Max Verstappen has landed pole for the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday, denying Williams’ George Russell his first stint in the leading role after a dramatic rain-soaked Qualifying session.
The chaotic scenes brought on by an onslaught of torrential ran saw Q1 and Q2 pacesetter Lando Norris endure immense damage after a spin at Eau Rouge – meaning the British driver will likely start from the pitlane for tomorrow’s race if engineers are able to mend his MCL35M.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton will start from third with Russell up ahead of him after finishing in second on the back of an impeccable final flying lap at Spa.
Norris had been the favourite earlier in the day for a chance at pole after leading both earlier Qualifying sessions, however, after a moment of oversteer coming up to the high-speed corner, he crashed heavily into the barriers, spinning across the track at the start of the final shootout – bringing about a red flag.
Thankfully, Norris got out of the car and told the team over the radio he was OK, but he was seen gripping his arm as he headed to the medical car.
He was then escorted to the circuit’s medical centre for check-ups and has now reportedly been transferred to hospital for a precautionary X-ray on his elbow.
After Qualifying resumed, at 15:45, Hamilton set the pace before Russell – who is coined to join the world champ at Mercedes next year – showed what he was made of, temporarily posting the fastest lap before Verstappen denied him of the glory of Pole.
Further afield, McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo secured his season-best Qualifying result and will take off from fourth ahead of Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel in fifth and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly with sixth.
Valtteri Bottas was a disappointing eighth in the second Mercedes followed by Alpine’s Esteban Ocon in ninth and Lando Norris closing out the top ten tomorrow.
Although Bottas fought his way to eighth, he will endure a five-place penalty carried over from Hungary, meaning he takes off from 13th tomorrow.
The battle for points at the 13th race of the 2021 season, the Belgian Grand Prix, takes place tomorrow, August 29, with lights out at 14:00 Irish time.