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Formula One

Hamilton takes pole from Red Bulls Vettel and Webber

British driver Lewis Hamilton has taken pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix after bagging the fastest time in qualifying. Starting out in second place will be the German Red Bull star Sebastian Vettel.

Lewis Hamilton landed his fourth consecutive pole position in changing conditions during qualifying at the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday.

"I just can't believe it," said Hamilton over the team radio, having screamed with delight on crossing the line.

The Mercedes driver secured the front spot with a late lap of two minutes and 1.012 seconds. He recorded the time in a competitive race that saw the leading time change in similar fashion to the weather at the Spa racetrack.

Red Bull's Mark Webber had notched up the fastest lap with a time of two minutes 1.325 seconds, before teammate Sebastian Vettel was able to outdo him by clocking up just two minutes 1.200 seconds.

Force India's Paul di Resta had posted a fastest time after taking advantage of the onset of rain to change his tires to intermediate. This was then surpassed by Hamilton's teammate Nico Rosberg, before Red Bull began their onslaught.

"I am so surprised. When I started the lap, I looked at the screen and I was seventh or eighth and it was raining more and more," said Hamilton after the race. "I just kept pushing."

A win for Hamilton would keep him in contention for the drivers' title, being 48 points behind Vettel at present. Although Loutus' Kiki Raikkonen is in second place with 10 more than Hamilton, the Briton's form means he is tipped as the strongest challenger.

"Lewis had quite an impressive middle sector, he was right behind me," said Vettel. "I could have gone a little bit quicker here and there."

Di Resta finished the session in fifth place, while Rosberg starts on the grid in fourth place for Sunday's race.

rc/hc (FP,dpa, Reuters)