By Alex Kapadia
Red Bull racing driver Mark Webber powered to his fifth pole of the season using Bridgestone’s soft tyres ahead of tomorrows Belgian Grand Prix.
With mixed weather conditions at the Spa Francorchamps circuit the full complement of tyres were used today, with wet and intermediate as well as hard and soft dry slick tyres.
McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton joins Webber at the front of the grid, after setting the second fastest time late in the qualifying session despite rainfall on sections of the track.
Hirohide Hamashima, director of motorsport tyre development for Bridgestone, said: “Today was all about timing. The challenge for teams and drivers was ensuring they were on the right tyre at the right time.
“Mark timed his pole lap to perfection, but Lewis drove exceptionally well to set the second fastest lap despite the rain falling once more.
“Again, it was a difficult day for everyone with numerous rain showers. We saw use of our full range of tyres here today. The qualifying sessions were particularly difficult, leaving us with an interesting grid for tomorrow’s race.”
He added that teams will have to take several factors into consideration ahead of tomorrow’s race. “The first consideration is the weather. If there is any rain tomorrow, teams will have to evaluate the usable wet and intermediate tyres they have left from their allocations for the weekend and decide which will be best for the conditions.
“If there are many rain showers in the race it will be difficult in terms of tyre management because a drying track wears the wet and intermediate tyres very quickly.
“If the track is damp, a set of previously used intermediate tyres could be the best solution for the conditions.
“With such a long lap here, it is very difficult for everyone to make the correct choice, and the penalty for being on the wrong tyre is amplified by the length of the lap.
“If it is dry tomorrow, there will be the interest of which dry compound performs best. As we have had so little dry running so far there is little performance data so teams will have to be very reactive in their strategies.
“I will be very surprised if we have a dull race tomorrow.”