Things Spa-Francorchamps and spas have in common: they’re both expensive to visit, you’ll end up getting pretty wet, they’re both (usually) in the middle of the countryside and you’ll leave smelling of lavender and massage oil (ok, we made that last one up).

But one thing is for sure … Formula 1 could not have returned to a better circuit after the seemingly endless 2013 summer break. Spa-Francorchamps is truly one of the greats, and it’s not just because of all the precipitation (that’s a fancy word for rain – you’re welcome) – the circuit is pretty magical and Eau Rouge has to be up there as one of the most famous corners on the F1 calendar.

Today’s qualifying for the 2013 Belgian grand prix was, without a doubt, the best of the season and here’s why…

Q1 – Wet Wet Dry

As is always the case in qualifying 1, the most interesting bit was the final 2 minutes of the session. Maldonado, with fresh inters, pulled out a blinder. Then Bottas took 2nd. Then Di Resta took 1st … and then it just got too confusing to follow.

In the end, it was a bizarre result – Bianchi in the Marussia was placed 10th and both Caterhams got through to Q2! Who needs sprinklers when you have the Belgian grand prix (we’re talking to you, Bernie Ecclestone)?

Bad news for Daniel Ricciardo who was dropped in Q1. Way to impress your new bosses (if the rumours are to be believed).

Credit: Mercedes AMG Petronas
Credit: Mercedes AMG Petronas

Q2 – It’s anyone’s guess

As the Caterham team scrabbled around shouting “bugger, what is this ‘Q2’ everyone is talking about?”, Webber got off the mark (get it?) and put in a tidy time at the beginning of the session.

McLaren’s Jenson Button was surprisingly speedy in Q2, only about 3 tenths off the pace.

Drop zone: Hulkenberg, Sutil, Perez, VDG, Bianchi and Chilton.

Q3 – Umbrellas at the ready … go!

The umbrellas went up again just in time for Q3. Thank you, weather gods. The drivers all headed out straight away on slicks in an attempt to make the most of a (vaguely) dry track, but it was time for inters as the cars made a mad dash back to the pits for the correct tyres. Just to make things interesting, the rain then got heavier and heavier…

But in a stroke of strategic genius, Paul Di Resta had set out on inters from the beginning of Q3 and was able to set a “fast” time of 2 minutes while the track was still relatively dry.

Try as they might, the other drivers could not get near Di Resta’s time until the rain suddenly cleared (I know, you can’t make this up!) and then Rosberg went fastest, then Webber, then Vettel (noooo) and then, in the final moments of the session, Hamilton took pole from them all.

The famously cheery *ahem* Paul Di Resta will probably be calling BBC Weather immediately to complain.

The Provisional Grand Prix

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes
2Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault
3Mark WebberRed Bull Racing-Renault
4Nico RosbergMercedes
5Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes
6Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes
7Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault
8Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault
9Fernando AlonsoFerrari
10Felipe MassaFerrari
11Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari
12Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes
13Sergio PerezMcLaren-Mercedes
14Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault
15Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth
16Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth
17Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault
18Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Ferrari
19Daniel RicciardoSTR-Ferrari
20Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault
21Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari
22Charles PicCaterham-Renault