Our live blog for the race at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
Hello and welcome along to our live blog for this Sunday’s Formula 1 race at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. It’s the Belgian Grand Prix and Max Verstappen is starting on pole, with George Russell also on the front row of the grid after an incredible qualifying performance. Lewis Hamilton is in third, so he’ll also believe he can achieve what would be his 100th victory in F1.
This is the start of our live blog for the Belgian Grand Prix. Below, we’ll have all the build-up to the race and then lap-by-lap updates once the lights go out.
Despite not a single racing lap, that was perhaps the most exhausting Grand Prix in a long time. That’ll be all from us this time, let’s hope we can get some racing at Zandvoort next week!
And there we have it, the message has appeared and we will not see any more “racing” today. But that does mean that Max Verstappen wins the Belgian Grand Prix to close the gap to Lewis Hamilton in the championship. George Russell earns his first podium in F1 in second with Hamilton third.
The talk all around the paddock was that a race wasn’t going to be possible in these conditions, and they seem to be right. The cars aren’t able to run at such a slow speed and low temperatures for too long and that will have played a part in this red flag, along with the drivers’ opinions on conditions. But half points are technically in play here, which would give George Russell a huge nine points which takes him above teammate Nicholas Latifi in the standings – who himself is claiming one point in ninth as it stands.
We now have an official Grand Prix as they’ve survived two laps of a treacherous Spa-Francorchamps, but that’s all we will get. The red flag is out again and everyone is headed back to pit lane for the second time today. That could be it folks.
We’re having a one-hour timed race rather than a lap count but it will be only half points for this one, if we get a race at all because the spray looks even worse than before from the TV cameras. It’s a real blanket of spray at the end of the Kemmel straight, and that’s only at safety car speed.
Over three hours since the scheduled race start, lap one begins wth Bernd Maylander leading the field out in the safety car. In case you’d forgotten, it’s Max Verstappen leading from George Russell and Lewis Hamilton at the front, while Sergio Perez joins the train of cars at the back after crashing his Red Bull on the way to the original grid, which feels like seven months ago!
Unbelievably, the FIA have announced the race will resume at 18:17 CEST. Astonishing really but the sweepers have been hard at work all round the track and we’re going to give it a go. FINALLY!
The FIA have been pushing back weather updates for 20 minutes now but the radar suggests no break in the rain which has been falling for a good five to six hours now. We’d love to be optimistic of a race but it just doesn’t look likely with the weather as it is. Fingers crossed for a miracle though!
We were due a weather update at 17:45 CEST, but that’s also been delayed. Meanwhile Mick Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel are embroiled in a game of football in the back of the Haas garage, something that should be on the start/finish straight to give these patient fans something to watch.
We’ve seen Alan van der Merwe out in the FIA medical car trying out the conditions but he is now back in the pit lane as the rain continues to fall. The fans are keeping their spirits up in the grandstands, glad they went for a seat rather than general admission, where everyone is soaking wet in their ponchos.
This has been the most confusing non-race, race for a long time. The FIA have now stopped the three-hour race clock at 17:00 CEST citing “force majeure” under the International Sporting Code. They still believe they can get some racing in, although the weather radar shows a big rain cloud over the track, and it isn’t budging anytime soon. They’ll have to make a decision soon as the light will begin fading soon.
The chequered flag will fly in one hours time, regardless of how many laps we get in, if any at all. But this rain has persisted at a decent volume for far too long at the moment and young Lando Norris is simply so tired of waiting that he’s nodded off in the McLaren garage while the tens of thousands of fans remain huddled under umbrellas on the spectator banks. We waited three weeks for F1’s return, we might have to wait seven more days for a race at this rate.
A herculean effort from the Red Bull mechanics means Sergio Perez‘s car is back in one piece after he crashed on the way to th grid over two hours ago now. If the race resumes, he will be able to start from the pit lane although the time is still ticking away for the race to get back underway.
Despite seeing just one lap behind the safety car, the race clock started at 15:00 CEST and there is only a three-hour window in which the race can take place, with half of that time having already evaporated. If way get back out on track, it will surely be a timed race rather than a lap count and it’s unlikely we’ll see full points awarded either. They could go out and complete another safety car lap in order to get a result.
Understandably, the TV cameras are slowly making their way past every driver and car in the paddock as we see one of Red Bull‘s mechanics bring back a round of coffees for the team, the real hero right there! The drivers meanwhile are all quite laid back in their repsective garages as they await news of if or when the race will resume.
