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Saubers crash out of Q1 at Spa

Kamui Kobayashi and Pedro de la Rosa both wasted the chance to move into Q2 at Spa-Francorchamps after crashing in tricky conditions.
The BMW Sauber team paid the biggest price in an opening qualifying session for the Belgian Grand Prix blighted by the return of the rain after just a few minutes, with the changing track conditions making setting a good enough time something of a lottery.

Vitaly Petrov putting a wheel on the still damp kerb at Liege caused an early red flag as his Renault was retrieved from the barriers and, by the time the action resumed, the rain clouds were over Rivage, bringing chaos as drivers fought for track position and, in some cases, ran out of road.

Times tumbled as the survivors made their way across the line, with Lewis Hamilton eventually pipping McLaren team-mate Jenson Button for top spot but, with the shower abating as quickly as it had arrived, the drying track provided the opportunity for others to redeem their situation.

Sebastian Vettel was the first to recognise the potential of intermediate rubber, hauling himself up from a perilous 17th to third, with Adrian Sutil, Jarno Trulli, Bruno Senna and Heikki Kovalainen doing likewise to escape the drop zone. However, when Robert Kubica went fastest of all, almost everyone was forced to return to the track, shaking up the order.

Sauber's bid to cement its place in Q2 slipped up when both Kamui Kobayashi and Pedro de la Rosa went off, at Rivage and Fagnes respectively, handing the newcomer teams a rare chance to progress. Timo Glock and Heikki Kovalainen were the drivers to take advantage, progressing in 16th and 17th positions, while Senna, HRT team-mate Sakon Yamamoto and Virgin's Lucas di Grassi dropping out.

Nico Rosberg headed namesake Nico Hulkenberg and Rubens Barrichello at the top of the order, with Kubica and Michael Schumacher completing the top five.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Friday Practice 1, Nico Rosberg (GER), Mercedes GP F1 Team, MGP W01
Friday Practice 1, Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Lotus Racing, T127
Friday Practice 2, Kamui Kobayashi (JAP), BMW Sauber F1 Team, C29
27.11.2016 - Race, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34 and Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34
27.11.2016 - Race, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34, Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11 and Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34 leads Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team VF-16
27.11.2016 - Race, Esteban Ocon (FRA) Manor Racing MRT05, Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Manor Racing MRT05 and Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34
27.11.2016 - Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12, Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11 and Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34
27.11.2016 - Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team VF-16, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34
26.11.2016 - Qualifying, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
26.11.2016 - Qualifying, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
26.11.2016 - Qualifying, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31

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