Max Verstappen clinched pole position at the Belgian Grand Prix in the twelfth race of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship. In wet and treacherous conditions, the Dutchman grabbed the ninth pole of his career in the dying minutes of the session.
George Russell with a sensational lap took second position ahead of Lewis Hamilton in third position. It was a stellar result for the young Briton to start on the first row.
The qualifying session at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium took place under wet and cold conditions with air temperatures at 14 degree C and track temperatures at 16 degree C.
The three compounds for this race are from the middle range of the Pirelli tyres – the white-striped hard tyres (C2), the yellow-striped medium tyres (C3) and the red-striped soft tyres (C4).
The start of the qualification was delayed by twelve minutes due to standing water on the track.
For the first installation lap all the drivers except the two Williams F1 drivers were on full wet tyres.
George Russell’s first flying lap was compromised as his team-mate Nicholas Latifi spun and brought out the yellow flags. But on their second lap, Russell and Latifi went to the top of the time charts on the intermediate tyres.
The other drivers pitted to take on the intermediate tyres for their next lap. Esteban Ocon then went to third position on the time charts behind the Williams duo.
The drivers scrambled to get in their laps before the rain came down again. Lando Norris topped the session ahead of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.
The second qualification session started with the drivers on the intermediate tyres and the threat of rain hanging over the circuit. Norris set the first timed lap with a 1m57.235s to go to the top of the time charts.
With six minutes to go, both the Mercedes drivers were in the drop zone and managed to move themselves into the top ten positions. But with two minutes to go, both Hamilton and Bottas were again in the drop zone.
Hamilton and Bottas in a last gasp effort took second and third position. Norris again topped the time charts. In the dying minutes of the session, Daniel Ricciardo and Ocon knocked out the two Ferrari drivers.
Norris was the first driver on the track which was very wet now. Vettel behind him told his pit wall that they should red flag the session as it was too dangerous.
Norris on his first timed lap crashed heavily at Eau Rouge and the session was red-flagged. The rain intensified and the drivers sat in their cars and waited for the resumption.
The session finally resumed at 16:45 local time with eight minutes and fifty-nine seconds left. In very wet conditions, the drivers were out on the intermediate tyres.
Hamilton took provisional pole position ahead of Verstappen by 0.973 seconds. But Russell with an outstanding lap took first position.
In the dying minutes of the session, Verstappen grabbed pole position from Russell in a sensational end to the wet qualification session.
2021 F1 BELGIAN GRAND PRIX – QUALIFYING RESULTS
|1||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull Racing||1m58.717s||1m56.559s||1m59.765s|
|2||George Russell||GBR||Williams Racing||1m59.864s||1m56.950s||2m00.086s|
|3||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1m59.218s||1m56.229s||2m00.099s|
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||2m01.583s||1m57.127s||2m00.864s|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||2m00.175s||1m56.814s||2m00.935s|
|6||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||2m00.387s||1m56.440s||2m01.164s|
|7||Sergio Perez||MEX||Red Bull Racing||1m59.334s||1m56.886s||2m02.399s|
|8||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1m59.870s||1m56.295s||2m02.502s|
|9||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Alpine F1 Team||2m01.824s||1m57.354s||2m03.513s|
|10||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||1m58.301s||1m56.025s||No Time Set|
|11||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow||2m00.728s||1m57.721s|
|12||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||2m00.966s||1m58.056s|
|13||Carlos Sainz||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow||2m01.184s||1m58.137s|
|14||Fernando Alonso||ESP||Alpine F1 Team||2m01.653s||1m58.205s|
|15||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||2m01.597s||1m58.231s|
|16||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen||2m02.306s|
|17||Yuki Tsunoda||JPN||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||2m02.413s|
|18||Mick Schumacher||GER||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||2m03.973s|
|19||Kimi Raikkonen||FIN||Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen||2m04.452s|
|20||Nikita Mazepin||RUS||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||2m04.939s|