Formula One
Button races to first pole for McLaren
The Belgium Grand Prix is perfectly poised after unpredictable qualifying session ends with McLaren's Jenson Button top.
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2012 17:39
Not a familiar top three! Kobayashi (L) and Maldonado (R) join Button on the podium after qualifying [EPA]

There were surprises around every corner of qualifying for the Belgium Grand Prix on Saturday. 

First was the speed of McLaren driver Jenson Button who at long last ended his pole duck. It was remarkably the Brits' first ever pole position for McLaren and since the 2009 Monaco Grand Prix. The 2009 World Champion hasn't led the field for 60 races and claimed the result was like winning a Grand Prix for him.  

Button was fastest on a grid which has taken an even stranger shape than before the break. Few would have predicted Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi in second place (his highest ever start) and Pastor Maldonado in third on Sunday. However, the Venezuelan was later demoted three grid positions to sixth for holding up Force India's Nico Hulkenberg on a turn. 

Lotus' Kimmi Raikkonen moved up to third to replace Maldonado. 

Button clocked a best lap time at the historic Spa Francorchamps circuit of 1 min 47.573 sec, edging out Kobayashi by two tenths of a second.  

Reigning Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel did not even qualify for Q3 and will have to get his season back on track from 11th position. Current leader Fernando Alonso starts in fifth with Lewis Hamilton in a frustrating seventh position alongside Mark Webber.    

Sauber completed a very successful day with Sergio Perez starting in fourth position. 

Romain Grosjean and Paul Di Resta completed the top 10 places.

With a grid like this, it is anyone's guess who can claim the title in Belgium, a track which provides plenty of opportunities for overtaking.

Can the strangest season for many years get even stranger?

Grid for Belgium Grand Prix: 

1st row
Jenson Button (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes)
Kamui Kobayashi (JPN/Sauber-Ferrari)

2nd row
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Lotus-Renault)
Sergio Perez (MEX/Sauber-Ferrari)

3rd row
Fernando Alonso (ESP/Ferrari)
Pastor Maldonado (VEN/Williams-Renault) 

4th row
Lewis Hamilton (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes)
Romain Grosjean (FRA/Lotus-Renault)

5th row
Paul di Resta (GBR/Force India-Mercedes)
Sebastian Vettel (GER/Red Bull-Renault)

6th row
Nico Hülkenberg (GER/Force India-Mercedes)
Mark Webber (AUS/Red Bull-Renault)

7th row
Michael Schumacher (GER/Mercedes-AMG)
Felipe Massa (BRA/Ferrari)

8th row
Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA/Toro Rosso-Ferrari)
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Toro Rosso-Ferrari)

9th row
Bruno Senna (BRA/Williams-Renault)
Heikki Kovalainen (FIN/Caterham-Renault)

10th row
Vitaly Petrov (RUS/Caterham-Renault)
Timo Glock (GER/Marussia-Cosworth)

11th row
Pedro de la Rosa (ESP/HRT-Cosworth)
Charles Pic (FRA/Marussia-Cosworth)

12th row
Nico Rosberg (GER/Mercedes-AMG)
Narain Karthikeyan (IND/HRT-Cosworth)


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