Third place in the session went to Sebastian Vettel in the second Ferrari while Mercedes' Nico Rosberg was fourth after being forced to revert to an older specification Mercedes engine when a problem was detected with the latest version power unit fitted to his car for this weekend's race following the morning's final practice session.
After early morning rain had led to wet and intermediate tyre use in a drying final practice session, Q1 got underway in dry and bright conditions. The early pace was predictably set by the Mercedes duo, with Hamilton annexing top spot with a time of 1m24.251s, more than half a second clear of Rosberg, who was running with the power unit used in Spa.
As the 18-minute session wore on and the final runs approached the drivers in danger of the cut were 15th-placed Fernando Alonso of McLaren, team-mate Jenson Button, the Manors of Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi, while Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo had yet to set a time.
McLaren, Toro Rosso and Red Bull are facing grid penalties due to power unit changes but despite the impending sanctions, Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz attempted to secure as positive a grid position as possible and was in P8 before the final runs.
There was drama for Verstappen as he began his only run, however. The Dutch driver's engine cover flew off at the Curva Grande, scattering debris across the track and he was forced back to the pits without setting a time.
Also out after the first session were Stevens and Merhi in P18 and P19 respectively, with the Manor drivers finishing behind the McLarens of Button in P16 and Alonso.
At the top of the timesheet, Hamilton was quickest with a time of 1:24.251, just over three tenths ahead of Rosberg. Kimi Räikkönen was third fastest for Ferrari on 1:24.662, with the Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg fourth and fifth respectively. Sainz, meanwhile, made it through as the highest-placed Renault-powered driver, in 12th place.
Hamilton again set the early benchmark in Q2, with the championship making his way to a best time of 1:23.383 ahead of the final runs. He was followed by Räikkönen who was just under four tenths adrift, Vettel and Rosberg.
Ricciardo opted to sit out the session and without a time on the board he qualified in P15. Kvyat and Sainz, meanwhile, chose to battle for position and while Kvyat took provisional P13 with a time of 1:25.796 he was quickly pushed back by Sainz who beat the senior Red Bull driver by almost two tenths of a second. Also eliminated at this point were Nasr in P12 and Lotus' Pastor Maldonado who was pipped to a Q3 berth by Hulkenberg, whose lap of 1:25.510 was 0.015s quicker than that of the Venezuelan.
At the front, Hamilton who sat out the session finished in P1 ahead of Vettel. Raikkonen, who also stayed in the garage for the final runs was fourth ahead of Rosberg and the Williams cars of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas.
After the first runs of Q3 Hamilton, with an opening lap of 1:23.397, was a relatively comfortable three tenths of a second clear of Vettel at the top of the order with Raikkonen third, just seven thousandths of a second behind the German. Rosberg, using the Spa engine, was struggling, however, and after the first runs he was in P5 behind Massa.
He remedied that situation in the final runs, vaulting ahead of the Williams driver by improving to a time of 1:23.703, but it was still only good enough for fourth as both Raikkonen and Vettel found more time. Of the Ferrari drivers it was Räikkönen who succeeded in finding the most time and with a time of 1:23.631 he pipped Vettl to the front row by five hundredths of a second.
Hamilton, meanwhile, failed to improve on his opening lap and closed out his 49th career pole position with just over two tenths of a second in hand over Vettel.
With Massa fifth, Bottas was sixth for Williams ahead of Perez and Grosjean while row five is set to be filled by Hulkenberg and Ericsson in ninth and tenth respectively.Editor F1tour: Augusto Cuestas
|13||55||Carlos Sainz Jr||10||1:25.618|
|FRI practice 1|
|FRI practice 2|
|SAT practice 3|