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. Monday 16 January 2017

  2. 17:02

    New: Follow GPUpdate on Instagram!

    F1
  3. Haas' 2017 challenger passes crash tests 16:27

    Haas' 2017 challenger passes crash tests

    Haas' new Formula 1 challenger has passed the FIA's mandatory crash tests. Formula 1 will enter a new era of technical…

    F1
  4. Video: Bottas addresses Mercedes staff 16:12

    Video: Bottas addresses Mercedes staff

    Watch as Valtteri Bottas addresses Mercedes staff after joining the team for the 2017 campaign.

    F1
  5. Rosberg becomes Mercedes ambassador 15:57

    Rosberg becomes Mercedes ambassador

    World Champion Nico Rosberg has accepted an ambassadorial role with Mercedes, following his retirement from Formula 1, the team…

    F1
  6. Wolff: Bottas a 'great fit' for Mercedes 15:45

    Wolff: Bottas a 'great fit' for Mercedes

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has described Valtteri Bottas as a "great fit" for the team, after confirmation that he will replace…

    F1
  7. 15:12

    Confirmed driver line-ups for 2017 season

    F1
  8. Mercedes officially confirms Bottas deal 15:05

    Mercedes officially confirms Bottas deal

    Mercedes has formally announced that Valtteri Bottas will replace the retired Nico Rosberg and partner Lewis Hamilton for the…

    F1
  9. Massa re-joins Williams on one-year deal 14:38

    Massa re-joins Williams on one-year deal

    Williams has announced that Felipe Massa has agreed to re-join the team on a one-year deal for the 2017 season, to race…

    F1
  10. McLaren to launch car on February 24 12:16

    McLaren to launch car on February 24

    McLaren has announced that it will launch its 2017 challenger on February 24. McLaren will present its latest Honda-powered…

    F1
  11. Wehrlein completes Sauber's line-up 12:11

    Wehrlein completes Sauber's line-up

    Sauber has announced that Mercedes junior Pascal Wehrlein will represent the team in the 2017 Formula 1 season, alongside Marcus…

    F1
  12. Video: IndyCar drivers in 'breakout room' 12:02

    Video: IndyCar drivers in 'breakout room'

    Find out how Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Alexander Rossi fare when locked in a 'breakout room'.

    Indy
  13. Repsol Honda to launch on February 3 10:24

    Repsol Honda to launch on February 3

    Repsol Honda will conduct its 2017 presentation in Jakarta, Indonesia on February 3. Repsol Honda collected four successive…

    MotoGP
  14. Rookie Stroll not creating 'false expectations' 09:32

    Rookie Stroll not creating 'false expectations'

    Williams rookie Lance Stroll says he is not setting himself any targets during his rookie campaign in a bid to avoid creating…

    F1
  15. Video of the Day: DS Virgin car rebuild 05:24

    Video of the Day: DS Virgin car rebuild

    DS Virgin Racing looks at how it repaired Sam Bird's car following a practice crash at the Marrakesh ePrix.

    FE
  16. Sunday 15 January 2017

  17. Williams sure Massa will still be motivated 14:54

    Williams sure Massa will still be motivated

    Williams Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams is sure that Felipe Massa would still be motivated to compete in Formula 1…

    F1
  18. Bautista: Fighting in top five 'realistic' 13:28

    Bautista: Fighting in top five 'realistic'

    MotoGP rider Álvaro Bautista has set himself a "difficult but realistic" objective of fighting in the top five when he returns…

    MotoGP
  19. Video: Yamaha teases 2017 M1 launch 12:24

    Video: Yamaha teases 2017 M1 launch

    Yamaha gears up for its 2017 launch with this teaser video, featuring Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales.

    MotoGP
  20. Newey: 2017 regulation changes 'a mixed bag' 11:19

    Newey: 2017 regulation changes 'a mixed bag'

    Red Bull Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey has described the 2017 Formula 1 regulation changes as a "mixed bag" and is wary…

    F1
  21. Yamaha set for 2017 launch on January 19 10:23

    Yamaha set for 2017 launch on January 19

    Yamaha will conduct its 2017 team presentation in the Spanish capital, Madrid, on January 19 (Thursday), where it will unveil…

    MotoGP
  22. 08:55

    Photos: TRS at Mike Pero Motorsport Park

    Toyota
  23. Verschoor takes early TRS title advantage 08:54

    Verschoor takes early TRS title advantage

    Red Bull protégé Richard Verschoor carved out an early points lead in the Toyota Racing Series after the opening round of the…

