FORMULA One leader Lewis Hamilton roared to an emotional Belgian Grand Prix pole position on Saturday after being moved to produce a dominant display in qualifying at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
The Briton, who was fastest in each of the three parts of qualifying, went into the hour-long session with news of the death from cancer of film star Chadwick Boseman weighing on his mind.
He responded by pulling out a one minute, 41.252-second lap, the fastest ever around the undulating seven-kilometer track, in a cool, overcast but dry session.
Valtteri Bottas edged out third-placed Max Verstappen to complete a front-row lockout for Mercedes but even his Finnish teammate’s best effort was a whopping 0.511 seconds short of the world champion’s inspired benchmark.
“A superhero died last night,” said Hamilton, a champion of diversity and racial equality, while dedicating his 93rd career pole to Boseman, the actor best known for playing Black Panther in the successful Marvel franchise.
“I was so driven to deliver a good performance today so I could dedicate it to Chad who I was really, really lucky to meet once and tell him how awesome he was,” added the Briton, who earned his fifth pole from seven races this season.
Hamilton has won four of this season’s six races and leads Red Bull’s Verstappen by 37 points in the overall standings.