F1 2013

Countdown – 2013 Belgian Grand Prix

  • Hamilton – ‘Red Bull still the fastest’
  • Alonso – Happy with Ferrari progress in 9th
  • Button – Hoping for dry conditions
  • Raikkonen – Looking for 5th Spa victory

Lewis Hamilton claims he was ‘stunned’ after his 4th consecutive pole position for Mercedes on Saturday, but says his position owed more to his driving prowess than his car.

“I still feel the Red Bull is a little bit ahead of us in performance.” he said.

“It feels even better because it feels like we extracted more than what the car can actually do.”

Ferrari can be happy with their progress over the summer break, according to Fernando Alonso, despite qualifying only 9th and 10th ahead of this weekend’s Grand Prix. The Spaniard and team mate Felipe Massa were caught out by the wet conditions during Q3 and could not set faster times.

“We felt a little bit more competitive today than in the last qualifying sessions in July. We need to check in the next races – here is medium downforce, Monza will be also a unique circuit in terms of set-up. So here, Monza and Singapore will tell us how much progress we need.”

McLaren qualified a season-best 6th thanks to Jenson Button‘s effort on Saturday, but Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh admitted it was ‘a frustrating mistake’ that the Briton missed out on a second Q3 lap that may have seen him challenge for pole – he had been fastest during the wettest conditions earlier in the session.

“It [6th] was definitely not down to luck, but achieved by our own merit. We have made another step forward and it is good to see that all our efforts somehow pay off. It would have been nice if it would have happened earlier in the season, but how does the saying go: better late than never!”

Kimi Raikkonen believes a dry Belgian Grand Prix is his only hope of securing a 5th Spa victory after his Lotus failed to shine in the wet qualifying session.

“When it was dry in the second qualifying session we were fastest, so if it’s dry tomorrow we should be okay for the race; even though we will not start from a great position.” said the Finn.

“The last qualifying session was wet and our car does not give its best in these types of conditions. Any lap which came right at the end of the session would have helped, but if it stayed dry it would have helped more.”

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