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Published: 14:20 | 27/8/16

Rosberg on pole for Belgium GP


Mercedes' Nico Rosberg claimed pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

Verstappen, at the age of 18 years and 331 days, will become the youngest driver to start a race on the front row.

"To be so close to Nico on a track with long straights - we can be very pleased with that. I'm very pleased to be second in front of my fans - it's such a great motivation," Verstappen, who was born in Belgium to a Flemish mother and Dutch father, said.

Rosberg, who finished seventh in final practice on Saturday morning, was delighted to take pole after his earlier troubles.

"We had a difficult weekend up to now, especially this morning. We got the job done, having made some changes to the car before qualifying. I'm pleased," he said.

"I'm happy to be on pole, the tyres are going to be difficult, though. There will be a lot going on."

Rosberg's Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton will start from the back of the grid, following a 55-place grid penalty for a series of engine component changes.

World champion Hamilton, who has won six of the last seven races, leads Rosberg by 19 points in the championship standings.

The Ferrari pair of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel will start on the second row, with the Finn 0.198 secs quicker than his German team-mate.

"In the second run it went pretty well. I lost two-tenths in the last chicane, the pole was there. Tomorrow is the race and I think we have to be satisfied," Raikkonen said afterwards.

Four-time world champion Vettel believes either he or Raikkonen can win the race on Sunday, as long as the drivers follow a "smart strategy".

"It's supposed to be cooler tomorrow, but it's been hot all weekend," he told Sky Sports.

"I think we can win this race. It will be key to look after the tyres, we need to be smart with our strategy and go from there."

Daniel Ricciardo will line up fifth for Red Bull, ahead of the Force India pair of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenburg.

Finland's Valtteri Bottas finished eighth, ahead of Britain's Jenson Button in the McLaren and Williams' Felipe Massa in tenth.

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