Verstappen wins Belgian GP with no racing and half points - The Race
Formula 1

Verstappen wins Belgian GP with no racing and half points

Aug 29 2021
By Scott Mitchell-Malm

Max Verstappen won, George Russell scored his first Formula 1 podium and only half points were awarded in a controversial Belgian Grand Prix that featured no racing.

Three laps of running behind the safety car were all that could be completed in miserable weather conditions at Spa-Francorchamps.

The result was therefore determined by qualifying as the drivers ran behind the safety car in grid order except for Sergio Perez, who crashed during the initial reconnaissance laps.

The field left the pits behind the safety car and with the race restarted these laps finally started counting towards the race total.

On the third lap out of the pits the race was red-flagged – which meant even though it happened back in the pitlane, Verstappen completed three laps and allowed half points to be awarded.

That meant world championship leader Lewis Hamilton finishes third and now has an advantage of only three points over Belgian GP victor Verstappen in the standings.

The race was due to begin at 3pm local time but the start was delayed four times before the formation lap finally began at 3.25pm behind the safety car.

It was red-flagged after just two laps under caution though, with the race yet to officially start due to constant rain that left track conditions and visibility poor.

Red flag conditions were observed for an hour and a half before the race was “temporarily” stopped by the stewards in an unprecedented move “on the grounds of force majeure”.

That meant the three-hour window for the race to be completed in was paused, extending the limit to get the race done beyond 6pm.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Belgian Grand Prix Race Day Spa Francorchamps, Belgium

FIA race director Michael Masi hoped the delay would allow for a break in the weather that made some racing possible and F1 broadcast a message indicating it was hopeful a one-hour race could be completed.

Just over an hour after the stewards’ decision, the FIA announced that the race would resume at 18:17 local time with the intention of satisfying the rule that “more than two laps” must be completed to award half-points.

The field left the pits behind the safety car and with the race restarted these laps finally started counting towards the race total.

On the third lap out of the pits the race was red-flagged – which meant even though it happened back in the pitlane, Verstappen completed three laps to allow half points to be awarded.

The top 10 was therefore as follows, with the following points awarded:

1) Max Verstappen: 12.5
2) George Russell: 9
3) Lewis Hamilton: 7.5
4) Daniel Ricciardo: 6
5) Sebastian Vettel: 5
6) Pierre Gasly: 4
7) Esteban Ocon: 3
8) Charles Leclerc: 2
9) Nicholas Latifi: 1
10) Carlos Sainz: 0.5

Nikita Mazepin set the fastest lap and would have taken half a point as there is no part of the rules that says a lap under the safety car is ineligible – but he did not finish inside the top 10 so is ineligible for the bonus.

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