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Webber set a fast pace early into qualifying, before Button showed his skill in the wet and demanding conditions to post the fastest time toward the end of Q1, giving no indication of the troubles he would later face.

Drivers tried to make the most of the dry parts on the track as they feared more rainfall.

British driver Paul di Resta, who had crashed in Friday’s first practice session, spun his Force India car and although he was able to regain control, he did not make Q2.

Adrian Sutil joined Schumacher in the paddock early into Q2 when his Force India ploughed nose-first into the crash barriers just after the notorious Eau Rouge turn, prompting a red flag and a brief delay as debris was cleared away.

In the rain-marred third practice session, Webber posted the fastest time after being fastest in Friday’s second practice.