    Toyota
  24. Video of the Day: IndyCar's 'breakout room' 05:00

    Video of the Day: IndyCar's 'breakout room'

    How do IndyCar drivers Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Alexander Rossi fare when locked inside a 'breakout room', with only 60…

    Indy
  25. Saturday 14 January 2017

  26. Moss recovering from 'serious chest infection' 18:22

    Moss recovering from 'serious chest infection'

    Sir Stirling Moss is in a stable condition in a Singaporean hospital after suffering from a serious chest infection in the…

    F1
  27. Stroll braced for 'challenging' test schedule 15:16

    Stroll braced for 'challenging' test schedule

    Williams rookie Lance Stroll says he is braced for a "challenging" pre-season testing period as he builds up to his Formula 1…

    F1
  28. MotoGP round 'very important' for Silverstone 12:24

    MotoGP round 'very important' for Silverstone

    Holding a round of the MotoGP championship is "very important" for Silverstone, according to BRDC President Derek Warwick, who…

    MotoGP
  29. Agag sees Gutiérrez as 2017/18 FE contender 09:16

    Agag sees Gutiérrez as 2017/18 FE contender

    Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag believes Esteban Gutiérrez has the ability to fight for the 2017/18 title, with the Mexican poised…

    FE
  30. Video of the Day: Nico Prost quickfire Q&A 05:00

    Video of the Day: Nico Prost quickfire Q&A

    Watch as Renault e.dams racer Nico Prost, son of F1 champion Alain, answers a series of quickfire questions.

    FE
  31. Friday 13 January 2017

  32. Norris: McLaren prize will aid F1 goal 16:03

    Norris: McLaren prize will aid F1 goal

    Rising British star Lando Norris says that his McLaren BRDC Autosport award win will help his progress this year in his quest to…

    F3
  33. Ducati to present 2017 bike on January 20 14:42

    Ducati to present 2017 bike on January 20

    Ducati will present its 2017 MotoGP bike during an official launch on January 20. The Italian team has made gains across the…

    MotoGP
  34. Warwick eyes 'compromise' over British GP 13:46

    Warwick eyes 'compromise' over British GP

    British Racing Drivers' Club President Derek Warwick is hopeful that Silverstone can find a "compromise" over the future of the…

    F1
  35. 13:42

    Overview: 2017 GP3 Series driver line-up

    GP3
  36. Falchero to make GP3 debut with Campos 13:41

    Falchero to make GP3 debut with Campos

    Campos has confirmed French youngster Julien Falchero as its first driver for the 2017 GP3 championship. Falchero, 19, moves…

    GP3
  37. Video: The future of electric vehicles 12:02

    Video: The future of electric vehicles

    Formula E considers the future of electric vehicles as it remains at the cutting edge of development.

    FE
  38. Toro Rosso's new car passes crash tests 10:51

    Toro Rosso's new car passes crash tests

    Toro Rosso is the second team to confirm that its new car has passed the FIA's crash tests. Formula 1 will enter a new era of…

    F1
  39. Brundle reveals Monaco GP heart attack 10:46

    Brundle reveals Monaco GP heart attack

    Ex-Formula 1 driver turned commentator Martin Brundle has revealed that he suffered a minor heart attack during Sky Sports…

    F1
  40. Hembery expects more one-stop races 09:06

    Hembery expects more one-stop races

    Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hembery says he is expecting "a lot more" one-stop races throughout the 2017 season, as a result of…

    F1
  41. Video of the Day: IndyCar tech inspection 05:28

    Video of the Day: IndyCar tech inspection

    IndyCar guru Jon Beekhuis explains how the technical inspection process has developed over the years.

    Indy
  42. Thursday 12 January 2017

  43. IndyCar extends Dallara deal through 2020 15:16

    IndyCar extends Dallara deal through 2020

    IndyCar has extended its deal with chassis manufacturer Dallara through 2020. Italian company Dallara began its IndyCar…

    Indy
  44. McLaren to launch car 'right before' testing 15:06

    McLaren to launch car 'right before' testing

    McLaren has yet to settle on a launch date for its 2017 car but will likely present it "right before" pre-season testing begins…

    F1
  45. Palmer's MSV acquires Donington Park 12:12

    Palmer's MSV acquires Donington Park

    Jonathan Palmer's MotorSport Vision (MSV) has added Donington Park to its UK portfolio. MSV announced on Thursday that it had…

    Misc
more news