McLaren’s Jenson Button earned his first pole of the 2012 Formula 1 season following a scorching performance today during qualifying at the Belgian Grand Prix. He stunned all with a time of 1:47.654 in the second session, but then returned in the third to cut it down to just 1:47.573.

The next fastest time was from Kamui Kobayashi, who showed yesterday during the first practice sessions that the summer break has certainly benefited him and his Sauber team. His best time was 1:47.871.

Third fastest of the day was Williams’ Pastor Maldonado with a best time of 1:47.893, followed by Lotus’ Kimi Räikkönen with a best time of 1:48.205, and Sauber’s Sergio Perez with a best time of 1:47.980. Current points leader, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, was the sixth fastest of the day, having posted a best time of 1:48.313.

The big upset of the day was the performance of Sebastian Vettel, who failed to make it through to the third qualifying session and will have to start at 11th on the grid tomorrow. Currently third on the points table, without a strong performance come race day the reigning world champion's chances of a third crown grow much slimmer.

Vettel’s Red Bull Racing teammate, Mark Webber, also suffered from some bad luck. Currently second on the points table, the Australian qualified seventh but will drop five places on the grid as a penalty for a gearbox change.

Going into tomorrow’s race, Fernando Alonso leads the points table in the Drivers’ Championship with 164 points, followed by Mark Webber on 124 points and his teammate Sebastian Vettel rounding out the top three with 122 points.

For the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull Racing has a commanding lead of 246 points versus the 193 points of McLaren and 192 points of Lotus.