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Hamilton storms to record-equalling 68th F1 pole at Spa to draw level with Schumacher

Lewis Hamilton matched Michael Schumacher's F1 pole record at the Belgian Grand Prix, with Sebastian Vettel second.

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Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton stormed to a record-equalling pole in his 200th grand prix at Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday.

Hamilton will start at the front of the grid in his landmark race after smashing the track record at the Belgian Grand Prix to match the great Michael Schumacher's tally of 68 Formula One poles.

Sebastian Vettel took second spot with a rapid lap right at the end of qualifying soon after it was announced that the championship leader has signed a new three-year contract with Ferrari.

Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas claimed third and Kimi Raikkonen will join him on the second row. 

A blistering lap of one minute 42.553 seconds moved Hamilton level with the legendary Schumacher in style after he had also broken the track record earlier in the day.

The Brit, returning from the mid-season break trailing Vettel by 14 points, was fastest in Q1 and Q2 before going even quicker in the final session.

Vettel left his best circuit until last, but the German was 0.242secs slower than title rival Hamilton.

Raikkonen set the pace in the third practice session, but had to settle for fourth spot behind Bottas and the Finn reported vibrations in his Ferrari during qualifying.

Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo will start Sunday's race in fifth and sixth respectively.

Williams pair Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll were eliminated in Q1 and to compound the Brazilian's misery he was given a five-place grid penalty after failing to slow down for double waved yellow flags in the last practice session.

Stoffel Vandoorne will start his home race at the back of the grid due to multiple power unit element changes made to his McLaren.


PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:42.553
2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1:42.795
3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 1:43.094
4. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 1:43.270
5. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1:43.380
6. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 1:43.863
7. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) 1:44.982
8. Sergio Perez (Force India) 1:45.244
9. Esteban Ocon (Force India) 1:45.369
10. Jolyon Palmer (Renault)

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