Qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix was delayed due to some extremely rainy weather, and after a lengthy red-flag for a crash, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen secured pole on his way to the championship. The big news, though, was Williams’ George Russell, who was quick all day but very nearly nabbed pole.
All drivers obviously started Q1 on wet-weather tires with the exception of Williams, with the track saturated after heavy rains and rooster tails of water being kicked up behind the cars.
The first session saw a yellow flag in sector two after Nicholas Latifi spun into the grass. He managed to get back on track, so the flag didn’t last for long, but it was a good indicator of the track’s conditions — and the fact that the intermediate tires were a risky choice for Williams. That said, though, George Russell and Latifi both ended up setting the fastest laps on their next go-around, much faster than the other drivers.
Teams then quickly pitted to swap to intermediate tires, despite the fact that rain was set to fall in the near future. As a result, the order at the top of the grid was a bit wackier than normal.
Knocked Out After Q1:
16. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo)
17. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)
18. Mick Schumacher (Haas)
19. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)
20. Nikita Mazepin (Haas)
The promised rain never did come, with surprises coming in the form of George Russell moving into Q3.
Knocked Out After Q2:
11. Charles Leclerc (Alpine)
12. Nicholas Latifi (Williams)
13. Carlos Sainz Jr. (Ferrari)
14. Fernando Alonso (Alpine)
15. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)
Rain started pouring before the third qualifying session, with standing water coming down on the track. At the top of Eau Rouge, unfortunately, McLaren’s Lando Norris lost control of his car, striking the barrier and destroying the car. The session was quickly red flagged, with the red flag lasting over 30 minutes. When the series decided to restart the session, the track was still wet and there were just under nine minutes left in the session.
That said, most drivers stuck with intermediate tires. Once again, George Russell provided a massive surprise by being massively quick, setting fast sectors on his final flying lap — keeping pace with Hamilton and Max Verstappen. Hamilton crossed the line slower than Russell, but Verstappen did manage to set a quicker lap.
Top 10 Starting Grid:
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
- George Russell (Williams)
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
- Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)
- Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin)
- Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)
- Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
- Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
- Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
- Lando Norris (McLaren)