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F1 Belgium: Lewis Hamilton secures fourth consecutive pole on rainy Spa-Francorchamps (+results)

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton pulled off an impressive fourth consecutive pole position ahead of the 2013 Belgian Grand Prix, with a hugely impressive run on a damp Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

Everyone started Q3 on slicks and tried to take the rain by surprise. But before the queue of cars even crossed the finish line to start a timed lap, the rain got to heavy for dry tires. Only Force India's Paul di Resta, wasn't caught out, because he already had intermediates on.

The Scot banged in a fast lap, which seemed unbeatable because the intensifying rain was only making the track worse. Even Felipe Massa (Ferrari) who went out only minutes after Di Resta couldn't match his pace.

With every car that got by, the lap times were increasing, but only until Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) ripped a fast one to get ahead of Massa.

Unfortunately for Di Resta, the rain eased off and the conditions improved slightly, which allowed Rosberg, and the two Red Bull drivers Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, who had enough time left for a second lap, to get one up on him.

When Vettel crossed the line, pole position seemed in the bag.

But Hamilton was still on a flying lap, which turned out sufficiently faster to edge his German rival in the title hunt.

Earlier in the day, during the dry free practice session, Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) managed to split Vettel and Red Bull at the top of the timing sheets. Jean-Éric Vergne (Toro-Rosso) clocked an impressive fourth fastest lap ahead of Massa.

The Spaniard settled for ninth in qualifying, ahead of Massa in 10th. Vergne got caught out in Q1, and left 19th, he too ahead of his teammate Daniel Ricciardo, in 20th.

By playing the conditions rights, both Caterham's Giedo van der Garde and both Marussia drivers Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi moved into Q2, placing 14th, 15th and 16th respectively.

Qualifying results* – Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium)
1.Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes W04) - 2'01"012 - Q3
2.Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull RB9-Renault) - 2'01"200 - Q3
3.Mark Webber (Red Bull RB9-Renault) - 2'01"325 - Q3
4.Nico Rosberg (Mercedes W04) - 2'02"251 - Q3
5.Paul Di Resta (Force India VJM06-Mercedes) - 2'02"332 - Q3
6.Jenson Button (McLaren MP4/28-Mercedes) - 2'03"075 - Q
7.Romain Grosjean (Lotus E21-Renault) - 2'03"081 - Q3
8.Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus E21-Renault) - 2'03"390 - Q3
9.Fernando Alonso (Ferrari F138) - 2'03"482 - Q3
10.Felipe Massa (Ferrari F138) - 2'04"059 - Q3
11.Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber C32-Ferrari) - 1'49"088 - Q2
12.Adrian Sutil (Force India VJM06-Mercedes) - 1'49"103 - Q2
13.Sergio Perez (McLaren MP4/28-Mercedes) - 1'49"304 - Q2
14.Giedo Van der Garde (Caterham CT03-Renault) - 1'52"036 - Q2
15.Jules Bianchi (Marussia MR02-Cosworth) - 1'52"563 - Q2
16.Max Chilton (Marussia MR02-Cosworth) - 1'52"762 - Q2
17.Pastor Maldonado (Williams FW35-Renault) - 2'03"072 - Q1
18,Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso STR8-Ferrari) - 2'03"300 - Q1
19.Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso STR8-Ferrari) - 2'03"317 - Q1
20.Valtteri Bottas (Williams FW35-Renault) - 2'03"432 - Q1
21.Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber C32-Ferrari) - 2'04"324 - Q1
22.Charles Pic (Caterham CT03-Renault) - 2'07"384 - Q1

Free practice 3 results* – Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium)
1.Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull RB9-Renault) - 1'48"327 – 16 laps
2.Fernando Alonso (Ferrari F138) – 1’48”432 – 14
3.Mark Webber (Red Bull RB9-Renault) - 1'48"533 – 16
4.Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso STR8-Ferrari) - 1'48"776 - 15
5.Felipe Massa (Ferrari F138) - 1'48"788 - 15
6.Jenson Button (McLaren MP4/28-Mercedes) - 1'48"882 - 13
7.Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber C32-Ferrari) - 1'48"930 – 18
8.Romain Grosjean (Lotus E21-Renault) - 1'48"967 - 14
9.Nico Rosberg (Mercedes W04) - 1'48"993 – 16
10.Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus E21-Renault) - 1'49"008 - 17
11.Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso STR8-Ferrari) - 1'49"035 – 15
12.Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes W04) - 1'49"046 – 17
13.Adrian Sutil (Force India VJM06-Mercedes) - 1'49"122 - 15
14.Valtteri Bottas (Williams FW35-Renault) - 1'49"177 - 15
15.Paul Di Resta (Force India VJM06-Mercedes) - 1'49"226 – 14
16.Sergio Perez (McLaren MP4/28-Mercedes) - 1'49"417 - 14
17.Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber C32-Ferrari) - 1'49"478 - 19
18.Pastor Maldonado (Williams FW35-Renault) - 1'50"418 - 14
19.Charles Pic (Caterham CT03-Renault) - 1'51"416 - 15
21.Giedo Van der Garde (Caterham CT03-Renault) - 1'51"800 - 18
22.Jules Bianchi (Marussia MR02-Cosworth) - 1'52"221 - 17
23.Max Chilton (Marussia MR02-Cosworth) - 1'53"507 - 18

*Unofficial timing