The “win” has helped the Belgian-Dutch driver to close the gap to Lewis Hamilton down to three points. While an ecstatic George Russell celebrated his first career podium.
What are the rules?
FIA rules state that to confirm a general classification at least two laps need to be completed, which is what happened, albeit behind the safety car.
The top 10 drivers in the classification are awarded half points for the race. To qualify for full points, a minimum of 75% of the race – 33 laps at Spa – needed to be completed.
As expected, Saturday’s qualifying took place on a wet track and what a qualifying event it was.
The extreme track conditions led to plenty of expletive radio messages sent by frustrated drivers – the standout message was by Lance Stroll which required a lengthy beep over it.
The wet conditions also ended any chance the Ferrari drivers had.
Both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz found it tough and were eliminated in Q2.
The final session started tentatively as drivers bided their time, apart from Lando Norris. The Mclaren driver went out early and had a massive crash, forcing Q3 to be red flagged.
The drama continued after the restart. As the clock ticked to zero, George “Mr Saturday” Russell put in the best lap of his career to take an unexpected provisional pole by almost one-and-a-half seconds from Hamilton.
With all other drivers on a fast lap – apart from Lando who put in no time – the waiting began.
Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez were the next to cross, both unable to beat the Williams driver’s time.
With Max Verstappen the only real threat left, the home crowd held their breath. As Verstappen crossed the line, a huge cheer went up as their man had broken two minutes to take pole.
After the race, Lewis Hamilton was very clear about his stance on the matter.
”Money talks. And the two laps was a money scenario. Everyone gets their money – and I think the fans should too. It’s a shame we couldn’t do the race tomorrow.
“Today wasn’t a race. I think the sport made a bad choice today.
This minimum of two laps you need to have a race, in the gap [between the ‘race’ stopping and resuming] it rained consistently. There was only one reason why they sent us out today.”
It is hard to argue with the Mercedes driver.
What a farce!
The fallout from this race is going to be worth monitoring. The two-lap rule will need to be looked at, and the schedule will come into question.
Race director Michael Masi said: “There’s no ability to postpone the race until tomorrow.
“Safety is paramount for drivers and spectators. We were given the opportunity to be able to complete a race, but we could not go the full distance.
What could have been an amazing race, ended up being laughable.
The teams will now make the short trip to the Netherlands where the championship battle continues.