Button back on top as Hamilton seethes

September 2, 2012 12:06 pm

Jenson Button took a vital step towards recovery in his 2012 Formula One World Championship title campaign this afternoon, with a stunning pole position ahead of today’s Belgian Grand Prix.

The 2009 World Champion was over three tenths of a second faster than his rivals and claimed his first pole for Mclaren as well as his first pole since Monaco in his championship winning season.

Jenson Button claimed his first pole position since May 2009

Behind him were a couple of unfamiliar faces, with Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi and Williams’ Pastor Maldonado claiming 2nd and 3rd places, ahead of favourite Kimi Raikkonen who has won the Belgian GP four times in the last decade. Sergio Perez rounded off a brilliant day for Sauber with 5th on the grid, and their formidable race pace, that has so often been displayed in the races, means they are a real threat to the podium on Sunday. Pastor Maldonado later received the news that he was to start 6th after being given a 3-place penalty for impeding Nico Hulkenberg during the qualifying session. The change elevates Raikkonen to 3rd, Perez to 4th and Alonso to 5th.

Championship leader Fernando Alonso took a solid 6th place on the grid after insisting that despite his 40 point lead, he is not the favourite for the World Championship.

That label still seems to belong to reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel, who was unable to extract the speed he

Kimi Raikkonen was favourite for pole – but is set to feature heavily in the race

needed from his Red Bull car and struggled to an eventual 11th on the grid, four places behind team-mate Mark Webber. However, Webber suffers the frustration of a five-place grid penalty that drops him behind his German rival. Lewis Hamilton lamented a setup choice he made that he felt hampered his qualifying chances, and was embroiled later in the day in a Twitter-vented rage against his team-mate and mechanics that surely soured the mood at Mclaren as they prepare for tomorrow’s race.  The Tweets, some of which contained swearing and colloquial language, were later removed from the Mclaren driver’s Twitter feed but no further comment was forthcoming.

A disappointing afternoon for Mercedes marked Michael Schumacher’s 300th Grand Prix, although the German veteran did manage to out qualify his team-mate and compatriot Nico Rosberg, who will start 23rd after being penalised five places for a gearbox change.

One Brit rejoices; another Brit despairs – no Olympic team effort here.

The only problem is they are supposed to be team-mates…and only one of them can claim victory tomorrow.

Anthony French

 

 

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