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The Formula 1 season recommences this weekend as the grid heads to Spa for the Belgian Grand Prix.
Verstappen holds a commanding 80-point lead in the driver standings after back-to-back victories before the three-week summer break.
The Red Bull star is heavy favourite to defend his world championship with no driver in history surrendering such a large points margin.
Leclerc remains the closest challenger to his title, but the two most recent races in France and Hungary saw both Mercedes drivers finish on the podium.
Verstappen won a rain soaked race at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps last year where conditions meant only two laps took place.
Russell memorably secured Williams’ first front row start since 2017 during qualifying and will be itching to return to Belgium in a more competitive Mercedes.
The race weekend at Spa is scheduled forFriday, August 26to
Sunday, August 28.
There will be two practices on Friday that will start from 1pm UK time with the third session an hour earlier at noon on the Saturday.
Qualifying will take place at 3pm while the race itself will get underway at 2pm UK time on the Sunday.
Coverage will again be on Sky Sports F1 throughout the weekend. Their coverage of Sunday’s race build-up begins at 12:30am.
Sky Sports customers can live stream this via the app using their mobile, tablet or computer devices.
If not, you can purchase a Sky Sports Day Pass from NowTV for £9.99 while Channel Four will broadcast highlights later in the evening.
talkSPORT will have all of the best of the action throughout the week.
To tune in to talkSPORT or talkSPORT 2 through the website, click HERE for the live stream. You can also listen via the talkSPORT app, on DAB digital radio, through your smart speaker and on 1089 or 1053 AM.
Verstappen put in a stunning performance in qualifying, clocking the fastest time and being a remarkable 0.632 seconds clear of the field.
But he will start from 15th after being hit with a grid penalty for using too many engine parts.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz will start on pole with Sergio Perez second and Lewis Hamilton in sixth.
Hamilton told boss Toto Wolff he feels like he is dragging a parachute behind him as the Mercedes chief labelled his team’s abject qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix as ‘unacceptable’.
“It is the worst qualifying session I’ve had in 10 years,” said Wolff.
“Irrespective of what positions we are going to start, being on pole at the last race in Hungary and then three weeks later, being nowhere is not acceptable.
“The car is draggy on a straight line. Lewis said it is like dragging a parachute behind him. There is not one positive I have heard about how the car performs.”
Hamilton said: “I tried everything. I put everything on the car and I took everything off. I changed wings. I changed setups.
“But I never thought that we would ever be two seconds off so it is way, way worse than I thought it would be.
“I don’t want to use the word disappointing because you have to remember the 2,000 people at the factory who are working so hard to get it right.
“Of course, I wish we got it right and we brought the upgrades that pushed us forward and we are fighting at the front.
“It hurts. Believe me, it hurts. But at this point you have to laugh it off.
“I am not fighting for a championship. I cannot get too serious and too low. I have a responsibility to keep morale high.
“Yes, it sucks and it is slow, really slow, but we are starting fourth tomorrow, and we may have a chance to get a podium, who knows? We have to stay optimistic.”
Driver / Car / Points
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