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. Saturday 1 August 2015

  2. Video: Verstappen onboard at Assen 20:14

    Video: Verstappen onboard at Assen

    Watch as Max Verstappen tackles the TT Circuit Asssen in Formula 1 machinery for the first time.

    F1
  3. Bradl joins Aprilia for remainder of 2015 14:54

    Bradl joins Aprilia for remainder of 2015

    German rider Stefan Bradl has joined Aprilia for the remainder of the 2015 MotoGP season, just a day after he split from Forward…

    MotoGP
  4. 13:48

    Photos: Verstappen demos F1 car at Assen

    F1
  5. Feature: GPUpdate's ultimate calendar 09:22

    Feature: GPUpdate's ultimate calendar

    The absence of the German Grand Prix, originally due to be held at Hockenheim earlier in July, raised debate at the GPUpdate…

    F1
  6. Video of the Day: Button's golden boots 05:06

    Video of the Day: Button's golden boots

    Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso wore special golden boots at the recent Hungarian Grand Prix to celebrate the 10-year…

    F1
  7. Friday 31 July 2015

  8. 16:07

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  9. Forward Racing, Bradl agree to split 14:53

    Forward Racing, Bradl agree to split

    Forward Racing and Stefan Bradl have agreed to part ways, the team announced on Friday. Bradl's exit follows the arrest of…

    MotoGP
  10. Gutiérrez to demo Ferrari F1 car in Mexico 12:36

    Gutiérrez to demo Ferrari F1 car in Mexico

    Esteban Gutiérrez returns to his home nation of Mexico for a Formula 1 demo this weekend. Gutiérrez, Ferrari's reserve…

    F1
  11. Elías to replace injured Abraham at Indy 10:46

    Elías to replace injured Abraham at Indy

    MotoGP race winner Toni Elías will return to the championship at next weekend's Indianapolis Grand Prix, replacing the injured…

    MotoGP
  12. Tost wants token system overhaul 10:02

    Tost wants token system overhaul

    Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost has backed a full review of Formula 1's current engine development token system, describing the…

    F1
  13. Ericsson rues 'missed opportunities' 09:28

    Ericsson rues 'missed opportunities'

    Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson says that he ends the opening half of his first season with the Swiss team regretting a series of…

    F1
  14. Alonso tempted by other categories 07:54

    Alonso tempted by other categories

    McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso has admitted that he is tempted by a switch to other categories in the future, claiming…

    F1
  15. Video of the Day: Fittipaldi on young drivers 05:21

    Video of the Day: Fittipaldi on young drivers

    Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi talks about developing today's young drivers.

    F1
  16. Thursday 30 July 2015

  17. Walker quits as IndyCar competition chief 20:14

    Walker quits as IndyCar competition chief

    Derrick Walker has resigned as IndyCar President of Competition and Operations, with a search for his replacement under way, the…

    Indy
  18. Wolff: Mercedes will overcome poor starts 14:34

    Wolff: Mercedes will overcome poor starts

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is confident that the outfit will get to the bottom of its recent start struggles after successive poor…

    F1
  19. Video: IndyCar drivers preview Mid-Ohio 13:26

    Video: IndyCar drivers preview Mid-Ohio

    Various IndyCar drivers look ahead to this weekend's round at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

    Indy
  20. Häkkinen: Vettel a danger to Mercedes 12:43

    Häkkinen: Vettel a danger to Mercedes

    Mika Häkkinen says Sebastian Vettel now represents "a danger" to Mercedes after the Ferrari driver stormed to his second…

    F1
  21. Hockenheim tickets set to go on sale 10:58

    Hockenheim tickets set to go on sale

    Advanced ticket sales for next year's German Grand Prix will begin later this week, with a series of discount packages on offer…

    F1
  22. Bahrain added to GP2/GP3 calendar 10:05

    Bahrain added to GP2/GP3 calendar

    GP2 and GP3 organisers have confirmed that Bahrain has been added to the 2015 calendar. Organisers had been working towards a…

    GP2
  23. Sauber bullish over car, engine updates 09:14

    Sauber bullish over car, engine updates

    Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn hopes the outfit will enjoy a post-summer break resurgence, with chassis updates and engine…

    F1
  24. Arrivabene: Räikkönen decision 'can wait' 08:34

    Arrivabene: Räikkönen decision 'can wait'

    Ferrari has suggested that no decision will be made over Kimi Räikkönen's future at the outfit until after the summer break…

    F1
  25. Video of the Day: Sound of painting an F1 car 05:27

    Video of the Day: Sound of painting an F1 car

    In the first of a video series by Mercedes partner BOSE, discover the sound of the perfect coat of paint.

