It might sound obvious, but timing was everything in the opening phase of qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix as the order changed rapidly with every completed lap in the closing stages.

Among the names caught out by the revolving timesheets was Rubens Barrichello, who found himself cycled into the bottom six by posting his best lap at just the wrong time as the Spa-Francorchamps circuit appeared to pick up pace in the closing moments.

Adrian Sutil appeared to have pushed Spyker into a rare Q2 appearance when he vaulted up to twelfth, but was quickly demoted by improvements after the chequered flag, and ended the session down in 20th, ahead only of Anthony Davidson and team-mate Sakon Yamamoto. The other Super Aguri of Takuma Sato and Sebastian Vettel's Toro Rosso completed the unlucky sextet - the German having only just posted the seventh fastest time!

At the sharp end, Fernando Alonso headed Felipe Massa by 0.002secs, but there was drama for the Brazilian as the Ferrari mechanics worked feverishly to get his car started. Massa finally ventured out with just over four minutes remaining, but had no trouble posting a front-running time.

Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton predictably filled the remaining top four places, while the BMW Saubers, Nico Rosberg, Heikki Kovalainen, Mark Webber and Jarno Trulli rounded out the top ten.



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