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Hamilton hoping gamble pays off ahead of Belgium race

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Lewis Hamilton is hoping a setup gamble pays off during the Belgian Grand Prix after qualifying third while title rival Max Verstappen took pole at Spa.

Hamilton was able to snatch provisional pole in Q3 after a lengthy red flag delay caused by Lando Norris’ crash at Radilion.

But the seven-time world champion was shockingly beaten by Williams’ George Russell, who was then himself pipped by Max Verstappen.

Despite a tricky Saturday, Hamilton is hopeful the setup of the Mercedes will allow him to optimise his race pace.

“It’s been a very difficult day I think for everyone,” Hamilton said after qualifying.

“Maybe it’s not the best for today but I think we will see tomorrow how exactly good it is. Otherwise, I am grateful to the team for just keeping their cool for this session and tomorrow is another day.

“Hopefully, we have better weather, hopefully for the fans particularly because they’re drenched out there.”

Verstappen took his sixth pole of the year compared to Hamilton’s three

Hamilton currently leads Verstappen by eight points in the championship battle but is wary of losing that lead during Sunday’s race.

The other Red Bull of Sergio Perez was able to qualify seventh, and while Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas was eighth quickest, he will receive a five-place grid penalty for the incident he caused in Budapest before the summer break.

Despite having a disadvantage in terms of strategic options compared to Red Bull, Hamilton is hoping the conditions could play in his favour.

“I don’t really know what happened with Valtteri, but unfortunate because I think they have two Red Bulls not too far away,” he added.

“That’s going to make it a little bit harder in terms of strategy because Valtteri has a penalty also.

“Nonetheless, we will do everything we can. As I said, tomorrow is another day.

“I hope it’s not crazy rain like this but interchangeable could be fun.”

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