SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium,(Reuters) - Germany's Nico Rosberg set the fastest time in qualifying on Saturday to seize pole position for the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver lapped the 7-kilometer long Spa-Francorchamps circuit in one minute 46.744 seconds.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was second quickest and will start alongside the German on the front row for what is the closest the Dutchman has to a home race on the calendar.
Four-times Belgium winner Kimi Raikkonen was third for Ferrari.
World championship leader Lewis Hamilton, set to start last due to a 55-place engine-related grid penalty, drove only four laps at an easy pace and did not make it beyond the opening phase of qualifying.
The Briton heads into the weekend gunning to become only the third driver to take 50 career wins.
He has won six of the last seven races, four of those in succession, and leads Rosberg by 19 points in the standings.
(Reporting by Abhishek Takle, Editing by Ed Osmond)