2012 Belgian Grand Prix - Qualifying
Spa-Francorchamps, Saturday September 1st
"A truly brilliant pole lap by Jenson"
151st pole for McLaren
72nd pole for McLaren, Mercedes & Mobil 1
26th pole for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
8th pole for Jenson
2nd successive pole for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
1st pole for Jenson in a McLaren
5th 1m49.091s (+0.549s) 18 laps
Q1 2nd 1m49.250s (on Primes)
Q2 1st 1m47.654s (on Options)
Q3 1st overall 1m47.573s (on Options)
“It’s been so long since my last pole position that it almost feels like a win for me!
"In fact, it’s my first pole since Monaco 2009 – which was a race that I won – and it demonstrates that I can qualify really well.
"So I want to offer my congratulations to the whole team: it’s my 50th grand prix for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes this weekend, so it’s a great time to get a pole position for everyone at Woking [home of McLaren], at Brixworth [home of MercedesAMGHighPerformancePowertrains] and of course here at Spa.
"I’m surprised that the new rear wing is working so well, but the engineers also did a great job with the balance. And it’s even more encouraging that we had good consistency through all three qualifying sessions. Nonetheless, nobody has done any long runs yet, so we still need to wait and see how tomorrow pans out.
"Can I still win the drivers’ championship? Yes. We’ll take it one day at a time, but hopefully we can get some good points tomorrow."
12th 1m49.615s (+1.073s) 19 laps
Q1 8th 1m49.605s (on Primes)
Q2 5th 1m48.563s (on Options)
Q3 8th overall* 1m48.394s (on Options)
* will start 7th due to Mark Webber’s five-place grid penalty
"Congratulations to Jenson! He did an excellent job and I hope he gets maximum points tomorrow.
"For me, today was a bit of a disappointment; but, since I’m still in the top 10, tomorrow will be about trying to make the most of things.
"The set-up wasn’t perfect, but that was simply because we chose the wrong rear wing, preferring to stay with the version we used in Hungary. The wing we’d been using in FP3 this morning hadn’t been working very well, so we opted to go back to the older wing which we thought would be the safer option. It was a collective choice: we thought the older wing would be quicker in qualifying, but in fact Jenson has shown the new wing to be very good indeed.
"Our side of the garage was a bit unlucky, but we’ll do what we can with what we have tomorrow."
Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
"That was a truly brilliant pole lap by Jenson – his first for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes – and he’s now in extremely good shape for tomorrow’s race.
"This morning, though, in FP3, neither Jenson nor Lewis was entirely comfortable with the balance or feel of their cars, a situation that was perhaps compounded by a complete lack of dry running all day yesterday. For this afternoon, then, on a bone-dry track, following the issues we’d encountered in FP3 this morning, clearly we had to make some changes. We duly did so, in consultation with our drivers, and, as things panned out, the changes we made to Jenson’s car paid off the better of the two.
"So, as I say, having bagged pole position, he’ll be gunning for victory tomorrow – but Lewis, too, despite starting from P7, will be equally hungry to score a hatful of points. As I’ve said before, and as I’ll doubtless say again, in Jenson and Lewis we have the best driver line-up in Formula 1, and tomorrow both of them will be aiming to demonstrate that yet again."