BELGIUM. Spa – Francorchamps: In the shortest ever Grand Prix in the sports history, the drivers at Spa – Francorchamps circuit, Belgian GP raced only for three laps and eight minutes behind Safety Car on the final day of the race much to the disappointment of 75000 strong spectators who braved rain to watch the race.
The circuit was battered by torrential rains and visibility turned very low. At the end of the race the top 10 drivers were awarded ‘half point’ in consistent with the rule of the game.
The Top 10 Drivers
Max Verstappen was declared the winner for Red Bull. George Russell(Williams) secured the second position for Williams and Lewis Hamilton’s (Mercedes) secured the third position. Daniel Ricciardo, Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly finished fourth, fifth and sixth respectively. While Esteban Ocon finished seventh, Charles Leclerc and Nicholas Latifi secured P8 and P9 respectively. Carlos Sainz was promoted to P10 as Perez crashed his vehicle and lost out on points. All of them awarded with half points as per rule of F1.
Rain played spoilsport
The Belgian GP was due to start at 3 pm but Race Director Michael Masi delayed the start by 10 minutes as it was raining consistently. Unfortunately Red Bull’s Sergio Perez on his way to the grid crashed his RB16B in the barriers at Les Combes and damaged the right-front suspension. This resulted into further delay of 15 minutes.
After 25 minutes, the cars set off on formation laps behind the Safety Car, but due to lack of enough visibility the race was red flagged and suspended. The rain continued to pour thereafter and after two hours, the F1 officials announced resumption of race at 1817 local time that was more than three hours behind schedule. The Belgian GP was stopped once more and it was finally announced the race would not resume, at 1845 local time.
The official statement from F1
The official statement said: “In accordance with the powers vested in them under the FIA International Sporting Code, the Stewards have decided, in accordance with their authority under Article 11.9.3.o, to stop temporarily the 2021 Belgium Grand Prix at 17:00 hours.
“This decision is taken on the grounds of Force Majeure.”
Earlier in the race during Q3 Lando Norris’s MCL35M met with a high speed crash at Raidillon that damaged his car substantially. He was quickly taken to hospital for checks and later on released. After McLaren confirmed that they have changed the gearbox of the damaged vehicle, Lando was given a five-place grid penalty and subsequently he was classified 14th.
Highlights of the Belgian GP
The race at Spa was a complete washout, but when we look carefully, some very interesting facts emerge. Let us look at them below.
- Belgian GP was the shortest race in F1 history.
- Interestingly the Belgian GP was the sixth ‘Half-Point’ race in F1 history. The others being Spain 1975, Austria 1975, Monaco 1984, Australia 1991 and Malaysia 2009.
- Max Verstappen never managed to finish within top two to date at Spa.
- Team Honda achieved their first win here after 20 years.
- George Russell took his first career podium finish at Belgian GP
- Lewis Hamilton achieved his 125th podium finish for Mercedes at Belgian GP.
- Carlos Sainz has never finished higher than 10th at Spa in his career.
- Belgian GP is the 11th race in history with 0 retirements.
Race Results for Belgian Grand Prix
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing), Time: 0:03:27.071, Points: 12.5
- George Russell (Williams), Time: +1.995s, Points: 9
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Time: +2.601s, Points: 7.5
- Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren), Time: +4.496s, Points: 6
- Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin), Time: +7.479s, Points: 5
Driver Standing after Belgian GP
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes):202.5 Pts
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing): 199.5 Pts
- Lando Norris (McLaren): 113 Pts
Constructors Standings after Belgian GP
- Mercedes – (Hamilton / Bottas): 310 Pts
- Red Bull Racing – (Verstappen / Perez): 303 Pts
- McLaren – (Ricciardo / Norris): 169 Pts
About Spa-Francorchamps and Belgian Grand Prix
In 1921, designers Jules de Thier and Henri Langlois van Ophem built a triangle-shaped track spanning 14.9km. The track was redeveloped in 1979 and the new circuit is 7.004km long. In 1950, Formula 1’s maiden championship was held at Spa and Juan Manuel Fangio won the race. There have been 64 Belgian Grands Prix since 1950.
The wonderful Ardennes forest adds to the variety of offered by Spa, the circuit which is a mix of long straights, challenging high speed corners, camber changes and the rollercoaster ride to the top of the Radillon. The legendary drivers like Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher are the ones who actually mastered this magical circuit.
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