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Rosberg takes pole at Spa

NEWS STORY
23/08/2014

Following two dry, but cool, sessions yesterday, this morning the notoriously fickly Spa weather came into play once again, meaning that there was little serious running until the final phase of the hour. Even then, the session appeared to raise more questions than it answered.

Despite James Allison effectively writing off Kimi Raikkonen's season yesterday, this morning the Finn was looking good, whilst Williams, certainly in the shape of Valtteri Bottas, finally began to show its hand.

A late charge saw Daniel Ricciardo take third, whilst Nico Rosberg was the quicker of the two Mercedes driver, though Lewis Hamilton's last lap appeared to suggest the Briton has something in reserve.

With the rain beginning to fall heavily, around forty minutes before the start of the session, this afternoon is clearly going to be in the lap of the gods with surprise fallers at the first hurdle and possibly a big surprise in terms of the pole-sitter.

Fifteen minutes before the start of the session - as Charlie Whiting inspects the track from the comfort of the Safety Car - the rain has stopped and the sun is shining. While it is not expected that there will be any further downpours there could be a light shower or two. The track remains very, very damp.

The air temperature has dropped to a chilly 9 degrees C, while the track temperature is 21 degrees.

A full minute before the session is due to start, both Marussias are at the end of the pitlane, eager to get to work.

As Chilton and Bianchi head out they are joined by Vergne, Kvyat and the Caterhams. Bottas and Sutil are amongst those out early, both on full wets while the rest opt for options.

As Bianchi begins his first flying lap, all but Hulkenberg are on track. Perez is warned that, contrary to earlier reports, there could be further rain before the end of Q1.

As Bottas goes quickest in S1, Kvyat runs wide at Pouhon. Hulkenberg now on track.

Bianchi posts 2:16.474 and teammate Chilton 2:16.550, even Kvyat can only manage 2:14.966.

A 2:10.750 sees Bottas go quickest as teammate Massa gets it all wrong at Les Combes.

Ricciardo posts a 2:10.642 as Kvyat is asked whether he's happy on Inters, advised that some drivers are quicker on full wets.

Hamilton and Raikkonen both make mistakes at the chicane however, the Briton goes quickest with a 2:09.492.

Told that he has gone quickest, Hamilton asks his team, "please don't talk to me when I'm on my lap".

Alonso goes fourth, ahead of Magnussen and Hulkenberg, only to be demoted when Rosberg posts 2:07.792 to go second.

Hamilton improves with a 2:07.587 as Grosjean loses time behind Lotterer in Blanchimont.

Gutierrez slows and stops at T15 (Paul Frere), the Sauber subsequently pushed to safety.

With 6:46 remaining, Raikkonen and Grosjean are in the drop zone.

Vettel goes third with a 2:10.105 as Raikkonen leaves the pits on a set of Inters. Indeed, everyone is one Inters now.

Bottas goes quickest in S1 as Raikkonen improves to fifth with a 2:10.631. Maldonado off at T4 and Magnussen at T18, both able to continue.

Bottas improves to third with a 2:09.433 while Kvyat goes eighth despite a nightmare of a lap.

Hamilton raises the bar with a 2:07.280 as Maldonado and Perez remain in the drop zone.

Bianchi goes tenth with a 2:11.051 as Maldonado is told that there will be rain in turns 14 and 15. The Venezuelan promptly spins.

Sutil improves thereby dropping Chilton back into the drop zone.

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