Max Verstappen crowned winner at washed-out Belgian GP

Max Verstappen ‘officially’ won the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix in Formula 1’s shortest ever race due to prevailing heavy rain conditions.

Amidst the abysmal conditions at Spa Francorchamps, Max Verstappen got declared the winner after torrential rain hammered the fabled track all day.

As Sergio Perez slid off the track at Les Combes on his way to the grid, the FIA opted to delay the race start. Eventually, the cars pulled away behind the Safety Car at 20 past the hour. After two exploratory laps, the race got red-flagged.

Chaos then ensued as it seemed like no one knew if the race started or not. It turned out that the three-hour window started when the Safety Car initially left the grid. Red Bull exploited a loophole to rebuild Sergio Perez’s car and get him back in the race during the furore.

The rain continued to lash the fans and track as updates providing no information kept trickling in. After applying force majeure to stop the clock, the cars did go back out at 6:17 pm local time. However, it became apparent that it was a box-ticking exercise.

The rain left rivers across Eau Rouge, and the spray on the Kemmel Straight made visibility impossible. The back of the circuit seemed better, but as the drivers explained the conditions on the radio, it became clear that the race wasn’t going to happen.

After two laps behind the Safety Car, they’d done enough to warrant a complete race classification. Only half points would get awarded, and they finished in grid order.

It’s a big day for Verstappen as he eats into Hamilton’s championship lead. George Russell got rewarded for an excellent qualifying lap by grabbing his first podium finish. Next for Verstappen is a massive weekend at Zandvoort for his home race.

As for F1, lessons need to get heeded. It is evident that the Eau Rouge/Radillon barrier is not fit for purpose; furthermore, the 3 pm local time start on a dreadful day is nonsensical. Lastly, parc-ferme conditions should get analysed in such diabolical conditions.

Max Verstappen ‘won,’ but F1 and the fans lost on a day where the rain emerged as the omnipresent power.

Provisional Race Result

1 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING HONDA 1 3:27.071 0
2 63 George Russell WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1 +1.995s 0
3 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1 +2.601s 0
4 3 Daniel Ricciardo MCLAREN MERCEDES 1 +4.496s 0
5 5 Sebastian Vettel ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES 1 +7.479s 0
6 10 Pierre Gasly ALPHATAURI HONDA 1 +10.177s 0
7 31 Esteban Ocon ALPINE RENAULT 1 +11.579s 0
8 16 Charles Leclerc FERRARI 1 +12.608s 0
9 6 Nicholas Latifi WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1 +15.485s 0
10 55 Carlos Sainz FERRARI 1 +16.166s 0
11 14 Fernando Alonso ALPINE RENAULT 1 +20.590s 0
12 77 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 1 +22.414s 0
13 99 Antonio Giovinazzi ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 1 +24.163s 0
14 4 Lando Norris MCLAREN MERCEDES 1 +27.110s 0
15 22 Yuki Tsunoda ALPHATAURI HONDA 1 +28.329s 0
16 47 Mick Schumacher HAAS FERRARI 1 +29.507s 0
17 9 Nikita Mazepin HAAS FERRARI 1 +31.993s 0
18 18 Lance Stroll ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES 1 +34.108s 0
19 7 Kimi Räikkönen ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 1 +36.054s 0
20 11 Sergio Perez RED BULL RACING HONDA 1 +38.205s 0