The Belgian Grand Prix will experience a special classification, since the pole position will not be occupied by one of the two leaders of the championship. In fact, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc will start at the back of the grid for engine part changes that exceed their quota, causing penalties of more than 15 places.
The two drivers, as well as Lando Norris, Esteban Ocon, Mick Schumacher and Guanyu Zhou, will start from the back of the grid. Valtteri Bottas only got “only” 15 places for engine changes (20 places in total with the gearbox), and he will necessarily start in front of them.
Leclerc had taken two separate penalties, with stage 1 changes and subsequent changes, but the FIA has confirmed that all engine part change penalties are cumulative, so he will have to start from the back of the grid.
Therefore, the Finn will be 14th on the grid no matter what, while the slowest driver in Q1 will be 13th on the grid. It remains to establish the order of the sanctioned drivers based on their performance in qualifying.
The weather is still mixed at Spa-Francorchamps, but the clouds are not cracking and the track is expected to be dry during qualifying.
Leclerc and Verstappen are likely to play the full qualifying session, both to get a better place on the grid, and to work together with their teammates, to give them the aspiration.
16:00: The session was delayed a few minutes to complete a lane repair, following a driver’s departure from the track in the Porsche Super Cup.
16:11: The FIA announces that the start of qualifying will be at 16:25!
Q1 – 18 minutes
It’s 16:25 and it’s time to officially launch qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix. The sky is still very cloudy, but for now the asphalt is dry, although there is a 30% chance of rain.
Schumacher was the first to set a time of 1’47″929, while all the drivers took to the track to complete a fastest lap, in case a downpour hit the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. .
Lewis Hamilton then beat his benchmark in 1:46.703 and George Russell accelerated in 1:46.269. Kevin Magnussen stepped between the Mercedes, and Sergio Pérez took the lead with 1’45″377.
Leclerc was second by less than two tenths and Norris third. Carlos Sainz then set the provisional best time at 1’45″050, before Verstappen came to agree with everyone at 1’44″581.
Esteban Ocon and Feernando Alonso were positioned in fifth and sixth position, ahead of Pierre Gasly and Daniel Ricciardo, who were ahead of Norris and Russell. Alex Albon made the 11th provisional time.
The Mercedes F1 drivers did another fast lap, Russell remaining tenth and Hamilton moving just behind him in eleventh position. The W13 did not offer the expected performance so far in this Belgian Grand Prix.
All the drivers, with the exception of the Red Bulls and the Ferraris, returned to the track with three minutes remaining in the session to improve their lap times.
Russell announced on the radio that a drizzle was falling on the Raidillon de l’Eau Rouge, with conditions not clearly worsening. Drivers threatened with elimination were the first on the road to aim for improvement.
Latifi moved up to 13th place, Stroll took 10th position and Schumacher moved up to 13th place. Bottas returned to the pits and Zhou took 7th position. Vettel was only 15th fastest, knocking out Williams, but Albon was still on the right track.
Tsunoda missed his last turn and was eliminated due to this mistake. Norris took fifth place just ahead of Ricciardo and the Alpines, but Ricciardo had his time cancelled. Hamilton moved up to fifth place, beaten by Russell and Albon!
Those eliminated are Vettel, Latifi, Magnussen, Tsunoda and Bottas.
Q2 – 15 minutes
Even before the start of this Q2 the top 10 drivers were already known, obviously not in order, with Sainz, Pérez, Russell, Albon, Hamilton, Alonso, Gasly, Ricciardo, Stroll and Vettel. But the order of this top 10, therefore, remained to be determined, in Q2 and Q3.
The Mercedes set the first times per lap of this second part of the qualifying session, with a 1’46″622 for Hamilton and a 1’46″284 for Russell. Verstappen did much better again with 1’44.723, while Sainz was second by almost seven tenths.
For his part, Pérez stayed one tenth behind Verstappen. Norris took fourth time ahead of Alonso, and Gasly stepped between the Mercedes. Albon made the provisional tenth time.
Leclerc was helped by Sainz on his fastest lap, when the Spaniard was on his re-entry lap, but the Monegasque had made a mistake in the corner where he had his accident this morning, again by biting on the outside.
