Qualifying: Vettel takes pole at last moment
In an exciting qualifying, Sebastian Vettel secured pole position ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber. Completing the Top Five are Felipe Massa and Nico Rosberg. Bruno Senna put in a convincing performance in his first qualifying session for Lotus Renault GP and will start from seventh, just behind Jaime Alguersuari.
Team-mate Vitaly Petrov finished in tenth place behind Alonso and Perez. Unlike the third free practice session, qualifying started in the dry. The rain returned only towards the end of Q1, affecting some parts of the track more than others.
However, the weather was not a factor in the incident that ruined Michael Schumacher's anniversary weekend. The Mercedes GP driver crashed into the barriers when his rear wheel came loose, which means he will now be starting the Belgian Grand Prix from the last row. Also going out in Q1 were Paul di Resta, Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock.
Although Daniel Ricciardo, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Jerome d'Ambrosio didn't quite manage to overcome the 107-percent threshold, it's safe to assume that all three will be permitted to race on Sunday. Heikki Kovalainen put in an impressive display, making it through to Q2 for the third time this season in a lower-league Lotus.
The rain eased off during the second round, but the drivers still had a massive challenge to qualify for the Top 10. At the entrance to Eau Rouge, a second German driver exited the proceedings in an undignified fashion. Adrian Sutil came unstuck on the white markings and spun off the track directly into the barriers. "It was only a minor impact," said the Force India man. "I'm OK, but it was enough to damage the car. I'm hugely disappointed, but it's a long race and there are plenty of opportunities for overtaking here. We have a fast car on the straights. I would prefer to be nearer the front of the grid, but I can't do anything about that now."
The session was briefly interrupted for the incident, and when it restarted, the rain promptly set in again. In the closing minutes, Jenson Button missed out due to a tactical mistake by the team. Buemi, Kobayashi, Barrichello, Sutil, Maldonado and Kovalainen also went out in Q2.