Mercedes fits upgraded engine for Belgian GP

Mercedes: Driver line-up

Stoffel Vandoorne, who will continue to race for McLaren next season, was 10th in the order, while his team-mate Fernando Alonso, whose future is rather less certain, finished 13th.

"I knew it was on the horizon and at some stage I would be getting that 68th pole but hadn't thought about it much".

Mercedes are firm on equal treatment for their drivers, and Hamilton's fair play stood out in the last race before the August break when he relinquished third place to team-mate Valtteri Bottas on the last lap under a prior agreement. "I was waiting for Lewis to make a mistake but he didn't", Vettel said after the race.

Hamilton responded by saying that it was a very special moment for him in his Formula 1 career.

An emotional Hamilton, who was nearly a quarter of a second faster than championship leader Sebastian Vettel, said: "To hear the message that Ross just gave, I have to say a big thank you".

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"I'm not happy with myself, not happy with the auto, so I think we have a little bit to come", said the four-time former world champion who leads the title race ahead of Hamilton by 14 points.

In a further boost for Hamilton, championship leader Sebastian Vettel was only fifth behind Red Bull's Max Verstappen in P2.

"Lewis has been really on it but I am slightly confused why I have not been able to get quite close enough, so I still need to find some answers from me". "I still feel young at heart - so it's good. I am honoured to be there with him now on the pole positions, but he will still be one of the greatest of all time".

"It's nearly insane to think I've reached Michael's record, a fantastic milestone".

"So I'm very, very happy".

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He said: "I can't believe it".

Mercedes were denied a one-two as Vettel sandwiched himself in between Hamilton and Bottas, who finished ahead of the German's Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

"I think we had really good pace if you compare this track to Silverstone we did better here. It was very hard to follow in the middle sector, but we stayed close, then we benefitted a little bit in the first and the last sector, but overall the auto was very good".

Hamilton's lap in 1min 42.553sec was the all-time record fastest at the spectacular Spa-Francorchamps circuit in the forests of the Belgian Ardennes, 0.242 seconds quicker than Vettel. "I'm in no hurry, I know that I am in a good position", he said.

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