F1 grid after penalties as Nico Rosberg takes pole in Belgium

BY foxsports • August 27, 2016

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg will start on pole position for Sunday's Belgian GP at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Stavelot, Belgium on Sunday. Rosberg set a 1:46.744 during Saturday's final qualifying session, giving him his sixth pole position in the 13th round of the season.

Rosberg is looking forward to a solid race, after turning his fastest lap during Q2 on soft tires, which he will get to start on on Sunday. Many of the rest of the top 10 starters all qualified on supersoft tires in Q2, and will have to start on them on Sunday. The supersofts are not expected to last for more than a few laps.

Rosberg's Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, was knocked out in Q1 after intentionally not setting a competitive time. Hamilton, along with McLaren's Fernando Alonso and Sauber's Marcus Ericsson, had his car fitted with new engine components this weekend, dropping him to the back of the grid for Sunday. Therefore, he decided to take it easy in qualifying and keep the car in the best condition possible for the race. Alonso, meanwhile, stopped on track during Q1 with mechanical issues and failed to set a time at all.

While Hamilton hopes to rally through the field on Sunday, it may not be as easy as he'd hoped, as tire management is expected to be an issue in Sunday's race.

Knocked out along with Hamilton and Alonso in Q1 were the two Sauber drivers, Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat, and F1 debutant Esteban Ocon, who is making his first start with Manor this weekend at age 19.

The Haas F1 and Renault Sport teammates were eliminated in the second qualifying session, while Toro Rosso and Manor also fell with Carlos Sainz and Pascal Wehrlein failing to advance out of Q2. Esteban Gutierrez - who qualified 13th - will start 18th after the stewards deemed that he had impeded Wehrlein on track during FP3.

In Q3, Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen gave Rosberg a run for his money, much to the delight of his home fans, while his teammate Daniel Ricciardo qualified behind the two Ferraris in fifth. Verstappen became the youngest front-row starter in F1 history by qualifying second.

Unofficial starting grid:

1. Nico Rosberg - Mercedes
2. Max Verstappen - Red Bull
3. Kimi Raikkonen - Ferrari
4. Sebastian Vettel - Ferrari
5. Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull
6. Sergio Perez - Force India
7. Nico Hulkenberg - Force India
8. Valtteri Bottas - Williams
9. Jenson Button - McLaren
10. Felipe Massa - Williams
11. Romain Grosjean - Haas
12. Kevin Magnussen - Renault
13. Jolyon Palmer - Renault
14. Carlos Sainz - Toro Rosso
15. Pascal Wehrlein - Manor
16. Felipe Nasr - Sauber
17. Esteban Ocon - Manor
18. Esteban Gutierrez - Haas (after 5-place penalty)
19. Daniil Kvyat - Toro Rosso
20. Marcus Ericsson - Sauber (after 10-place penalty)
21. Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes (after 55-place penalty)
22. Fernando Alonso - McLaren (after 60-place penalty)