Australia

Max Verstappen wins the shortest grand prix in F1 history

Max Verstappen has won a Belgian Grand Prix without having to complete a lap that was not behind the safety car.

Torrential rain on Sunday at Spa-Francorchamps halted the race before it started, with hours of false starts and drama ending with half points awarded as two laps were officially completed.

The two official laps behind the safety car came more than three hours after the scheduled start, with Verstappen winning from George Russell and Lewis Hamilton.

The two laps also mean the race is the shortest in Formula One history.

Because the race did not complete 75 per cent of its distance, only half points were awarded.

Verstappen said after the race he was happy to close the gap to Hamilton for the drivers’ championship but was disappointed with the day.

“It was very important to get that pole position,” he said.

“The conditions were very tricky out there.

Where drivers qualified is where they finished the race with the exception of Sergio Perez.

On the lap to the grid 35 minutes before the scheduled start, Red Bull’s Perez crashed his car after getting on the curbs at turn six.

Perez was able to join the two official laps at the end of the day, finishing last. 

Australian Daniel Ricciardo achieved his best result of the season with fourth.

Daniel Ricciardo’s excellent qualifying session paid off on Sunday.(

Reuters: Johanna Geron

)

False starts and long delays sour grand prix

Race directors delayed the start four times as the rain mercilessly fell on the circuit with the drivers doing two formation laps behind the safety car at 11:25pm AEST. 

But after two laps the cars were called back into the pits where they stayed for close to three hours.

RIcciardo told his team over the radio that abandoning the start was the “right call”.

As the rain continued to fall the drivers entertained themselves in the garage.

In the stands, thousands of fans stood in the rain with only the occasional test lap around the track by the medical support car.

At 2:17am AEST the cars went back out on track behind the safety car to officially start a one-hour timed race.

But once two laps had been completed, meaning the Grand Prix was classified, the drivers were pulled back into the pits.

Poor weather hampered the entire race weekend at Spa-Francorchamps.

Saturday’s third qualifying session was stopped when Ricciardo’s teammate Lando Norris crashed on the fast Eau Rouge corner on his first flying lap.


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