Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes will start in the second row if he goes for his 100th Grand Prix victory, while Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren completes the second row.
Max Verstappen celebrates after taking pole position. AP
Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium: Red Bulls Max Verstappen mastered the rain and took pole position at the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday and set the fastest time in qualifying for surprise package George Russell from Williams.
Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes will start in the second row if they aim for their 100th Grand Prix victory, while Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren completes the second row.
Qualifying was marred by a serious crash in Q3, in which the McLaren from Lando Norris was involved, whose hopes of a first ever pole in Eau Rouge ate the dust.
Fortunately, the Briton escaped a serious injury, nine cars went out when the shooting after a 40-minute intervention with Rote Flag was resumed.
British compatriot Russell was on the verge of giving Williams an amazing first pole since 2001.
But the young driver’s brilliant time was in The Dutchman’s last flying lap was closely overshadowed by Verstappen.
Russell still had the satisfaction of placing himself in front of Hamilton, with Russell battling alongside Valtteri Bottas for the second Mercedes drive in 2022.
“Tomorrow is the most important thing, but today it was awesome. I’m happy for everyone.
“I just try to stay positive, focused and calm. Max did a great job and George did a great job too – that’s fantastic,” added the seven-time world champion, who is in is eight points ahead of Verstappen in the drivers’ standings.
“It’s a great track to drive and very difficult in the wet. I’m super happy to qualify like this after the (summer) break.”
Q3 had a dramatic start when Norris got badly out of hand in the treacherous wet conditions.
The Brit lost control of his McLaren, his car spinning from one side of the track to the other after the rear end in Eau Rouge had hit the crash barriers.
Sebastian Vettel, who had recently requested that the Q3 session be aborted, drove up in his Aston Martin to make sure that the 21-year-old is fine.
The German, four-time ex-world champion, only continued when he had one n got a thumbs up.
Norris’ team came over the radio and asked, “Lando, are you okay, are you okay?” with the shocked but apparently uninjured driver replied “Yes, sorry guys, we should have had a good one. I let you down.” Get McLaren off the track. Norris’ mechanics were set for a long night to get it ready to go in time for Sunday’s race.
Later on Saturday, Norris got the green light for Sunday’s race if he started from fifth row.
“After precautionary checks after an accident during qualifying at the Belgian Grand Prix, Lando Norris was approved for the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix by the track doctor and medical delegate of the FIA,” said a statement from McLaren.
Norris, third in the drivers’ standings, had led qualifying for the first two sessions when the rain pelted down the majestic but notoriously demanding circuit of Spa-Francorchamps in the Ardennes forest.
He was in a great position to to get his first pole and land at the top on Sunday, instead he ended up in the medical center.
After the long break, the session was Q1 with 8:59 minutes the clock resumed and Russell has a trick up his sleeve.
August 29, 2021 9:13:11 am
Mick Schumacher is enjoying making his Formula 1 bow at the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend, 30 years after his father began his historic career on the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
On the fastest track in MotoGP, championship leader Fabio Quartararo seemed to have secured pole position when he broke the record of his compatriot Johann Zarco last week before the Styrian Grand Prix.
The race was scheduled to take place in Suzuka on October 10, but Formula 1 said the Japanese government pulled the plug due to the country’s pandemic situation.
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