Max Verstappen wins a rain soaked 2021 Belgian Grand Prix farce after the race is abandoned after just three laps behind Safety Car.
Verstappen snatched a last-gasp pole in Qualifying yesterday (28 August) which was converted into a win because no racing laps was completed due to torrential conditions.
George Russell and Lewis Hamilton who qualified second and third rounded out the podium ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly.
Sergio Perez crashed on his way to the grid and initially was withdrawn from the race but was eventually was able to re-join after just two formation laps, albeit at the back instead of his qualified seventh place.
Esteban Ocon, Charles Leclerc, Nicholas Latifi and Carlos Sainz consequently were promoted to the final four half-points paying positions, after benefitting from penalties for Valtteri Bottas and Lando Norris as well as Perez’s incident.
In the driver standings, Hamilton’s lead over Verstappen was cut to just three points with 202.5 points to the Dutchman’s 199.5 points.
As rain relentlessly hit Spa Francorchamps like it did all weekend, Sergio Perez became the first casualty of race day after aquaplaning at Les Combes into the barriers on his way to the grid, which meant that the Mexican was unable to take the start just days after signing a contract extension for 2022 season.
Race stewards consequently opted for a Safety Car start for the formation lap after a 25 minutes delay due to the intensified rain, yet the race start procedure was suspended after two formation laps due to horrendous visibility conditions after two formation laps.
Across both formation laps, various drivers including Lando Norris and Antonio Giovinazzi reported aquaplaning and visibility, whilst Verstappen wanted to go racing despite occasionally failing to stay within ten car lengths of the Safety Car and almost rammed into the Safety Car’s rear-end at one point.
During the suspension, Red Bull queried whether Perez could be entered into the race despite having officially withdrawn him from the Grand Prix, following his crash on the way to the grid only to be initially told “no” by Race Director – Michael Masi wo proceeded to U-turn after a review of the rules.
Perez consequently was able to re-join at the back of the grid as the race eventually commenced under a 60 minute time limit nearly three hours later at 5:17pm BST UK Time, only for the race to be red flagged a further nine minutes later then abandoned a further 20 minutes later.
This race in turn set a new F1 record for the shortest race in history after clocking in at just 3m 27.071 seconds.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin|
|13||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo|
|18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin|
|19||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo|
|20||Sergio Perez||Red Bull|
‘bad weather denied us a proper race’
Race winner, Verstappen took to Twitter upon completion of the formal media duties to tweet his disappointment at the rain denying drivers and fans alike ‘a proper race’ in Belgium.
It’s a shame the bad weather denied us a proper race. It’s P1, but the real winners are all the fans that stayed at the track in the rain all day 🖤💛❤️ Incredible 🙌 #BelgianGP 🇧🇪 pic.twitter.com/3bJcoBrJK7
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) August 29, 2021
Russell meanwhile was delighted with his podium finish as he tweeted that this result was deserved no matter the circumstances.
YES GUYS!!! THAT’S A PODIUM!!!
— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) August 29, 2021
Lando Norris meanwhile apologised to fans for failing to deliver a proper green-flag race and shared snaps of his antics during the delay.
Sums up today. Race cancelled and not how I wanted this weekend to end. Sorry to everyone who stood out in the rain waiting for us, you’re all legends, we’ll be back next year 👊 pic.twitter.com/M1Jjp6MI0g
— Lando Norris (@LandoNorris) August 29, 2021