There’s been no let up in the rain, if anything it’s got heavier since the red flag was thrown half an hour ago. And this rain is going to be hanging round for a while still yet which puts this race in jeopardy of not starting at all. Suggestions of a Monday race could be thwarted by a lack of marshalls and next weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort to get to as well.
Red Bull and the FIA have been in conversation, and they are trying to get permission to allow Sergio Perez back into the Grand Prix. The Red Bull mechanics are hard at work trying to fix the car in the hope that they can return to the track… if we go racing at all. With every minute that passes, and every raindrop that falls, a start looks further and further away.
Well, we tried, but the conditions are not suitable to begin this race so everyone will make their way to the pits. Max Verstappen wanted to get the race going, but he had the clearest view at the front. Everyone else was vocally reluctant to start the race with visibility the big concern. And now, we wait… again.
Finally, a formation lap is taking place behind the safety car. The drivers will test the circuit and hope to dry it a little. Let’s hope we get some green flag running soon.
We will start this race eventually, promise! But, it’s yet another delay to the race start. The way this is going, it’ll only be pushed back further. Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton‘s toilet break wasn’t a pleasant one according to the seven-time champion. He said: “I’m glad I went to the toilet. The one I went to, someone had dropped a crazy bomb in there. The worst thing ever. It’s going to haunt me for life…”
There’s another 10 minute delay to the start as we wait for this high intensity rain cloud to leaave the vicinity of the circuit. 15:20 CEST is now the expected start of the formation lap, but further delays aren’t out of the question yet. Lewis Hamilton has already stepped out of his Mercedes to have one last pre-race toilet break while the rest remain strapped into their cars.
Well we should be off on the formation lap right now, but the race start has now been delayed in hopes that this current rain shower can pass over the circuit to try and get as many racing laps as possible in.
Not long now until we go racing in the Ardennes but will it be a standing start of a safety car start? The precipitation will have to lighten for this race to go green so it looks like a safety car start at this moment. George Russell was saying on his way to the grid that he was struggling to see down the straight when following another car.
On the reconnaissance laps to the grid, Sergio Perez has hit the tyre barriers heavily at Les Combes. He is going nowhere anytime soon, which is a huge blow to Red Bull‘s hopes for this race. The Mexican was pushing to try and find some grip but he got onto the paint and slid all the way into the wall. Drama before the race even starts, that sets the tone!
As the pit lane opens and the drivers make their way, gingerly, round the track to the grid, here’s how they will start the Belgian Grand Prix:
*= 5 place grid penalty applied
Alfa Romeo have opted to fit a different specification of rear wing to Kimi Raikkonen‘s car which will see the Finn start from pit lane after breaking parc ferme regulations. Meanwhile Valtteri Bottas and Lance Stroll have their penalties from the Hungary chaos applied along with Lando Norris, who drops to 14th after having to change his gearbox following his Q3 shunt yesterday.
Qualification for the Belgian Grand Prix was significantly disrupted by rainfall and it looks like the race will be too. The risk of rain is 80 percent, according to the FIA, and it’s windy too, so we could see some interesting strategies from the teams.
Valtteri Bottas has already been moving all over the grid. By coming a disappointing eighth in Q3 and with a five-place grid penalty to serve, following his antics in Hungary, he was down to 13th. But, Norris‘ own penalty means that the Finn will now begin in 12th. He’ll have pace, so could still be a factor in this race.
Following his crash in Q3, Lando Norris‘ car required a gearbox change. That brings with it a five-place grid penalty, meaning he’ll now start in 15th position. That’s a huge blow for the Brit, considering he’d been fastest in Q1 and Q2 before his crash.
Daniel Ricciardo will be competing in an F1 race for the 200th time this weekend. As McLaren point out, only 19 drivers have ever achieved this, so the Australian joins an elite group. He’ll start from fourth, so could score some good points.
Max Verstappen put together a spectacular lap in the wet conditions to take his sixth pole position of the 2021 season. You can watch that brilliant lap in the video below, courtesy of F1’s social media.
Sunday’s race is scheduled for the same time as qualifying was the day before, which is a 15:00 CEST start time for fans in central Europe. For those watching F1 from the UK, the race start time is 14:00 BST. For those on the east coast of the USA, it’s 09:00 EDT. More Belgian Grand Prix start times are shown in the graphic below.
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