Max breaks records with P2 in Spa qualifying -

Max breaks records with P2 in Spa qualifying

Published on 27 August 2016 by Stefan Meens

During qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen clinched two records; not only has he qualified higher than any other Dutchman, his second place makes him the youngest driver to qualify on the front row.

Mercedes' Nico Rosberg was the only driver quicker around the Spa-Francorchamps circuit with Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel completing the top four. Max's team mate, Daniel Ricciardo, will start the race from fifth. It is set to be an exciting (tactical) battle on Sunday with Max starting on the super-softs. Rosberg, the Ferraris and Ricciardo will all start on the softs.

On his way back to the pits after Q3, Max told the team how much he appreciated their efforts to get his RB12 ready – a gearbox issue prevented him from setting a time in FP3 – and how the fans gave him extra motivation.

In the press conference, the youngster added: “I'm very happy with this qualifying. To be this close to the Mercedes, on a track with this many straights, that's something we can be really happy with. The whole weekend has gone smooth, despite some issues this morning. In the end the car was very strong, especially in the second sector.”

Despite having set many records in his relatively young Formula 1 career, Max does not car much about statistics. “I'm just happy to start on the front row in front of so many of my fans.”

For Sunday, Red Bull have split strategies, a decision made by both the team and the drivers. Max: “The plan is to start on the super-softs so we'll have to come in a bit earlier than the others. Hopefully we can make it an exciting race!”

Q1 does not produce any surprises apart from Fernando Alonso being unable to set a lap time. The Spanish double world champions has to park his McLaren at the pit lane exit with mechanical issues.

The significant factor about the second part of qualifying is that the tyres used for the fastest lap, are the ones the drivers will have to start the race on. Both Max and the two Force Indias of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, opt to run the super-soft. Rosberg, Ricciardo and the Ferraris choose the soft Pirellis.

Q3 is a shoot-out between the remaining ten drivers, all on the fastest, super-soft tyre. The Dutch fans need not wait long to cheer. On his first of two runs, Max sets a blistering 1:46.893 on the clock, just over a tenth shy of Nico Rosberg's eventual pole lap.

On his first attemp, Daniel Ricciardo overshoots the first corner, the La Source hairpin, and trails his team mate three tenths at the end of the lap. The Australian is unable to produce a lap that beats Max's time and is squeezed of the second row by both Ferraris.

Belgian Grand Prix - Spa-Francorchamps - Saturday 27 August


01  6 Nico Rosberg        Mercedes                    1:48.019  1:46.999  1:46.744   12
02 33 Max Verstappen      Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer   1:48.407  1:47.163  1:46.893   12
03  7 Kimi Räikkönen      Ferrari                     1:47.912  1:47.664  1:46.910   13
04  5 Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari                     1:47.802  1:47.944  1:47.108   14
05  3 Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer   1:48.407  1:48.027  1:47.216   12
06 11 Sergio Perez        Force India Mercedes        1:48.106  1:47.485  1:47.407   12
07 27 Nico Hulkenberg     Force India Mercedes        1:48.080  1:47.317  1:47.543   12
08 77 Valtteri Bottas     Williams Mercedes           1:48.655  1:47.918  1:47.612   12
09 22 Jenson Button       McLaren Honda               1:48.700  1:48.051  1:48.114   15
10 19 Felipe Massa        Williams Mercedes           1:47.738  1:47.667  1:48.263   12
11  8 Romain Grosjean     Haas Ferrari                1:48.751  1:48.316             12
12 20 Kevin Magnussen     Renault                     1:48.800  1:48.485             12
13 21 Esteban Gutierrez   Haas Ferrari                1:48.748  1:48.598             12
14 30 Jolyon Palmer       Renault                     1:48.901  1:48.888             12
15 55 Carlos Sainz        Toro Rosso Ferrari          1:48.876  1:49.038              9
16 94 Pascal Wehrlein     MRT Mercedes                1:48.554  1:49.320             11
17 12 Felipe Nasr         Sauber Ferrari              1:48.949                        6
18 31 Esteban Ocon        MRT Mercedes                1:49.050                        7
19 26 Daniil Kvyat        Toro Rosso Ferrari          1:49.058                        6
20  9 Marcus Ericsson     Sauber Ferrari              1:49.071                        6
21 44 Lewis Hamilton      Mercedes                    1:50.033                        4
NC 14 Fernando Alonso     McLaren Honda               DNS                             1

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