Saturday, September 1, 2012

Button Presses into Belgian GP Pole Position

Photo source: Pirelli Photo Service

After almost one month break, the Formula 1 returns to strength for the final nine-race ran to the end of the 2012 season.

Despite concerns that the Ferrari race car was unsuited for competition in 2012, two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso challenged early season beliefs. Collecting 3 wins with the famous red car, Alonso's combined consistency has allowed him to hold a 40-point advantage over Red Bull Racing's Mark Webber. Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button with McLaren as well as the Red Bull-Renaults has been pressuring the Spaniard's attempt to lock up a third World Championship.

A pleasant surprise so far this season has been the progression of Mercedes GP, Lotus F1 Team and the Sauber F1 Team who have remained podium-contending efforts throughout 2012. While highlights off the racetrack have taken a negative turn for the Lotus Group, the 2012 effort of the Formula 1 race team has been a definite bright spot. A 2012 Formula 1 season dominated by unusual feats and some regular superstars being humbled by a new batch of drivers, the Belgian Grand Prix weekend was eagerly awaited upon.

A track regarded with some racers as a favourite, the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps features high speed and high G-Force loads for the car as well as driver competing on the 7.004-kilometer (4.352-mile) complex. Spending Friday splashing on a rainy track, Formula 1 competitors were treated to a dry Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps for Saturday's qualifying.

Prevailing in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix, Jenson Button sailed around the race course with a 1 minute, 47.573 second lap. For some, it might be hard to believe that the pole position for Jenson Button is the Englishman's first feat since the 2009 Monaco Grand Prix when he drove for Brawn GP (now Mercedes GP). Joining the McLaren team after has 2009 championship-winning season in Formula 1, the pole is Button's first with a McLaren-Mercedes race car.

A team that  barely scraped together enough funds to keep racing a few seasons ago, the Sauber F1 Team had been showing a potential winning package through certain 2012 races. In Belgium, the month-long layoff from Formula 1 competition might have given the Sauber F1 Team the time to stumble on the winning formula. Fastest on Friday on the wet Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Kamui Kobayashi backed-up his performance on Pirelli slick tires on Saturday with a 1 minute, 47.871 second time. Three-tenths of Button, the fast lap was enough for Japanese driver to receive a front row starting spot for Sunday's main event.

While the Williams-Renault race car of Pastor Maldonado was third-fastest in Belgium, the driver was dropped to 6th by Formula 1 stewards following an earlier incident in qualifying with Nico Hulkenburg. The penalty against the Williams F1 team entry promoted Kimi Raikkonen to 3rd in the Lotus-Renault race car. In fourth, the second Sauber-Ferrari piloted by Sergio Perez outran Fernando Alonso's Ferrari.

Photo Source: Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic

Placing themselves deeper in the field, the Red Bull-Renault of Mark Webber and the Mercedes GP of Nico Rosberg both suffered five-grid position penalties for gearbox changes. Webber will start 12th while Rosberg will be second to last on the grid in 23rd spot.

With the Formula 1 racing grid set for the 44-lap main event, the Belgian Grand Prix is set to start at 8 am eastern time.

2012 Formula 1
Belgian Grand Prix
Race Line-up

Pos # Car #/ Driver/ Car
1 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
2 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari
3 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault
4 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari
5 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
6 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault
7 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
8 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault
9 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes
10 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
11 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes
12 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
13 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP
14 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari
15 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari
16 16 Daniel Ricciardo Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari
17 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault
18 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault
19 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault
20 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth
21 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT F1
22 25 Charlie Pic Marussia-Cosworth
23 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP
24 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT F1

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