Lewis Hamilton delivered two successive record breaking qualifying laps to claim his sixth Belgian Grand Prix pole position and a record-increasing 93rd of his career with a flawless demonstration of speed on Saturday.
The championship leader and six-time champion clocked a best lap in one minute and 41.252 seconds in the final seconds of a session that he dominated in a personal tribute to the Hollywood film actor Chadwick Boseman, who died on Friday.
His Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas was second, to complete another ‘black arrows’ front row of the grid, but he was more than half a second adrift of Hamilton’s pace.
It was Hamilton’s fifth pole in seven races this year, a feat he said he had wanted to achieve in memory of Boseman whose life had been an inspiration to Hamilton.
“Today was a very, very clean session for me and the end of the lap was getting better and better. We did such a lot of work for this in the background.
“This is a really important pole for me because I woke up to the saddest news of Chadwick passing away… It has been such a heavy year for all of us so it rocked me. I wanted to go out there and drive to perfection because of what he has done for our people and how he has shown young kids what is possible.”
Max Verstappen, who trails Hamilton by 37 points in the drivers’ title race, took third place for Red Bull ahead of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, who aborted his final lap, and Alex Albon in the second Red Bull.
Esteban Ocon took sixth place in the second Renault ahead of Carlos Sainz of McLaren, the two Racing Points of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll, and Lando Norris in the second McLaren.
After winning last year’s race, Charles Leclerc and his Ferrari team-mate four-time champion Sebastian Vettel were eliminated during Q2 and will start Sunday’s race from 13th and 14th positions.