Hamilton imperious in Belgium as he claims pole position

Lewis HamiltonLewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton dedicates his pole position to Chadwick Boseman

Lewis Hamilton blitzed his competition as he claimed a 93rd career pole position and a record sixth at Spa-Francorchamps for Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix.

The championship leader looked in ominous form heading into qualifying, and beat Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas by over half a second, with Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen in third.

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Following the sad news that actor Chadwick Boseman, star of Black Panther, had died of colon cancer overnight, Hamilton dedicated his pole position to the 43-year-old.

"It's a really important pole for me because I woke up to the saddest news about Chadwick passing away. It has been such a heavy year for all of us and that news really broke me. It was hard to focus, but I wanted to drive to perfection. What he has done for our people, he was such a shining light.

"Today it was a clean session, every lap was better and better. It was incredible, that session. I didn't make any mistakes, but that Q3 run first off was ace. But I got stronger, I saw I was up out of the first corner and kept eeking it out. It was a very very, VERY good lap!

"We're not the strongest in the first and last sectors, but we're really strong in the middle. I wanted to be out in clean air and not worry about people being ahead of me. I didn't want anything in my way so it worked out perfectly."

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Bottas, who sits third in the championship standings believes starting second may give him an advantage heading up the hill towards Les Combes on the first lap.

The Finn said: "The second run felt pretty good overall, so I don't know why the gap was so big. But I know second is a good place to start here so it might be a good run up to Turn 5.

"I need to attack Lewis is I still have any title hopes. I will definitely go for it and the first lap is a great time to go for it."

Verstappen, who was just 0.01s behind Bottas in qualifying, added: "For us, it has been a positive weekend when we thought it would be very tricky. Overall, I can be very pleased. It's a good day and leaves us with a lot of opportunities for tomorrow.

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"I don't think we can fight Lewis, but around here you never know. I hope the weather might come into play, it makes things a bit more difficult and a bit more fun."

Renault's pace from free practice was carried into qualifying as Daniel Ricciardo was fourth and Esteban Ocon sixth, either side of the Red Bull of Alex Albon. Carlos Sainz put his McLaren seventh, ahead of the Racing Points of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll, with Lance Stroll rounding out the top 10.