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. Friday 1 August 2014

  2. Häkkinen backs Räikkönen to recover 10:58

    Häkkinen backs Räikkönen to recover

    Mika Häkkinen has backed Kimi Räikkönen to recover from his troubled first half of the 2014 season. Since returning to Fe...

    F1
  3. 09:26

    Photos: Vergne gives F1 demo in Assen

    F1
  4. Vergne completes Assen Formula 1 demo 09:25

    Vergne completes Assen Formula 1 demo

    Jean-Éric Vergne completed his planned Formula 1 demo on the streets of Assen on Thursday evening. The Toro Rosso driver...

    F1
  5. Video of the Day: Factory to the race track 05:00

    Video of the Day: Factory to the race track

    UPS, Ferrari's Logistics & Shipping Partner, highlights the journey from the factory to the race track.

    F1
  6. Thursday 31 July 2014

  7. Ferrari announces Marmorini departure 15:27

    Ferrari announces Marmorini departure

    Ferrari has announced that Luca Marmorini, Director of the Engine and Electronics, has left the team. Speculation had...

    F1
  8. 13:00

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  9. Video: F1 2014 announcement trailer 11:14

    Video: F1 2014 announcement trailer

    Codemasters has released a trailer for F1 2014, coming to Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on October 17. 2015 will see the...

    F1
  10. Wolff: Team orders masking reliability issues 09:49

    Wolff: Team orders masking reliability issues

    Toto Wolff reckons the team orders controversy at the Hungarian Grand Prix has masked significant reliability problems at...

    F1
  11. Ecclestone backtracks on Briatore input 07:00

    Ecclestone backtracks on Briatore input

    Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has seemingly backtracked on plans to involve ex-team boss Flavio Briatore in a new...

    F1
  12. Video of the Day: Mercedes duo in new advert 05:00

    Video of the Day: Mercedes duo in new advert

    Mercedes team-mates Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton star in the German brand's latest TV advert.

    F1
  13. Wednesday 30 July 2014

  14. Formula E postpones Malaysian round 17:33

    Formula E postpones Malaysian round

    The Malaysian round of the inaugural Formula E campaign has been postponed by five weeks. The event, to be staged in the...

    Formula E
  15. Ex-Caterham staff hit back at team 14:02

    Ex-Caterham staff hit back at team

    The ex-Caterham staff seeking compensation for unfair dismissal have hit back at a team statement. On Monday, around 40...

    F1
  16. Mallya: Force India can catch Williams 13:22

    Mallya: Force India can catch Williams

    Vijay Mallya is hopeful that Force India will be able to reclaim fourth in the Constructors' Championship from Williams...

    F1
  17. Red Bull increases Repsol Honda backing 12:55

    Red Bull increases Repsol Honda backing

    Energy drink company Red Bull has increased its partnership with Honda's factory MotoGP team. After nine years of...

    MotoGP
  18. Video: No 2014 highlights for Räikkönen 12:19

    Video: No 2014 highlights for Räikkönen

    Kimi Räikkönen delivers a typically dry response when asked for his highlights of the 2014 season so far.

    F1
  19. Ecclestone vows to scrap standing restarts 11:06

    Ecclestone vows to scrap standing restarts

    Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has vowed to remove standing restarts from the 2015 regulations, just over a month after...

    F1
  20. Gutiérrez set to begin Sauber contract talks 10:32

    Gutiérrez set to begin Sauber contract talks

    Esteban Gutiérrez says he plans to open contract extension talks with Sauber in the coming weeks. Gutiérrez, a former GP3...

    F1
  21. Mark Sutton: Story behind the shot - Hungary 09:20

    Mark Sutton: Story behind the shot - Hungary

    Especially for lovers of motorsport photography, GPUpdate.net is this season running a feature series entitled Story behind...

    F1
  22. Video of the Day: Chilton looks to Singapore 05:00

    Video of the Day: Chilton looks to Singapore

    Marussia's Max Chilton put in an appearance at the recent 'Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix Experience' in London's...

    F1
  23. Tuesday 29 July 2014

  24. Caterham takes legal action against ex-staff 17:24

    Caterham takes legal action against ex-staff

    The Caterham F1 team is to take legal action against a number of its former employees laid off earlier this month, it has...

    F1
  25. Tost: Too many deficiencies on reliability front 17:11

    Tost: Too many deficiencies on reliability front

    Franz Tost says Toro Rosso must improve its reliability during the second half of the Formula 1 season. Jean-Éric Vergne...

