By Robert Haile
Formula One returns after it’s summer break with some major changes.
At the last race in Hungary Sebastian Vettel announced his retirement from the sport leaving a vacant seat at Aston Martin for next season.
Aston Martin moved quickly securing Alpine driver Fernando Alonso as their replacement, Alpine announced reserve driver Oscar Piastri who took to Social Media to say he wasn’t.
Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren have decided to part ways after the Australian has had a difficult spell with the team despite winning at Monza, Italy.
Then Audi made a significant announcement as they will be joining the grid in 2026.
Then we got to the qualifying sessions with penalties for several drivers there would be plenty of movement after the sessions finished.
So Max Verstappen took pole position but will start in fifteenth due to engine component penalties putting Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz on pole.
Sainz said: “We had a good qualifying and I’m happy to be starting on pole here in Spa. It was today’s goal and we achieved it with perfect team work together with Charles.
“Now we need to focus on ourselves and make sure to keep our competitors behind us tomorrow.
“Defending from them won’t be easy, especially at the start, as their performance has been very strong this weekend. I’m ready for a race in which we will fight with everything we have to bring home another win. In terms of race pace, I think we should be competitive.”
Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas’s run of 148 qualifying progressions came to an end as the Finnish driver finished twentieth, where he would have started due to engine component penalties.
The retiring Vettel missed out on the second session by 0.002 seconds to Haas’ Mick Schumacher as Nicholas Latifi’s Williams, Kevin Magnussen’s Haas and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda all were eliminated.
In the second session Williams’ Alex Albon and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo battled for tenth with the outgoing Aussie missing out by a tenth of a second.
While the usual suspects made it through to the top ten shootout Schumacher, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu and Aston Martin’s all went out.
With Verstappen set to be sent to the back along with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and McLaren’s Lando Norris it was a six way shootout for who could benefit.
Verstappen came out and dominated the session reminding the others what they would face as Sainz slotted into second place with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez in third with Leclerc in fourth.
While Alpine would have been happy with fifth and sixth Ocon heads to seventeenth while Alonso moves up to third.
Hamilton starts ahead of Russell with Albon in his first outing in the shootout moving up to sixth from ninth and Norris will drop to eighteenth from tenth.
Belgian Grand Prix Qualifying
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull)*
- Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)
- Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
- Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)*
- Esteban Ocon (Alpine)*
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
- George Russell (Mercedes)
- Fernando Alonso (Alpine)
- Alex Albon (Williams)
- Lando Norris (McLaren)*
- Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)
- Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)
- Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo)*
- Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)
- Mick Schumacher (Haas)*
- Sebastian Vettel (Aston Marin)
- Nicholas Latifi (Williams)
- Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
- Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)
- Vallteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)
* Verstappen, Leclerc, Ocon, Norris, Guanyu, Schumacher start at the back due to engine and gearbox penalties while Bottas has a 30 place penalties