F1 qualifying results: Verstappen takes Spa pole, Russell stars – Motorsport.com

Verstappen will start ahead of Russell and world champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes after the one-hour qualifying session, which was twice delayed due to rain and to clear away Norris’s wrecked car.
After a short delay due to heavy rain and standing water, the session began on a wet track surface. In the opening moments, Hamilton and Bottas both ran wide at Bruxelles on wet tyres as Williams’s Russell set the pace on intermediates. His teammate Latifi spun at Fagnes on his first flying lap (also on intermediates) but then got to within 0.6s of Russell for P2.
That sent the wet-shod majority into the pits for inters. Pole position then switched hands relentlessly with Sainz, Perez, Ricciardo, Leclerc, Russell (again), Verstappen, Norris all taking turns in P1.
In the closing moments, Norris’s 1m58.776s was the target – and was momentarily toppled by Verstappen’s 1m58.717s but Norris grabbed it back with 1m58.301s.
Falling at the first hurdle were Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi, AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, Mick Schumacher (Haas), Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa) and Nikita Mazepin (Haas).
In Q2, the track was slowly drying out but more rain was forecast. Mercedes started on used intermediates, but quickly bailed out on that idea and joined the rest on fresh inters after one lap.
Norris again set the initial pace, at 1m57.235s, but Verstappen took over the top spot with 1m56.559s. The Mercedes duo were struggling to make the cutoff and were forced into using a third set of inters.
In the closing moments, Norris took P1 on a new set of inters with 1m56.025s, two tenths ahead of Hamilton and Bottas. “That was way too close, guys,” said Hamilton.
Knocked out at this point were Leclerc, Latifi, Sainz, Fernando Alonso (Alpine) and Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) – who will start last due to his five-place grid penalty from the Hungarian GP.
Before the top-10 shootout, the heavens opened once more so the track was fully wet again – sending teams scrambling for full wets. Both Norris and Vettel, who went out first, complained of “aquaplaning” and “too much water” respectively – with Vettel requesting a red flag moments before Norris crashed heavily at Eau Rouge. He was unhurt.
After a lengthy delay to retrieve the wreckage and wait for weather conditions to improve, Q3 resumed with eight minutes remaining. Most drivers went out on intermediates, with Ocon and Russell on wets pitting immediately coming in to join them.
Hamilton set the benchmark at 2m01.552s, 0.5s ahead of Perez, 0.9s faster than Verstappen and 1.5s clear of Bottas.
On the final run, Russell produced a stunning lap of 2m00.086s, with Hamilton slower by 0.013s. Verstappen then unleashed his 1m59.765s to seal pole position, 0.321s clear of Russell. Hamilton qualified third, ahead of Ricciardo, Vettel, Gasly, Perez, Bottas and Ocon.
Bottas has a five-place grid penalty, which drops him to 13th.
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