The sight of both Marussia drivers and both Caterham drivers ending their participation in qualifying at the end of the first 20 minute session is part of the unbreakable lore of today's F1. To see it overturned quite so emphatically as it was in Belgium on Saturday is really quite disorientating - even for those at the heart of the two team's successes at Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday.

"What a fantastic day!" said Caterham's Giedo van der Garde, who rebounded from an accident in Friday practice to end Q1 not only through to the next round of qualifying, but in third place in the times after the chequered flag came out.

Van der Garde's achievement was thanks to a daring gamble to switch to medium compound slick tyres while everyone else was playing safe on intermediates in the wet but drying conditions in the latter half of Q1 following a heavy downpour. At first it seemed as though the risky strategy wouldn't pay off when van der Garde slithered off at Les Combes on his first flying lap attempt, but then conditions moved in his favour and he shot up the times.

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"It was a pretty brave call to be the first to go out on slicks and for the first lap it looked like it might not pay off, but then on the final lap of Q1 I had it all hooked up just right and finished the session the highest we've ever been in Q1," said the Dutch driver. "I have to say I didn't really believe it when my engineer Juan told me where we were - I was just at the top of Eau Rouge on the cool down lap and he said I was in P3! That was such a good feeling, for me, the team and everyone who's supported me."

The track stayed dry for Q2 meaning that a similar upset was never on the cards, but van der Garde still had his work cut out to ensure that he qualified ahead of both Marussias who had progressed to Q2 via a similar gambit.

"In Q2 we knew that if it stayed dry we'd be aiming for 14th and we went out on a set of mediums knowing we had to keep pushing as the track got better and better," he said. "I think there was maybe a little more laptime if we'd maybe started the run a bit later, but, realistically, not enough to go into Q3 so finishing 14th, over 0.5 seconds clear of our nearest rival was the target and we achieved it by good work from everyone.

"I'm so pleased for the whole team that we made our second appearance of the year in Q2, that we finished clear of the Marussias and start the race from 14th," he summed up.

Despite not being able to carry the fight to van der Garde in Q2, the Marussia pair of Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton were equally ecstatic about their qualifying session and their grid positions of 15th and 16th respectively.

"Today is a fantastic result for the team, who were so happy to be back in Q2," said Bianchi. "This was a nice feeling for everybody, including myself, as this was also the first Q2 of my F1 career.

"Things have been steadily improving for us over the weekend and I'm really happy that all the hard work paid off for us today," said the Frenchman. "This result was not about luck because everyone was faced with the same dilemma at the end of the Q1 session; whether it might be too dry for the Intermediate tyre or too wet for slicks.

"On the first lap on the final run it was hard to make up my mind what to do; only the drivers could see what the track condition was really like and it was different from corner to corner. By the end of the lap I had decided just to go for it and stay on the Medium tyre and that gamble was exactly the right call."

"What a great day for everyone!" added his English team mate, Max Chilton. Together with Jules I'm so pleased to help put the Team into Q2 again. It was such a tricky qualifying, and as we can see from the classification, it's difficult to make the right calls at a track where the lap is so long that the conditions are so different from corner to corner.

"When we switched to the dry tyre for the final run I was worried we may have made the wrong call and might have to switch back to the intermediate, but I also knew the track was drying quickly and we could easily make another wrong call by changing back. The engineers put the decision in my hands and I was undecided until the final corner, when I just made a judgement call in an instant and opted to stay out.

"I'm happy to say it was the right call and we went on to enjoy a strong Q2, when my time was pretty pleasing given that on my final run I was fuelled for two timed laps," he added. "I can't wait for tomorrow's race now - rain or shine!"

The only man missing from the celebrations was van der Garde's Caterham team mate Charles Pic, who didn't get a chance to join the others in the slick tyre strategy in time.

"Unfortunately I was then called to the weighbridge which cost us the time needed to do three laps with the set of slicks, so the team made the call to stay on the inters for the second run and unfortunately it didn't work out," Pic explained afterwards, clearly disappointed with what might have been but doing his best to look on the bright side.

"I'm obviously pleased for the team that Giedo made it through to Q2 but now my focus is on fighting for a decent finish tomorrow," he said. "With the weather looking like it could be as changeable as it was today we could have some good opportunities to fight in the race."