The Ferrari driver noticed a problem in his F1-75 over the radio: “The car jumps a lot at the apex of the slow corners, it’s very rare”. The verdict of the clock was unforgiving, as he fell one second behind the Red Bulls. Ocon took fourth place on his first lap of Q2.
All the drivers, with the exception of the Red Bulls, launched an assault on the clock. Alonso improved to fifth place, just behind Ocon, and Gasly took eighth. Zhou moved up to ninth, Stroll to 11 and Ricciardo to eighth.
Leclerc set the fastest time of Q2 with 1’44.551s and Hamilton moved up to 5th place ahead of Russell. Albon set the 10th time and eliminated Ricciardo!
Those eliminated were Ricciardo, Gasly, Zhou, Stroll and Schumacher.
Q3 – 12 minutes
Albon was the first out on the track to set a time without being hassled by traffic. The Red Bulls followed closely behind, along with most of the other competitors, while Leclerc came out behind the other nine drivers.
Leclerc asked Ferrari “What are these tires?”and the team replied: “Sorry, it’s a mistake”. He was fine on the softs but probably not on the expected set of tyres, but his engineer told him to do it anyway.
The Williams driver clocked 1’46″369 and Pérez took the lead with 1’44″462. Verstappen set the weekend’s fastest time of 1:43.665, and Sainz stepped between the Red Bulls, becoming the provisional poleman.
Ocon posted the third fastest time ahead of Norris and Russell, while Albon did not get past Hamilton. Leclerc had his day with tires fitted by mistake and placed fourth ahead of Ocon.
The warm-up lap for the second attempt was mixed up between the Ferraris and the Alpines, but Leclerc was able to give Sainz the slipstream at Kemmel. Albon improved and moved up to 6th place, which is provisional 3rd place on the grid!
Sainz did not improve his time with a very disappointing time. Alonso took sixth place ahead of Albon and was overtaken by Ocon, but Hamilton failed to overtake the Alpinos. Perez did not improve.
Verstappen therefore signs the best time of this session, but it is Sainz who will be on pole position ahead of Pérez, then Alonso and Hamilton on the second row. Russell and Albon will be on the third row ahead of Gasly and Ricciardo.
|position||Pilot||Car||time Q1||time Q2||time Q3|
|01||max verstappen||Red Bull RBPT RB18||1:44,581||1:44,723||1:43,665|
|02||Carlos Sainz||ferrari f1-75||1:45,050||1:45,418||1:44,297|
|03||Sergio Perez||Red Bull RBPT RB18||1:45,377||1:44,794||1:44,462|
|04||Charles Leclerc||ferrari f1-75||1:45,572||1:44,551||1:44,553|
|05||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault A522||1:46,039||1:45,471||1:45,180|
|06||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault A522||1:46,075||1:45,552||1:45,368|
|07||Lewis Hamilton||mercedes w13||1:45,736||1:45,420||1:45,503|
|08||george russell||mercedes w13||1:45,650||1:45,461||1:45,776|
|09||alex albon||Williams Mercedes FW44||1:45,672||1:45,675||1:45,837|
|10||lando norris||McLarenMercedes MCL36||1:45,745||1:45,603||1:46,178|
|eleven||Daniel Ricciardo||McLarenMercedes MCL36||1:46,212||1:45,767|
|12||pierre gasley||Alpha Tauri RBPT AT03||1:46,183||1:45,827|
|13||Guanyu-Zhou||alfa romeo ferrari c42||1:46,178||1:46,085|
|14||spear ride||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22||1:46,256||1:46,611|
|fifteen||Mike Schumacher||Haas Ferrari VF-22||1:46,342||1:47,718|
|sixteen||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22||1:46,344|
|17||Nicholas Latif||Williams Mercedes FW44||1:46,401|
|18||kevin magnussen||Haas Ferrari VF-22||1:46,557|
|19||yukitsunoda||Alpha Tauri RBPT AT03||1:46,692|
|twenty||Valtteri Bottas||alfa romeo ferrari c42||1:47,866|
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