    F1
  26. We have raised our game, says Renault 16:09

    We have raised our game, says Renault

    Renault believes it has "raised its game" in recent races, but admits there is still a need for improvement. Daniel...

    F1
  27. Ecclestone moves to end German lawsuit early 15:01

    Ecclestone moves to end German lawsuit early

    Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has offered to pay BayernLB £20 million if it drops the bribery case against him, his...

    F1
  28. Red Bull has 'overachieved in many aspects' 14:12

    Red Bull has 'overachieved in many aspects'

    Christian Horner reckons Red Bull has "overachieved in many respects" this season, despite the massive 174-point difference...

    F1
  29. Kubica ready for 'Finnish Grand Prix' outing 12:51

    Kubica ready for 'Finnish Grand Prix' outing

    Former BMW and Renault F1 driver Robert Kubica will tackle Rally Finland this week buoyed by his maiden victory at the wheel...

    WRC
  30. Ferrari dismiss reports Fry has been sacked 11:31

    Ferrari dismiss reports Fry has been sacked

    Ferrari has refuted claims that it has parted company with Engineering Director, Pat Fry. According to Sky Sports, Fry...

    F1
  31. 11:00

    Photos: Hungarian GP in black and white

    F1
  32. Jones: Ricciardo grows horns when it counts 10:41

    Jones: Ricciardo grows horns when it counts

    Former Formula 1 World Champion Alan Jones reckons fellow Australian Daniel Ricciardo has proved that he is capable of...

    F1
  33. Hamilton: I will come back stronger after break 09:49

    Hamilton: I will come back stronger after break

    Lewis Hamilton says he will use Formula 1's summer break to "re-energise" himself and get even "fitter" in a bid to become a...

    F1
  34. Winners and Losers at the Hungarian Grand Prix 08:00

    Winners and Losers at the Hungarian Grand Prix

    The Hungaroring produced a thrilling encounter ahead of the Formula 1 summer break, with Red Bull sensation Daniel Ricciardo...

    F1
  35. Video of the Day: Arsenal vs Force India – Part 1 05:00

    Video of the Day: Arsenal vs Force India – Part 1

    See what happened when Gatorade brought Arsenal and Force India together.

    F1
  36. Monday 28 July 2014

  37. Porsche SA buys Kyalami circuit at auction 15:00

    Porsche SA buys Kyalami circuit at auction

    South Africa's Kyalami circuit, which hosted F1 for almost two decades, has been bought by Porsche. The 72-hectare...

    F1
  38. Post-race penalties hand Marciello point 14:32

    Post-race penalties hand Marciello point

    Racing Engineering driver and Ferrari youngster Raffaele Marciello has moved into the points for the second Hungaroring GP2...

    GP2
  39. Horner lauds 'truly sensational' Ricciardo 13:31

    Horner lauds 'truly sensational' Ricciardo

    Christian Horner has heaped praise on Hungarian Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo for delivering a "truly sensational"...

    F1
  40. Mattiacci: We must not delude ourselves 12:39

    Mattiacci: We must not delude ourselves

    Marco Mattiacci says Ferrari must keep its feet firmly on the ground after claiming a sizeable points haul at the Hungarian...

    F1
  41. Video: Rosberg reflects on Hungarian GP 11:07

    Video: Rosberg reflects on Hungarian GP

    Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg reflects on an eventful Hungarian Grand Prix, which included a costly Safety Car period, a team...

    F1
  42. Villeneuve: Rosberg tried to ruin Hamilton's race 10:47

    Villeneuve: Rosberg tried to ruin Hamilton's race

    Jacques Villeneuve believes that Nico Rosberg tried to "destroy" Lewis Hamilton's Hungarian Grand Prix. Rosberg was...

    F1
  43. Caterham team facing legal action from ex-staff 10:10

    Caterham team facing legal action from ex-staff

    The Caterham F1 team is facing legal action from around 40 former employees, laid off earlier this month. Since Tony...

    F1
  44. Sutil positive despite narrowly missing point 09:32

    Sutil positive despite narrowly missing point

    Adrian Sutil extracted the positives after narrowly missing out on his and Sauber's first point of the season at the...

    F1
  45. Lauda backs Hamilton over team orders 09:02

    Lauda backs Hamilton over team orders

    Mercedes Non-Executive Chairman Niki Lauda says Lewis Hamilton was completely within his rights to ignore instructions to...

    F1
more news