Rosberg had a poor start and dropped from second to fourth before regaining the second position.
It’s back! nearly a month has passed since Sebastian Vettel’s win in Hungary and now Formula One returns, with the always-tricky Belgian Grand Prix.
And it was a tale of contrasting fortunes for the men who occupied the front row.
Rosberg was left to reflect on another second place and a gap to Hamilton in the standings which now can not be bridged in just one race.
The Williams were up to their tricks, as they seem to struggle throughout practice, but came alive during qualifying and Valtteri Bottas managed to claim the best of the rest spot behind the two Mercedes’.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo, last year’s surprise victor in Spa, will start in fifth place with the Williams of Brazilian Felipe Massa in sixth. He became the first driver since Michael Schumacher 14 years ago to take pole six times runing, and carries a 21-point lead going into Sunday’s race.
Hamilton then laid down the gauntlet to his rivals at the sharp end of the pack with a number of impressive laps. The same can not be said about Nico Hulkenberg, Daniil Kvyat and Marcus Ericsson. More in keeping with tradition, rain is forecast for Sunday. The 2007 world champion was surprisingly signed up by Ferrari for the 2016 campaign earlier this week, but that is where his luck ran out.
Team-mate Nico Rosberg had a brush with disaster when he spun out Friday at 190mph at the infamous high speed Blanchimont bend.
Ricciardo’s race then came to an abrupt end as he stopped with a mechanical issue on the pit straight.
Hamilton’s fastest lap was 1 minute 47.197 seconds 0.458 seconds ahead of Rosberg.
He had a point, but it did not matter. They were proved correct, as the dust settled from the stops and Hamilton had extended his lead further. The different tyre compounds are defined by yellow, for option, and white for the prime. Verstappen took P8, with Bottas taking P9 following his penalty and tyre travails. Down at Marussia, Roberto Merhi beat team mate Will Stevens for the final positions, 15th and 16th.
Spanish McLaren driver Fernando Alonso had another disappointing outing, finishing in 13th place.
R Grosjean (FRA) Lotus 1:48.561
. He even closed in on Hamilton two-thirds of the way through the race before the defending world champion stretched the gap.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel remains third on 160 after a bold move to complete the race on just one pit stop failed on the penultimate lap.
He told BBC Sport: “We have had such a great crowd here this weekend”.
“I am really happy today with the performance of the vehicle and team”, said Hamilton, who last won at Spa in a McLaren in 2010. “But this weekend, I really did the best and extracted the most that I could get out of, if I could say, a weaker circuit for me”. Hamilton returned from the summer break in the F1 schedule to extend his championship lead over his Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg, who finished second.