VERSTAPPEN TAKES HALF-POINTS VICTORY IN SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS WASHOUT
Max Verstappen scored his first Belgian Grand Prix victory after the race at the Spa-Francorchamps was red flagged after just three laps behind the safety car due to heavy rain that had delayed the race start for more than three hours. Williams’ George Russell took the first podium finish of his career with second place, while3 Lewis Hamilton finished third for Mercedes.
With downpours regularly falling across the Ardennes circuit throughout the morning, conditions in the build-up to the were extremely difficult. The treacherous nature of the track were fully revealed when Sergio Pérez lost control of his RB16B at Les Combes on his reconnaissance lap to the grid. The Mexican’s car slid into the barriers on the right side of the track breaking the suspension on the front right of the car. His Red Bull was recovered to the pits and it appeared as if he would take no further part in proceedings.
With rain continuing to fall ahead of the scheduled start at 3pm local time, the formation lap was delayed for 25 minutes. When it eventually got underway the red flags were swiftly shown as drivers throughout the order declared the conditions to be undriveable.
There followed an almost three-hour delay as FIA race officials monitored conditions for any sign of improvement. During the race suspension Red Bull Racing consulted officials who confirmed that if the team could repair the Mexican’s car he would be allowed to start the race from the pit lane. After furious work in the Red Bull garage Pérez’s car was in the end readied well ahead of the race start at 6.18pm.
Cars flowed out of the pit lane to follow the safety car around but with the rain beginning to fall more heavily it quickly became apparent that red flags were once again necessary and the cars steered back to the pit lane where 19 minutes later Race Control issued the message that the race would not be resumed.
The abandonment of the race means it goes down as the shortest in Formula 1 history. The record was previously held by the 1991 Australian Grand Prix at 14 laps.
The last time F1 had a half points race was in 2009 at the end of a Malaysian Grand Prix also halted by rain. Verstappen was declared the winner, scoring 12.5 points, with George Russell being awarded nine points and his first F1 podium finish. Lewis Hamilton was classified third, scoring 7.5 points. Max therefore closes the gap to Hamilton to just three, with the Red Bull driver now on 199.5 points. The Team now sits on 303.5 points, seven behind Mercedes.
2021 FIA Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix – Race
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1 3'27.071
2 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1 3'29.066 1.995
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1 3'29.672 2.601
4 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren/Mercedes 1 3'31.567 4.496
5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin/Mercedes 1 3'34.550 7.479
6 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 1 3'37.248 10.177
7 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 1 3'38.650 11.579
8 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1 3'39.679 12.60
9 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1 3'42.555 15.484
10 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1 3'43.237 16.166
11 Fernando Alonso Alpine/Renault 1 3'47.661 20.590
12 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1 3'49.485 22.414
13 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1 3'51.234 24.163
14 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 1 3'54.180 27.109
15 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri/Honda 1 3'55.400 28.329
16 Mick Schumacher Haas/Ferrari 1 3'56.578 29.507
17 Nikita Mazepin Haas/Ferrari 1 3'59.064 31.993
18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 1 4'01.179 34.108
19 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1 4'03.125 36.054
20 Sergio Pérez Red Bull/Honda 1 4'05.276 38.205