Lewis Hamilton secured pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes teammate Valteri Bottas and in doing so equalled the legendary Michael Schumacher's record of 68 career poles.

Hamilton recorded a sensational lap of 1:42.553 to secure pole position in sublime style ahead of Vettel, who on another day would have surely reached top spot with a time only 0.242 seconds slower than the Englishman.

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. Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo finished behind Raikkonen to cover the third row.

Ferrari had seemed to have the edge over Mercedes earlier in the weekend, but Hamilton managed to pull off an extraordinary lap and paid tribute to Schumacher after setting a new track record in Spa.

Formula One managing director Ross Brawn relayed a message from the Schumacher family to Hamilton, which read: "Schumacher always said records are there to be beaten and they want to say a special thanks."

After recording the stupendous lap and hearing Schumacher's message, Hamilton told BBC Sport: "Big shout out to the fans here. I can't believe it. A big thank you to my team, Ross Brawn was a big part of that. This is one of my favourite circuits so to put a lap together like that is like a dream.

"To hear that message Ross just gave, a big thank you. I pray for Michael and his family all the time. I have always admired him and still do today. 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."

The praise will be heaped upon Hamilton after his exploits in qualifying, but he knows that there is much work yet to be done in Spa. Despite having to contend with second place, Vettel, who extended his contract with Ferrari to 2020, looked in fine fettle on the track and will be hoping to build on his 14-point lead over Hamilton in Spa, where he emerged victorious in 2011 and 2013.

Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton
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