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. Wednesday 23 August 2017

  2. 17:12

    Follow us on Instagram for the best photos!

    F1
  3. Video: Fans spend day with Lewis Hamilton 17:06

    Video: Fans spend day with Lewis Hamilton

    Watch as competition winners spend the day with Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes-Benz World.

    F1
  4. Alonso: McLaren 'getting stronger and stronger' 15:42

    Alonso: McLaren 'getting stronger and stronger'

    Fernando Alonso reckons McLaren-Honda is "getting stronger and stronger" as the 2017 season progresses, but is wary that the…

    F1
  5. 'The best thing that I can do is win' - Norris 14:06

    'The best thing that I can do is win' - Norris

    McLaren-backed youngster Lando Norris is taking Formula 3 by storm in his rookie campaign, having also received his maiden…

    F1
  6. Correa to make GP3 debut with Jenzer at Spa 13:27

    Correa to make GP3 debut with Jenzer at Spa

    Ecuadorian-American racer Juan Manuel Correa will make his GP3 Series debut with Jenzer Motorsport at this weekend's…

    GP3
  7. De Vries, Delétraz swap seats in Formula 2 12:54

    De Vries, Delétraz swap seats in Formula 2

    McLaren young driver Nyck de Vries has switched from Rapax to Racing Engineering from the upcoming Formula 2 round at…

    F2
  8. Sauber looks for boost with new floor design 12:52

    Sauber looks for boost with new floor design

    Sauber will add a new floor to its C36-Ferraris for the Belgian Grand Prix as the team bids to make up ground after a difficult…

    F1
  9. McLaren chiefs reiterate belief in Vandoorne 11:28

    McLaren chiefs reiterate belief in Vandoorne

    McLaren chiefs Eric Boullier and Zak Brown have reiterated their belief in Stoffel Vandoorne, following confirmation that he…

    F1
  10. Guy Martin joins Williams crew for Belgium 11:25

    Guy Martin joins Williams crew for Belgium

    Motorcycle racer and TV personality Guy Martin will join Williams as a mechanic for this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix at…

    F1
  11. McLaren formally confirms Vandoorne for 2018 11:03

    McLaren formally confirms Vandoorne for 2018

    McLaren has formally confirmed that Stoffel Vandoorne will continue with the team in 2018, as planned. Vandoorne stepped up…

    F1
  12. Video: Rosberg's W07 joins Mercedes museum 10:36

    Video: Rosberg's W07 joins Mercedes museum

    Check out the latest vlog from reigning Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg as the Mercedes W07, which he piloted to the 2016…

    F1
  13. Mercedes avoiding 'dangerous' assumptions 09:20

    Mercedes avoiding 'dangerous' assumptions

    Toto Wolff says Mercedes is ignoring "dangerous" assumptions over its prospects at this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix, as Formula…

    F1
  14. Video: Hamilton let loose on a skid pan 05:32

    Video: Hamilton let loose on a skid pan

    What happens when you let a multiple Formula 1 World Champion loose in a Mercedes-AMG beast on a damp skid pan at Mercedes-Benz…

    F1
  15. Tuesday 22 August 2017

  16. 17:02

    Gallery: Räikkönen at Santander Helsinki event

    F1
  17. Tech chief Key extends Toro Rosso deal 16:19

    Tech chief Key extends Toro Rosso deal

    James Key has extended his contract with Toro Rosso to remain as the team's Technical Director. Key, 45, began his Formula 1…

    F1
  18. Norris: F2 'more likely option' for 2018 16:14

    Norris: F2 'more likely option' for 2018

    McLaren protégé Lando Norris says a move into Formula 2 is his "more likely option" for 2018, though has stressed that his…

    F3
  19. Video: European F3 Zandvoort highlights 14:12

    Video: European F3 Zandvoort highlights

    Watch highlights of last weekend's trio of European Formula 3 races at Circuit Zandvoort.

    F3
  20. 11:32

    Overview: 2018 Formula 1 line-ups so far

    F1
  21. Ferrari keeps Räikkönen for 2018 season 11:29

    Ferrari keeps Räikkönen for 2018 season

    Ferrari has announced that Kimi Räikkönen will continue to race with the team in Formula 1 next season, ending speculation…

    F1
  22. F1 teams load up on Super Softs for Italy 10:09

    F1 teams load up on Super Softs for Italy

    Formula 1 teams have loaded up on the softest available tyre for the Italian Grand Prix, which directly follows this weekend's…

    F1
  23. Video: Super Formula Motegi highlights 10:03

    Video: Super Formula Motegi highlights

    Watch as Pierre Gasly takes his maiden Super Formula victory during the series' Motegi round.

