Mark Webber ensured that Red Bull will start from the front of the grid for the twelfth time in 13 races this season after securing his fifth pole position of the 2010 F1 campaign at Spa.
After a dramatic qualifying session which once again saw the weather play a part in proceedings in Belgium, the championship leader posted the quickest time seen so far this weekend although a number of his rivals were left to rue the conditions in one of the most exciting qualifying sessions of the year.
Having successfully survived rain earlier in the session to make it through to Q3, Webber posted a time of 1min 45.778secs on his first flying lap in the ten-minute fight for pole with the return of light rain-fall around the pits hampering his rivals as they attempted to better his benchmark.
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton was the only man able to get anywhere near the Australian despite the rain at La Source leaving conditions far from ideal and he crossed the line on his final flying lap just 0.085 behind his Red Bull rival.
Prior to Hamilton's late flyer, Robert Kubica had looked good to put Renault on the front row in its first weekend running the new F-duct on its car but the Pole had to settle for third place, with Sebastian Vettel in the second of the Red Bulls alongside him on the second row. Both drivers set their best times on the first flying lap of the session.
Jenson Button was fifth quickest as he also bettered his time on the final lap of the session which was enough to demote Felipe Massa down to sixth place, with Rubens Barrichello and Adrian Sutil sharing row four. Nico Hulkenberg starts from ninth place but Fernando Alonso could only manage tenth after failing to improve on a poor first run in Q3 when he was caught out by the damp conditions at turn one.
The second stage of qualifying had been run on a drying track with the quick laps coming late on as a result, but neither Mercedes was able to make it through Q2 – something which the team had desperately hoped for with Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg going into qualifying aware of the fact that they faced penalties following the session.
Schumacher could only manage eleventh quickest – ironically being knocked out of a Q3 place by Barrichello – while Rosberg was behind in twelfth. Schumacher will now take a ten place drop on the grid for the move he pulled on Barrichello late on in Hungary, while Rosberg drops five places after the team was forced to change the gearbox on his car ahead of qualifying.
Toro Rosso pair Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi both fell at the second hurdle as did the Force India of Tonio Liuzzi – who was one of number of people to spin during the session. While the likes of Sutil, Alonso and Massa all survived similar incidents to progress to Q3, Liuzzi wasn't so lucky.