Event: Belgian Grand Prix
Track: Spa-Francorchamps circuit

Pole position qualifier Max Verstappen congratulates second place qualifier George Russell ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps

Pole position qualifier Max Verstappen congratulates second place qualifier George Russell ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps

Warm-up lap starts at: 15:00 Local | 15:00 CET | 14:00 UK | 06:00 LA | 22:00 Tokio

Max Verstappen did everything right today to challenge his title rival Lewis Hamilton. The Red Bull driver will start from pole position for the first time in his F1 career and scores his 6th pole of the season.

The big surprise of this twelfth qualifying session of the year was off course Williams driver George Russell who qualified on front row for the second time of his F1 career. The British driver did it with a small margin of only 0.013s, but with the silly season still going wild on next year's Mercedes seat rumours, this achievement probably will shift things inside Toto Wolff's head.

Possible 2021 Belgian F1 GP  Race Strategies

The 44-lap Belgian Grand Prix is always a complicated race to predict the strategy for, featuring the longest and most variable lap of the season, with unpredictable weather and a high probability of safety cars. In fact, it was a safety car that influenced the strategy last year, with nearly all the drivers changing tyres just once on lap 11: comparatively early in the race, meaning that careful tyre management was required towards to the end. On that occasion, the winning strategy was P Zero Yellow medium to P Zero White hard.

This year looks very different. For a start, race conditions are set to be much cooler than last year. And there's a strong chance of rain too, with the Cinturato Green intermediate tyres dominating the day's action.

Cooler weather should in theory make a one-stopper easier to achieve, but it might also push more drivers towards the P Zero Red soft, with a two-stopper coming into play, although in general teams like to limit the number of pit stops.

If it is dry, starting on the medium tyre offers the maximum flexibility, but with a wet qualifying session (as was the case today) and a dry race, all the drivers can start on whichever compound they choose out of their allocation.

Lando Norris will take a five-place grid penalty for today's Belgian Grand Prix after McLaren confirmed they have changed the gearbox in his MCL35M following his high-speed crash in qualifying on Saturday.

Kimi Raikkonen's gearbox had to be repaired after qualifying, because the Finn had lost second gear. Raikkonen now has to start from the pitlane, because the Alfa Romeo team had to repair the gearbox in Parc Fermé conditions,

F1 Starting Grid 2021 Belgian GP

PosNoDriverTeamLap Time
133Max VerstappenRed Bull1:59,765
263George RussellWilliams2:00,086
344Lewis HamiltonMercedes2:00,099
43Daniel RicciardoMcLaren2:00,864
55Sebastian VettelAston Martin2:00,935
610Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri2:01,164
711Sergio PérezRed Bull2:02,112
831Esteban OconAlpine2:03,513
916Charles LeclercFerrari1:57,721
106Nicholas LatifiWilliams1:58,056
1155Carlos Sainz Jr.Ferrari1:58,137
1214Fernando AlonsoAlpine1:58,205
1377*Valtteri BottasMercedes2:02,502
1499Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo2:02,306
154*Lando NorrisMcLarenno time
1622Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri2:02,413
1747Mick SchumacherHaas2:03,973
189Nikita MazepinHaas2:04,939
1918*Lance StrollAston Martin1:58,231
PL7Kimi RäikkönenAlfa Romeo2:04,452

Penalties:

  • Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes (no.77) received a 5 places grid penalty for causing a collision at the start of the 2021 Hungarian F1 GP.
  • Lance Stroll, Aston Martin (no.18) received a 5 places grid penalty for causing a collision at the start of the 2021 Hungarian F1 GP.
  • Lando Norris, McLaren (no.4) received a 5 places grid penalty for unscheduled gearbox replacement.
  • Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo (no.7) - required to start from the pit lane after car been modified whilst under Parc Fermé conditions.

 

Pole Position winner Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, with the Pirelli Pole Position award during the Belgian GP at Circuit de Spa Francorchamps

5 things to focus on

  1. Red Bull's Max Verstappen claimed pole after a disrupted Q3 session, with a delay of more than half an hour after McLaren's Lando Norris hit the wall. When the session resumed with nine minutes to go, all the drivers used a single set of intermediates, with Verstappen beating Williams driver George Russell to pole.
  2. The intermediate tyres were most commonly used today, with Williams being the only team to use them from the very start of Q1. After they went fastest, all the other drivers eventually switched to the Cinturato Green, which they used in Q2 as well, before switching to the Cinturato Blue full wet for Q3 ahead of the lengthy interruption to the session.
  3. With the best times in Q2 set on the intermediate, this means that all the drivers will have a free choice of starting tyres tomorrow if it's a dry race.
  4. The Cinturato Blue full wet was used at the beginning of qualifying, which was delayed by a few minutes to allow conditions to improve slightly. The session got underway with 15 degrees of ambient temperature and 17 degrees of track temperature. The track dried up relatively quickly once the rain eased, allowing intermediates to be used throughout the final part of Q3 after the delay.
  5. All the drivers also used the intermediates during FP3 this morning, with the exception of the Haas duo – which ran the full wets – and Norris, who tried a run on the P Zero Red soft at the end of the session.

 

 

Mario Isola – Pirelli's Head of F1 and car racing
"First and foremost, we're all relieved that Lando Norris is OK after a very big accident at one of the quickest points on the circuit. This was an extremely tricky qualifying where it was very hard to predict the weather from one minute to the next, forcing the teams to think on their feet. Similar conditions are expected for tomorrow, so that particular challenge is set to continue. The intermediate tyre, which was used for the bulk of today's running, showed itself to be capable of handling a wide variety of wet and drying conditions. Tomorrow's strategy – where we don't even know yet which type of tyres the drivers will be starting the race on – is going to be mainly about adapting to changing circumstances, as we saw throughout today."


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