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Belgian Grand Prix: Second's best for Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton believes his latest qualifying issue may yet prove to be "a blessing in disguise".

The British driver will start second on the Spa-Francorchamps grid for today's Belgian Grand Prix after finishing a quarter-of-a-second adrift of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in a session dominated by wet conditions sparked by a downpour 40 minutes before it began.

For the German, 11 points clear of Hamilton in the drivers' standings with eight races remaining, it is the 11th pole of his Formula One career, seventh this season and fourth in a row.

Rosberg will likely glean a sense of satisfaction in beating Hamilton again, but from the Englishman's perspective, there was almost a sense of relief in his voice that he had come through qualifying relatively unscathed.

Saturdays of late have proven particularly uncomfortable for the 29-year-old, notably suffering a brake-disc failure in Germany last month that resulted in a high-speed crash into a barrier, and then a week later a fire caused by a fuel leak.

It says something of Hamilton's issues in qualifying that second on the grid represents his best starting position for five races since the Canadian Grand Prix in early June.

In this instance, only a bout of glazing - where the discs have been unable to get up to temperature and so create a polished surface when impacted together - hampered the Briton.

Given Spa is also a track where overtaking is easier than most circuits, and the man on pole has only won six of the last 14 races, Hamilton admitted to being far from disappointed with second.

"In previous years P2 has been the best place to start here, so I feel quite blessed that is the case," said Hamilton.

"To be honest, I'm just happy to be here because I went into qualifying not knowing if the car was going to make it through.

"I'm grateful for all the hard work the team have put in ... it's a great feeling to be back up here."

Braking, however, was hampered as the glazing to the left front resulted in the car pulling to the right, and so time was lost.

"This is a circuit where you need to have confidence on the brakes," added Hamilton.

"You saw at times because of the glazing I was going straight on because the left brake wasn't working. I've had some good and bad experiences so far this season, but this is OK. It might be a blessing in disguise."

The team will be able to work on the brake overnight - the process is known as glaze-busting - to ensure it is in full working order for the race.

"When a brake glazes sometimes it's very hard to recover, especially in the wet. It goes shiny and you lose that bite," said Hamilton.

"You then have to move the brake balance forward, and while you are trying to clear that you are also overheating the rears, so it's not always that easy.

"But over the evening the team are able to scrub it and get rid of the glazing. In the dry it shouldn't be a problem."

Unsurprisingly Mercedes were dominant, as they have been all season, but to such an extent that Sebastian Vettel finished 2.2secs adrift of Rosberg in claiming third place in his Red Bull. Vettel knew he could have done no more.

The reigning champion remarked: "It would be nice to be further up, but the gap is quite big, so it was the best we could do. It was tight behind the Mercedes, but I'm happy with third."

Rosberg could offer no reason as to why he was so far ahead, stating: "It's just amazing to see how quick our car is. So it was just Lewis I had to focus on, which makes it easier too, rather than a whole bunch of people."

And countering Hamilton's remarks regarding starting from second, Rosberg added: "I'm just happy to be first. First is the best position for the race."

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