Belgian F1 GP: Max Verstappen awarded half-points victory at rained-off Spa GP
Belgian F1 GP:
Max Verstappen took a half-points victory at the Belgian F1 GP on Sunday afternoon, though not a single full-throttle lap actually took place at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
The conditions have been inclement all weekend in this particular part of Belgium and, on Sunday, we perhaps had the worst weather of all, with incessant rain falling for the entire afternoon.
Indeed, it delayed the start of the Grand Prix by a full 25 minutes but that would be by no means the last of the hold ups, with the field dipping back into the pitlane after a handful of formation laps behind the Safety Car.
Here, the real wait began as drivers popped in and out of their garages; some giving interviews, some, in the case of Daniel Ricciardo, trying to start a Mexican wave in the stands and some, in the case of Mick Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, started a 2 v 2 football game with an Aston Martin and Haas mechanic: Belgian F1 GP
Red Bull, meanwhile, had more serious work to attend to with Sergio Perez sliding into the wall before we’d even gotten to the grid right at the start of the afternoon.
Feverishly, they worked around the Mexican’s car and managed to get what Christian Horner called a 3-4 hour job done in an hour – a superb feat that would allow Perez to restart the race, though in the end they perhaps needn’t have rushed.
Indeed, it wasn’t until three and a quarter hours after the original planned start time we saw more on-track action, though this again was pedestrian at best.
Around the field trundled behind the Safety Car in what looked like worse conditions than before and, predictably, the red flag was once again called after a couple of laps – this at least meant, though, we’d completed enough ‘racing laps’ – racing used very loosely – to have a classification and a result. Belgian F1 GP
The rules state that full points can only be awarded if 75% of a race is complete at the time of the session ending and, with us nowhere near that milestone, half-points were instead handed out with the final standings taken from Saturday’s qualifying – all bar Sergio Perez who had dropped to last to the benefit mainly of Carlos Sainz who was promoted to tenth. Belgian F1 GP
It all means Lewis Hamilton now leads the Drivers’ standings by three points from Max Verstappen, whilst George Russell gets his first-ever F1 podium with a second place. Belgian F1 GP
A washout, unfortunately, and we head to Zandvoort in a week’s time with hope of some better luck.
Max Verstappen was proclaimed as the winner of a farcical Belgian Grand Prix after only two laps were completed behind a safety car.
The 12th round of the Formula One campaign at a rain-soaked Spa-Francorchamps circuit finished three hours and 44 minutes after it was due to begin when the clock finally stopped on an embarrassing afternoon for the sport.
George Russell took second, with Lewis Hamilton third and half-points awarded.
Hamilton’s championship advantage over Verstappen has been reduced to three points.
Seventy-five thousand fans stood in the persistent drizzle for a race due to start at 3pm, pushed back to 3:10pm, 3:15pm and 3:25pm. The safety car took the field away on a formation lap but after eight minutes the race was stopped.
Following two hours and 47 minutes without any action, the FIA’s race director Michael Masi then gave the green light for the race to resume.
The sodden spectators, those who remained in the hope of a race, pumped their fists in delight, with Verstappen’s fans lighting orange flares on the Kemmel Straight.
But after just two laps completed of the rain-drenched 4.35-mile circuit, the race was red-flagged. The sport’s bosses were facing accusations of a cynical manoeuvre with two laps ensuring a classification could be granted.