An exhilarating session from start to finish with an unbelievable amount of action, drama, and unexpected results!
Here is how it all unfolded from Q1 through to Q3:
Spa-Francorchamps was looking more like a pond than a racetrack with only 30 mins to go before qualifying. Rain was pounding the track and from above the helicopters showed a blank grey image that was supposed to portray an overhead view of the circuit.
After a precautionary 10 minute delay due to excessive water on track, the drivers tentatively took to the track to scope out the conditions for their flying laps.
Immediately after taking to the water covered tarmac, Nicholas Latifi was the first to succumb to the interchangeable conditions as he spun into the grass causing a yellow flag early on in Q1.
The William’s car was salvageable and came out of the grass easily without having sustained damage.
The rest of the Q1 period saw the midfield drivers chopping and changing between the remaining 15 spots. The unlucky 5 to drop out of the first session were:
As the drivers returned to the pits after the first period of qualifying, the weather did not stop to confuse the teams with the engineers and strategists having differing opinions on tyre choices.
Some teams opted for the full wet tyres while the majority went for the intermediates. The drivers all complained of the unpredictability of the conditions.
Daniel Ricciardio mentioned in a post qualifying interview that: “… I have no idea how the track dried that quickly” in relation to the differing tyre choices. He started on wets but said he couldn’t believe how less than 30 minutes later (with continuous rain) he was on inters.
Ferrari will be one team that will not be overjoyed by their qualifying performane. Leclerc and Sainz both fell out of qualifying in Q2 with Charles in 11th and Sainz finished 13th.
Sainz is usually renowned for his wet driving abilities but mentioned later that he was not gelling with the car under the odd saturated conditions.
Stroll finished 15th, which was a surprising result for the Canadian driver who is also a driver to look out for under wet conditions. His 15th position will actually mean that he starts from 20th on the grid due to his 5-place grid penalty received in Hungary after his first lap incident with Leclerc.
Here are the drivers that dropped out after Q2:
More rain soaked the track making the drivers skeptical about the safety of the track. Sebastian Vettel was first to say that he thought the track should be red flagged due to the excessive amounts of resting water.
Almost immediately after Vettels radio message, Lando Norris came hot into Eau Rouge and lost control of the car. Norris was sent into a devastating series of spins as his car rebounded off the barriers sending debris flying onto the track including one of the cars wheels.
Lando was confirmed OK but was swiftly sent to the medical centre for an overall check and an x-ray for a suspected injured elbow.
The crash was destructive as the car spun upwards of three times. McLaren were hesitant to confirm whether Norris will be all right for the race tomorrow and the car will be written off with high chances that may include the engine.
Obviously, the impact meant the track was red-flagged as the car was retrieved and the debris cleared.
After the restart the cars were able to take to the track on intermediates but the track was still daunting.
With 9 remaining drivers the track was difficult to contain and the main contenders were not immediately those who we are used to see going the fastest.
With 2 minutes to go, George Russell took provisional pole with a few drivers left to cross the line. Two of those drivers were the current championship rivals – Verstappen and Hamilton.
But when Hamilton crossed the line it was still not enough to out perform his fellow British competitor Russell. The only driver to cross the line faster than Russell was Max Verstappen who bettered the William’s driver by 3 tenths.
An outstanding 2nd place result for the William’s driver who was physically astounded by his accomplishment and also sounded emotional over the radio when the team announced the news.
The race is now set to be an absolute fiasco with excruciatingly alternating weather patterns and a great change up in the starting grid.
Here are the provisional results before Bottas and Stroll receive their 5 place grid penalties:
featured image source: twitter.com/f1