Lewis Hamilton matched Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of 68 pole positions with a record-breaking lap time of 1:42.553 at the Spa circuit on Saturday.
Qualifying was all about the Mercedes versus Ferrari battle but, as seen many times in recent years, Mercedes were able to turn it when it mattered.
Hamilton posted a 1:42.927 in Q2, a new lap record, but went even faster in the final segment.
A 1:42.553 around the 7.004km circuit saw the Mercedes driver claim his 68th pole position thus matching Schumacher’s record. It took Schumacher 247 races, it took Hamilton 200.
Sebastian Vettel was second, 0.242s down, as while the championship leader put in a much improved final lap, he was not able to stop Hamilton.
Valtteri Bottas was third ahead of Kimi Raikkonen with both drivers over half a second down on Hamilton’s best.
Max Verstappen was the leading Red Bull in fifth place ahead of Daniel Ricciardo with Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon next in line.
There was drama for Jolyon Palmer as he pulled into the weigh-bridge during Q2 but was unable to pull away as his Renault wouldn’t go into first gear. He was pushed back to the Renault garage and made it out just in time to seal his place in Q3.
However his best qualifying showing of the season ended in a puff of smoke at the start of Q3 with the loss of gearbox oil pressure. He finished P10 but it likely facing a five-place penalty.
Fernando Alonso narrowly missed out on Q3, screaming “no power” on his final lap as he tried to work his way inside the top ten with the help of a tow from team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne. He qualified P11 with Vandoorne 15th.
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:42.553
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:42.795 0.242
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:43.094 0.541
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:43.270 0.717
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:43.380 0.827
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:43.863 1.310
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault Sport 1:44.982 2.429
8 Sergio Perez Force India 1:44.894 2.691
9 Esteban Ocon Force India 1:45.006 2.816
10 Jolyon Palmer Renault no time
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:45.090
12 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:45.133
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:45.400
14 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:45.374
15 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:45.441
16 Felipe Massa Williams 1:45.823
17 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:46.028
18 Lance Stroll Williams 1:46.915
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:47.214
20 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 1:47.679