    F1
  26. Wednesday 29 July 2015

  27. Vettel not ruling out title challenge 16:37

    Vettel not ruling out title challenge

    Sebastian Vettel has not ruled out fighting for the 2015 world title after notching up his and Ferrari's second victory of the…

    F1
  28. FE 2015/16 team names confirmed 14:07

    FE 2015/16 team names confirmed

    The official team names for the second season of the all-electric Formula E championship have been confirmed by series…

    FE
  29. Boullier 'guarantees' McLaren-Honda success 13:24

    Boullier 'guarantees' McLaren-Honda success

    Eric Boullier has offered a "guarantee" that the renewed McLaren-Honda partnership will succeed, on the back of its best result…

    F1
  30. Monza has '90 per cent' chance of new deal 11:58

    Monza has '90 per cent' chance of new deal

    Monza has a "90 per cent" chance of remaining on the Formula 1 calendar beyond 2016, according to Roberto Maroni, the President…

    F1
  31. Räikkönen laments 'unlucky' first half 11:02

    Räikkönen laments 'unlucky' first half

    Kimi Räikkönen says he is hoping for a change in fortune when Formula 1 reconvenes at the end of next month, after what the…

    F1
  32. Mark Sutton: Story Behind the Shot - Hungary 10:17

    Mark Sutton: Story Behind the Shot - Hungary

    Especially for lovers of motorsport photography, GPUpdate.net's race-by-race series, Story Behind the Shot, continues throughout…

    F1
  33. Feature: Hungarian GP's key questions 09:26

    Feature: Hungarian GP's key questions

    In the build up to last weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix, GPUpdate.net posed five key questions and pondered the potential…

    F1
  34. Video of the Day: Formula 1 in your mobile 05:21

    Video of the Day: Formula 1 in your mobile

    Ferrari sponsor Santander showcases how Formula 1 has spread to everyday mobile phones.

    F1
  35. Tuesday 28 July 2015

  36. Amberg explains reason behind withdrawals 14:39

    Amberg explains reason behind withdrawals

    Swiss driver Zoël Amberg has explained the medical reasons behind his withdrawal from GP2 rounds in Austria and Hungary and…

    GP2
  37. Marko lauds 'perfect' Verstappen performance 14:06

    Marko lauds 'perfect' Verstappen performance

    Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko hailed Max Verstappen's "perfect" performance during the Hungarian Grand Prix as the Dutch…

    F1
  38. Vandoorne pleased to extend title advantage 11:30

    Vandoorne pleased to extend title advantage

    McLaren protégé Stoffel Vandoorne says he was pleased to extend his GP2 championship advantage in Hungary, despite being…

    GP2
  39. Tost sure fifth position still possible 10:26

    Tost sure fifth position still possible

    Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost is sure that the outfit can still achieve its target of fifth position in the standings after…

    F1
  40. IndyCar to introduce new rain tyre 09:09

    IndyCar to introduce new rain tyre

    IndyCar has announced that a modified rain tyre will be introduced for this weekend's round at Mid-Ohio following development…

    Indy
  41. Singapore makes changes to circuit layout 08:56

    Singapore makes changes to circuit layout

    Organisers of the Singapore Grand Prix have announced that they will make minor changes to the layout of the Marina Bay Street…

    F1
  42. Hungary result to make Williams 'stronger' 08:41

    Hungary result to make Williams 'stronger'

    Williams performance chief Rob Smedley says that the squad's challenging Hungarian Grand Prix will make it a stronger force over…

    F1
  43. Video of the Day: Haas on Formula 1 entry 05:34

    Video of the Day: Haas on Formula 1 entry

    Haas F1 owner, Gene Haas, discusses how his team is progressing ahead of its planned 2016 entry.

    F1
  44. Monday 27 July 2015

  45. Arrivabene pleased to prove critics wrong 15:03

    Arrivabene pleased to prove critics wrong

    Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene says he was pleased to prove doubters wrong as Sebastian Vettel claimed the marque's…

    F1
  46. Wolff: Rushed stop cost Rosberg victory 14:21

    Wolff: Rushed stop cost Rosberg victory

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff reckons rushing Nico Rosberg's pit-stop under the Virtual Safety Car and putting on the slower tyre…

    F1
more news