Another rip roaring performance by Lewis Hamilton for the all-important qualifying led to a decisive pole position for the Mercedes driver, the 93rd of a glittery career, a career without any full stops, whatsoever.
Teammate Valtteri Bottas consistently quick, but not quick enough to beat Hamilton in imperious form finished second, in yet anther Mercedes 1-2 for the season. The Finn turned 31 a day earlier.
It was a strong start to the Belgian Grand Prix weekend for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who’ll begin his 2020 race at Spa from third on the grid.
Fundamentally speaking, the pecking order right up top didn’t really throw up any massive performances, the three best drivers of the season bagging their respective and usual front-end positions.
But there was massive boost for Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, who in the form of his fighting fourth, despite persistent brake troubles, gathered his best-ever starting position for the Belgian Grand Prix.
Further down in fifth, eight tenths down on pole sitter Hamilton was the other Red Bull driver, Alex Albon, the man fast emerging with a glowing reputation to execute hot overtakes.
A competitive, packed midfield
Meanwhile, Esteban Ocon, seen in good form throughout Friday, collected an important sixth for Renault as once again, the French constructor saw both drivers bagging very valuable top-ten finishes on Saturday.
Mclaren’s Carlos Sainz led teammate Norris, in a decent seventh, followed by the two Racing Points of Perez and Stroll, as his English teammate Lando Norris bagged tenth.
It was a disappointing day for Kvyat and Gasly who seemingly sandbagged in their Alpha Tauris, the Russian outscoring his French teammate in Q3.
But qualifying at Spa-Francorchamps produced the biggest heartbreak for the two Ferraris; Leclerc and Vettel down in thirteenth and fourteenth, respectively. Never in the last decade of racing at Spa have the Ferraris fared so despicably low. Another reminder of how poorly has the Scuderia fallen off the radar, Vettel and Leclerc launching big wins here in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
Any positive development for the two Ferraris drivers would only mean finishing north of where they end up post the 44-lap challenge at the 7-km track.
The backmarkers- usual suspects!
Further down the field, familiar troubles ensued for the Williams and the two Alfas with George Russell managing a respectable if not a fearsome fifteenth; the Englishman followed by Kimi Raikkonen, a four-time winner at the famous venue back in the day.
On a day where both Haas cars struggled to put a decent lap together, French-Swiss driver Romain Grosjean gathered seventeenth, followed by Giovinazzi, Latifi, and Magnussen, in eighteenth, nineteen, and twentieth, respectively.
Moving back to the men with the top honours for the qualifying battle, much of what transpires on Sunday will be down to Lewis Hamilton, who certainly looks in fantastic shape to gather a fourth win at the noted pacey venue. Remember, Hamilton is already a clincher of five pole positions at Spa, one of the fastest tracks on the roaster.
What can happen on Sunday?
It’ll be interesting to see if Valtteri Bottas, who’s never previously won at Spa-Francorchamps, can beat Hamilton, although, by the looks of it, the defending world champion seems in a ballistic missile speed mode and hence, out of trouble’s way.
And if that were to happen any which way, much of Sunday’s epic battle could be down to Max Verstappen coming into his own.
Unless, of course, one were to forget that third place on the grid is not the worst possible position from which to challenge the cars up in front.