Lando Norris’ unnecessary crash in Q3 assisted race directors in suspending any green flag running in the unusual Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix.
An intense rainstorm soddened qualifying and race day.
Both days had similar weather conditions, with the rain during qualifying almost equally as consistent as it was during the race.
An isolated heavy shower affected the final part of qualifying, which drenched the Spa-Francorchamps circuit just as the first handful of cars dawdled onto the track.
It was a decision heavily criticised by Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel.
“It’s clear we should not have gone green,” Vettel said.
A big crash for Norris at the top of Eau Rouge on his first timed lap, a consequence of losing control of his McLaren amid the treacherous conditions, emphasised Vettel’s claims.
“I think Michael (Masi, F1 race director) is not proud of what happened,” Vettel said after Q3.
“It’s easy to play Captain Hindsight, but we need to find a way to listen more to the information we have.
“It’s always easy afterwards, the main thing is it doesn’t happen again.”
And by delaying and eventually cancelling the Grand Prix following heavier rain, Masi and F1 may well have avoided a similarly nasty accident.
“Based on what [the drivers] told me, and having experienced the conditions at this circuit, we probably wouldn’t have started,” Masi said about the race.
“They gave me some amazing feedback on what can and can’t happen, which helped my process for the race”.
Nearly the entire field supported the decision not to go racing.
The only driver who did want the race to begin was polesitter Max Verstappen, who had the advantage of starting from the front and not dealing with the spray of rival cars.
“From pole position for sure you can start,” Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz said.
“From P11, there wasn’t [time when] I saw it ready to start.”
Lewis Hamilton, who was starting further up the field, echoed Sainz’s comments.
“You really couldn’t see the car ahead, there was aquaplaning, it was unfortunately just a disaster on track.”