Alonso hopeful of fighting for victory 17:09

    Alonso hopeful of fighting for victory

    Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso is hopeful that he will be able to challenge for victory during Sunday's Singapore Grand...

    F1
  27. Vettel reckons pole position was possible 16:42

    Vettel reckons pole position was possible

    Sebastian Vettel feels he could have had a shot at claiming pole position in Singapore with a cleaner final qualifying...

    F1
  28. Rosberg ruing late change of brakes 16:16

    Rosberg ruing late change of brakes

    Nico Rosberg was left to rue a change of brakes after Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton beat him to pole position in...

    F1
  29. Hamilton pleased to recover from early error 15:57

    Hamilton pleased to recover from early error

    Lewis Hamilton says he was pleased with his recovery after an early error threatened to ruin his final qualifying attempt in...

    F1
  30. 15:08

    Singapore GP: Qualifying results in full

    F1
  31. Hamilton pips Rosberg to Singapore pole 15:07

    Hamilton pips Rosberg to Singapore pole

    Lewis Hamilton beat Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to pole position during a tight qualifying session in Singapore, with...

    F1
  32. 13:52

    Follow qualifying for the Singapore GP!

    F1
  33. 12:16

    Singapore GP: Full Free Practice 3 results

    F1
  34. Alonso back on top in final Singapore practice 12:03

    Alonso back on top in final Singapore practice

    Fernando Alonso returned to the head of the field during final practice for the Singapore Grand Prix, putting his Ferrari...

    F1
  35. 10:55

    Follow final practice for the Singapore GP!

    F1
  36. Full radio ban delayed to ensure 'fairness' 10:31

    Full radio ban delayed to ensure 'fairness'

    The FIA backtracked on its plans to introduce a full radio clampdown in Singapore to ensure "fairness". After announcing...

    F1
  37. Video: Maldonado crashes out of practice 09:56

    Video: Maldonado crashes out of practice

    Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado suffered this heavy crash during Friday evening's second practice session in Singapore. The...

    F1
  38. Maldonado gets new chassis after crash 09:49

    Maldonado gets new chassis after crash

    Pastor Maldonado has been forced to switch to a new chassis for the remainder of the Singapore Grand Prix weekend, after...

    F1
  39. 07:06

    Photos: Historic F1 action in Singapore

    F1
  40. Ravetto: Caterham already working on 2015 06:01

    Ravetto: Caterham already working on 2015

    Newly-appointed Caterham Team Principal Manfredi Ravetto insists that there are long-term plans in place at the outfit,...

    F1
  41. Video of the Day: Wind tunnel guide - Part 8 05:00

    Video of the Day: Wind tunnel guide - Part 8

    Sauber's Head of Aerodynamics, Willem Toet, concludes his talk on the science of F1 wind tunnel design.

    F1
  42. Friday 19 September 2014

  43. Ferrari reasonably competitive, says Alonso 19:49

    Ferrari reasonably competitive, says Alonso

    Fernando Alonso reckons that Ferrari put in a "reasonably competitive" performance during Friday's free practice sessions...

    F1
more news