Belgian GP: Charles Leclerc on pole

Updated: Sep 01, 2019, 13:49 IST | Abhishek Takle |

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc surpasses teammate Vettel in Belgian qualifying; Hamilton third after crash during practice

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc celebrates after claiming pole. Pic/ AFP
Ferrari's Charles Leclerc celebrates after claiming pole. Pic/ AFP

Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium): Charles Leclerc will start the Belgian GP from pole position after setting the fastest lap in Saturday's qualifying, ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel who completed a one-two for Ferrari.

The Monegasque lapped the 7-km long Spa-Francorchamps track in one minute, 42.519 seconds. He was a whopping 0.748 seconds clear of Vettel, with the German's lap hindered by traffic. Lewis Hamilton, whose Mercedes required extensive repairs in the build up to qualifying after the Briton crashed in the final practice session, was third ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas.

The Briton and the Finn, who between them have won 10 of this season's 12 races, are first and second in the drivers championship with Hamilton 62 points clear. "It felt good!." said Leclerc after the session.

"We were struggling a little bit more during the race pace [simulations] and we need to work on that. But looking at today I'm sure we will be strong."

Saturday's pole was the third of Leclerc's career. Leclerc, in his first year with Ferrari and second in Formula One, started from the front in Bahrain and Austria.

damaged car
Lewis Hamilton's damaged car is lifted into a truck after the Mercedes driver crashed into a wall during the third practice session. Pic /AFP

But he is still hunting for his first win. Ferrari's speed around the flat-out blasts and fast sweeps of the Spa track could smooth his path but he will have a stiff challenge on his hands from Vettel, who last won in Belgium last year, and the two Mercedes who look stronger in race trim.

Behind the top four, Max Verstappen, enjoying plenty of support from his orange-clad Dutch fans, was fifth.

French racer Hubert dies; Kimi struck by fan

Spa-Francorchamps: Racing driver Anthoine Hubert died on Saturday following a crash during the Formula Two race held before this weekend's F1 Belgian Grand Prix, race organisers told AFP.

Hubert, 22, died following a high-speed pile-up with American Juan Manuel Correa and Japan's Marino Sato in the second lap of the race.

Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen was struck by a spectator outside the paddock yesterday. The Finn had to rely on his famous 'ice man' temperament to avoid a serious altercation, according to witnesses.

Jehan Daruvala bags 3rd place

Jehan Daruvala
Jehan Daruvala

Spa-Francorchamps: India's Jehan Daruvala finished Race 1 of the FIA Formula 3 Championship at the Spa racetrack on Saturday in third spot.

The F3 Championship is a support race for Belgian F1 GP on Sunday. Daruvala of PREMA Racing had won pole position for the race but lost his lead in the very first lap when he was overtaken by Trident's Pedro Piquet, who went on to win the race. Daruvala's teammate Robert Shwartzman in second place.
Shwartzman leads the championship with 142 points, while Daruvala is second on 123. Race 2 is on Sunday.

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