By Robert Haile
After two crashes in two days and heavy rain causing poor visibility Max Verstappen won a very short Belgium Grand Prix today, August 29.
Race winner Verstappen said: “It is always good to win and the points are important but today is not how anyone wants to do it, especially on our 50th start with Honda. In hindsight it was very important to get pole yesterday and although it’s a big shame not to do some proper racing laps, as I really love coming to this track, it was just impossible in these conditions.
“I thought maybe at 15:30 the conditions were a bit better than just now when we tried to re-start but the visibility was still very low and I understand why we couldn’t race today. For me in the lead the visibility was a lot better, even with the Safety Car ahead, but the guys behind me couldn’t see a single thing and if someone went off at Eau Rouge and bounced back onto the track they could have been T-boned at high speed which we do not want.
“It was also extremely low grip and because it kept raining all afternoon it just didn’t improve. I think today the big credit goes to the fans around the track who stayed here the whole day in the rain, wind and cold. It must have been horrible to sit in those conditions so a big thanks goes to them and they should be the real winners from today.
“Now we have to keep on pushing and trying to regain the championship lead. I’m confident we have a good car and there is a long way to go so we just need to make sure we get the best performance out of it for the rest of the season.”
Cleared to race after his crash in the final qualifying session, Landon Norris would start fourteenth after McLaren replaced the gearbox in the car and taking a five place penalty.
On his way to the grid Red Bull’s Sergio Perez crashed and damaged the cars suspension but with the three hour delay the team repaired the car to start from the back behind Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo who had replaced the cars rear wing.
The race eventually started from the pit lane behind the Safety Car at 18:15 leaving an hour for the race to take place.
With round nine miles and three laps completed the race was red flagged making it the shortest Grand Prix in history but with two laps completed half points were awarded.
After claiming his first podium Russell said: “The conditions were incredibly difficult out there and even in second with only one car in front, sometimes I couldn’t even see Max (Verstappen) ahead. I’m really sorry for everyone at the track and those watching around the world that we couldn’t race but safety has to come first.
“It’s a strange feeling as I’ve never had a race finish like this in my career, but a podium is a podium and we will take it no matter what. We were rewarded for the amazing job we did as a team yesterday. Obviously if the race had gone ahead today it would have been incredibly difficult for us to hold our position, but you’ve got to take it as it comes.
“It was only last race in Hungary that I scored my first points for Williams and here we are standing on the podium at the Belgian Grand Prix! It is a reward for all of the hard work everyone in the team has put in over these past three years.”
This is the only Grand Prix completed with no racing meaning Verstappen taking first with George Russell’s Williams and Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes completing the podium.
A disappointed Hamilton said: “Firstly, I’m really disappointed for the fans. It’s no one’s fault, you can’t control the weather, but the fans have been incredible today, sticking with us the whole time, holding out for a potential race, keeping their energy up and creating the atmosphere.
“They were robbed of a race today, unfortunately. I love racing in the rain, but today was something else. You couldn’t see the car ahead, there was aquaplaning, it was so, so tricky out there.
“It’s a shame because of course I wanted to race and I love this track as well. I think it would have been a great race if it hadn’t rained so hard, but unfortunately it just didn’t stop.”
McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth, Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin fifth, Pierre Gasly sixth for AlphaTauri and Esteban Ocon in seventh for Alpine.
Ferrari finished in the points with Charles Leclerc in eighth and Carlos Sainz in tenth and Williams Nicholas Latifi in between in ninth to complete the points.
Formula 1 will head to the Netherlands for the Dutch Grand Prix on 3-5 September.
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 202.5
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 199.5
- Lando Norris (McLaren) – 113
- Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 108
- Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – 104
- Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) – 83.5
- Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 82
- Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) – 56
- Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) – 54
- Esteban Ocon (Alpine) – 42
- Fernando Alonso (Alpine) – 38
- Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) – 35
- Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) – 18
- Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) – 18
- George Russel (Williams) – 13
- Nicholas Latifi (Williams) – 7
- Kimi Räikkönen (Alfa Romeo) – 2
- Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) – 1
- Mick Schumacher (Haas) – 0
- Nikita Mazepin (Haas) – 0
- Mercedes – 310
- Red Bull – 303
- McLaren – 169
- Ferrari – 165
- Alpine – 80
- AlphaTauri – 72
- Aston Martin – 53
- Williams – 20
- Alfa Romeo – 3
- Haas – 0