Hamilton: Belgian GP pole 'one of hardest ever'
Watch the Belgian GP LIVE on Sky Sports F1 on Sunday from 12.30pm
Lewis Hamilton has described his pole position for the Belgian GP as one of the hardest of his F1 career.
After beating both title rival Sebastian Vettel and dry-then-wet conditions at Spa, the championship leader will start Sunday's race - underway at 2.10pm and live on Sky F1 - on pole position for the 78th time in his career.
"That was one of the hardest qualifying sessions l can remember," said a jubilant Hamilton.
"None of us have been driving in the rain this weekend so l cannot even express to you how difficult that was."
Ferrari were fastest in all three practice sessions heading into qualifying and appeared to possess a distinct - if slight - advantage over their Mercedes rivals.
But Hamilton doesn't subscribe to the theory that Ferrari would have been unbeatable had conditions remained dry.
"I didn't want it to rain, I was looking forward to it being close in the dry. Ferrari had the upper hand but I thought maybe I had enough to get ahead of them, which is an exciting prospect," he said.
Where did it go wrong for Ferrari?
Ultimately, qualifying amounted to another below-par return for Ferrari given their pace in practice.
While Vettel was beaten by Hamilton, albeit with the consolation of a front-row starting berth, team-mate Kimi Raikkonen will start just sixth after being denied a late run when the track dried after Ferrari to short-fuel the Finn.
"The end result is pretty poor," said Raikkonen. "We need to see what happened. There was time left and we had to pit - far from ideal."
Vettel appeared subdued in the post-qualifying press conference and admitted: "It was a bit chaotic and not great from a management point of view. I don't feel we put everything together in the last lap, we ran out of battery.
"It wasn't a nice ending to a great qualifying up to that point. It's great fun but obviously not very rewarding when you know you could have done a bit better."
The German added: "There was confusion. And maybe I wasn't as calm as I could have been in the car."
'Expect a thriller at Spa'
Reaction from Sky F1's Damon Hill: "It's another blow to the confidence of Sebastian Vettel. Lewis' talent shines through in situations like that.
"We are in for a thriller tomorrow because the big guns are out."