Charles Leclerc scored the third pole position of his Formula 1 career in dominant fashion as he crushed the field in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday at Spa.

After topping both FP2 and FP3 for Ferrari, Leclerc managed to carry his form through all three stages of qualifying as he led the entirety of the session en route to pole position.

Leclerc put in two laps good enough for pole, with his final effort of 1m42.519s being almost three-quarters of a second better than anything his rivals could manage.

It marks Leclerc’s third F1 pole after previous successes in Bahrain and Austria earlier this year, but the Monegasque driver is still searching his maiden grand prix victory.

Ferrari clinched a front row lock-out as Sebastian Vettel took P2 despite calling his final run a “mess” as a number of drivers jostled for position through traffic, causing many to slow right down on-track.

Lewis Hamilton qualified third after a rapid turnaround from his Mercedes mechanics to repair his car following his crash in final practice, but also bemoaned traffic issues that compromised his final run. Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas will start fourth on the grid.

Max Verstappen took fifth for Red Bull, more than one second off the pole time, with former teammate and current Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo taking sixth on the grid, a further six-tenths of a second back.

Nico Hulkenberg claimed P7 in the sister Renault car ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen, while Sergio Perez and Kevin Magnussen rounded out the top 10 for Racing Point and Haas respectively.

Romain Grosjean’s run of Q3 berths came to an end after his switch back to Haas’ latest-spec car, losing out by less than six-hundredths of a second to teammate Magnussen in Q2 as he qualified 11th.

Lando Norris took 12th for McLaren as the team’s practice struggles carried through to Saturday. The Briton was one-tenth of a second off a place in Q3, but said he felt there was little more he could have done in his final lap.

Lance Stroll and Alexander Albon both opted to curtail their running in Q2 due to grid penalties that will see both drop to the back of the grid on Sunday, leaving them 14th and 15th. Red Bull debutant Albon had been within three-tenths of a second of teammate Verstappen’s time through the first two sectors on his one push lap in Q2 before he backed off and brought his session to an early end.

Antonio Giovinazzi could only qualify 15th at Spa after an issue forced him to park his car up at the side of the track on the run down to Eau Rouge very late in Q1. While the Alfa Romeo driver had set a time quick enough to secure him a place in Q2, he could take no part in the session.

The late red flag in Q1 following Giovinazzi’s stoppage prevented a number of drivers from getting in a final lap time, leaving Pierre Gasly agonisingly short of advancing as he qualified 16th on his return to Toro Rosso. One crumb of comfort for Gasly will be outqualifying teammate Daniil Kvyat, who was one-tenth of a second further back in P18.

Carlos Sainz was another driver to lose out to the late red flag as he qualified 17th for McLaren, calling it a “blow” over team radio after his worst qualifying result since Australia.

Williams filled out the final row once again with George Russell and Robert Kubica, the latter’s session ending after just four minutes when his engine failed through Blanchimont, forcing the Pole to park up at the side of the track.

The Belgian Grand Prix gets underway at 2:10pm BST on Sunday.

 

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