F1 2021: Verstappen denies Russell Belgian GP pole in dramatic wet qualifying

It was pouring with rain at Spa, but Max Verstappen has claimed pole in a dramatic qualifying session for the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix. However, George Russell came up with a surprise P2 for Williams after Hamilton failed to beat his time.

By:Updated: Aug 28, 2021 8:47 PM

The weather Gods have not been kind to the Formula One paddock at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit for the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix. But Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has claimed pole position for the race. However, the surprise came from George Russell in the Williams who drove a phenomenal lap in the dripping wet conditions. Russell will start from the front row in P2, his career-best qualifying. Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes was only third fastest. Here is how qualifying for the Belgian GP played out.

2021 Belgian Grand Prix Qualifying Q1 Results

In the difficult weather conditions, it was McLaren driver Lando Norris who topped the timesheets. However the bottom five included Giovinazzi, Tsunoda, Schumacher, Raikkonen and Mazepin. They will start from 16th to 20th respectively on the grid.

2021 Belgian Grand Prix Qualifying Q2 Results

The conditions around the Spa-Francorchamps Circuit continued to be tricky in the second session of qualifying. But again Norris was the driver who was most comfortable setting the pace again. Mercedes were on the cusp, but both cars managed to get through to Q3, although had to summon upon extra sets of intermediate tyres. But the bottom five included Leclerc, Latifi, Sainz, Alonso and Stroll.

2021 Belgian Grand Prix Qualifying Q3 Results

The rain came in heavier in the session summoning the full wet tyres. Sebastian Vettel complained of aquaplaning and to red flag the session on the radio, just then disaster struck. Norris who was the hero of the first two sessions, lost it going through Eau Rouge, and speared off left into the barriers at Raidillon. The shut was horrific, thankfully, Norris walked away unscathed.

But the incident resulted in a red flag of the session. After a delay to clear the track and wait for conditions to improve, the session was restarted with 9 minutes remaining.

In the closing stages, Russell in the Williams was on a brilliant lap. One that Hamilton failed to beat. Russell was on provisional pole as everyone behind him failed to better their times. But right at the second, Verstappen pulled everything out of his Red Bull to deny Russell his first pole position.

Russell will start second on the front row in P2. Hamilton will start from P3 with Ricciardo in P4. Vettel was fifth fastest ahead of Gasly and Perez in P6 and P7. Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes was only P8 but will take a 5-place grid drop to start from P13. However, Ocon was P9 with Norris not setting a time in P10.

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