In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes leads with 383 points followed by Ferrari with 236 and Williams with 151.
Rosberg, slow off the start-line, recovered to finish second with Romain Grosjean benefiting from Sebastian Vettel’s late puncture to take the final spot on the podium. It was the same tyre that had failed on Rosberg’s Mercedes during Friday practice. “Something broke”, Raikkonen said.
Lewis Hamilton blew away his rivals to claim his sixth straight pole position for Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix.
Finland’s Valtteri Bottas qualified third for Williams and will be joined on the second row by Force India’s Mexican Sergio Perez due to a five-place grid penalty for Lotus’s Romain Grosjean ahead of him.
Hamilton had a brief concern when Rosberg somehow closed the gap by a second while the field was being controlled by the virtual safety vehicle after Ricciardo’s auto broke down on the pit straight on lap 21.
Hamilton is looking to increase his 21-point lead over Rosberg in the drivers’ standings and take his sixth victory of the season.
However, when Vettel pitted for fresh rubber, Hamilton reclaimed first place in the race standings with Rosberg, Perez and Ricciardo behind him.
The summer break is over but the Mercedes dominance in qualifying is most certainly not. But unlike Mercedes, he did not stop again for fresh tyres.
The penalties for Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso mean that they will start at the back of the grid even in the next race. Grosjean was making moves already as he fashioned two passes at Les Combes, one on Daniel Ricciardo and one on Perez to take third.
His team-mate Kimi Raikkonen went from 16th to 11th in the same four opening laps and came home in seventh, defending strongly from Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen who finished eighth.
“That was not a nice experience”, said Rosberg, whose wife Vivian is expecting their first child at any time.
While Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson picked up the final point in tenth place.
“An incredible weekend”, Hamilton said. The Ferrari team have overall had a tough weekend as Vettel managed just ninth after showing good early pace in Q1 & Q2.
“I was being very cautious the last two laps, and Nico was allowed to close the gap, but I felt really under control the whole way and had good assistance from the team”.
“I completely messed up the start”, Rosberg said. “Lewis did a great job and deserved the win”. “I tried everything but Lewis knew how to react”.
“With the new starts system there’s a lot more opportunity and there’s the long run down to Turn 5 so my hopes are still high”. I would assume so, given the importance of reactions, co-ordination and running both metaphorical and literal well-oiled machines (unless you’re McClaren HA HA HA LOOK THE LIVEBLOGGER MAN DID A FUNNY).
Rosberg’s tyre failure also reminded all observers of the similar spectacular tyre explosions during the 2013 British Grand Prix weekend.
“I had it where I wanted it and it was the same at the last race and we are gelling more than ever, with the engineers, and we have a great package together now”.