    SF
  24. Renault to update engine at Spa, Monza 09:04

    Renault to update engine at Spa, Monza

    Renault will bring software and hardware updates to the Belgian and Italian Grands Prix, as it pushes to close the gap to rival…

    F1
  25. Kubica 'delivered well' in 2017-spec F1 test 08:12

    Kubica 'delivered well' in 2017-spec F1 test

    Robert Kubica "delivered well" on his official Formula 1 test return at the Hungaroring earlier this month, according to Renault…

    F1
  26. Belgian GP preview: F1 gets Spa treatment 07:02

    Belgian GP preview: F1 gets Spa treatment

    After a month-long break to recharge batteries, F1 will burst back into life with the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps…

    F1
  27. Video: Rosberg vlogs with a Hamilton hat 05:38

    Video: Rosberg vlogs with a Hamilton hat

    Nico Rosberg films his first official 'vlog' as he heads to Stuttgart for the Mercedes-Benz Museum fan event. But why does a…

    F1
  28. Monday 21 August 2017

  29. Video: F1 2017 video game at Zandvoort 16:32

    Video: F1 2017 video game at Zandvoort

    Until 1985, Circuit Zandvoort hosted the Dutch Grand Prix. To celebrate the upcoming video game release of F1 2017, Koch Media…

    F1
  30. Harvey to enter final two rounds with SPM 13:53

    Harvey to enter final two rounds with SPM

    Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has confirmed its driver plans for the remainder of the season, handing Jack Harvey the final two…

    Indy
  31. 13:21

    Overview: Belgian Grand Prix F1 schedule

    F1
  32. Force India still hoping for podium finish 13:00

    Force India still hoping for podium finish

    Force India still harbours hopes of a podium finish during the 2017 season and is "ready to take" any opportunity, says team…

    F1
  33. Haas to start with Brembo brakes at Spa 11:59

    Haas to start with Brembo brakes at Spa

    Haas team boss Guenther Steiner has confirmed that both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen will start the Belgian Grand Prix…

    F1
  34. Abraham gets new Aspar deal for 2018 10:34

    Abraham gets new Aspar deal for 2018

    Karel Abraham will remain with Aspar through 2018, having performed "much better" than the team expected on his MotoGP…

    MotoGP
  35. Gasly revels in 'very special' SF triumph 10:32

    Gasly revels in 'very special' SF triumph

    Red Bull junior driver Pierre Gasly described his maiden victory in the Super Formula championship as "very special", after he…

    SF
  36. Video: IndyCar Pocono race day highlights 09:33

    Video: IndyCar Pocono race day highlights

    Watch highlights of the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway, also known as the Tricky Triangle.

    Indy
  37. Norris takes title lead after Zandvoort double 09:12

    Norris takes title lead after Zandvoort double

    McLaren-backed Lando Norris moved into the lead of the European Formula 3 Championship with a commanding performance at…

    F3
  38. Formula 1 launches eSports championship 09:01

    Formula 1 launches eSports championship

    Formula 1 has announced the launch of its first official eSports series. Starting in September 2017, fans and gamers from…

    F1
  39. Video: Mercedes-Benz's W125 from 1937 05:42

    Video: Mercedes-Benz's W125 from 1937

    Take a look at the dominant Mercedes-Benz W125, which was the car to beat in the 1937 Grand Prix season.

    F1
  40. Sunday 20 August 2017

  41. 22:49

    Latest IndyCar photos: Sunday at Pocono

    Indy
  42. Power wins Pocono with strategy, persistence 22:47

    Power wins Pocono with strategy, persistence

    Will Power delivered a precise and tactical final two stints in an eventful race at Pocono on Sunday to hold off Josef Newgarden…

    Indy
  43. Hunter-Reay gets green light for Pocono 15:17

    Hunter-Reay gets green light for Pocono

    Ryan Hunter-Reay has been cleared to race at Pocono later on Sunday in the wake of his hefty accident during…

    Indy
  44. Verstappen doubts Red Bull win threat 14:17

    Verstappen doubts Red Bull win threat

    Max Verstappen feels it will still be "tough" for Red Bull to compete with Mercedes and Ferrari when Formula 1 returns from its…

    F1
more news