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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Method One: Max Verstappen wins 4-lap Belgian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen received a rain-soaked Belgian Grand Prix when it was lastly known as off Sunday after it restarted underneath a security automotive almost three hours later than its scheduled time.

The race was shortened to final one hour with solely half factors awarded to the winner, who wanted to finish solely two laps to earn factors.

(BENOIT DOPPAGNE/BELGA MAG/AFP through Getty Photos)

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“Now, in hindsight, it was essential to get the pole place,” Pink Bull driver Verstappen mentioned. “However it was a disgrace to not do correct laps.”

He was main from Williams driver George Russell and Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton on Lap 4 when the restarted race ended after roughly 10 minutes with rain nonetheless lashing down.

“In fact it is a win however not the way you wish to win,” Verstappen mentioned. “Credit score to all of the followers who stayed right here for therefore lengthy. They’re the actual winners at present.”

Verstappen’s sixth win of the season was the sixteenth of his profession and stopped Hamilton incomes a record-extending one hundredth win, whereas additionally trimming his total lead from eight factors to a few.

Verstappen collected 12.5 factors as a substitute of 25, with Russell getting 9 for his second profession podium and Hamilton choosing up 7.5.

Followers cheered loudly from the stands and the hills across the observe when it was introduced the race would begin once more at 6:17 p.m. native time (1617 GMT) — 3 hours, 17 minutes after it usually would have.

However after simply 10 minutes of Verstappen rolling cautiously behind the security automotive it was suspended for a second time at simply earlier than 6:30 p.m.

“I actually hope the followers get their a refund at present,” Hamilton mentioned. “They had been unimaginable.”

The primary time the race was suspended was shortly after 3:30 p.m. native time following a formation lap.

The 7-kilometer (4.3-mile) Spa-Francorchamps circuit was completely drenched. Soaked followers huddled underneath giant umbrellas on muddy banks as they waited for the worst of the rain to cross. The thick clouds and mist hanging over the Ardennes forest additionally gave the circuit a frightening look and made for poor visibility.

When the drivers launched into their formation laps the primary time round, a number of complained.

“I actually can’t see something,” mentioned Hamilton, who was chasing a fifth win on the observe.

The choice to droop the beginning was made just a few moments later.

“It’s moist, however I feel it’s high quality to race,” mentioned Verstappen who began from pole for the sixth time this season and ninth total.

His teammate Sergio Perez seemed to be out of the race earlier than it even began, sliding off the observe throughout the warmup lap at round 2:30 p.m. and damaging his entrance suspension.

Pink Bull requested race management if Perez might begin the race in the event that they repaired his automotive in time. The FIA mentioned it was contemplating the request and later introduced Perez could be allowed to begin from the pit lane.

At 5 p.m. an extra delay was introduced.

McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo entertained the followers ready within the grandstand from the pit lane. In his 2 hundredth F1 race, the favored Australian made extravagant hand gestures and waved to them as they chanted “Daniel, Daniel.”

“I clearly really feel for them,” Ricciardo mentioned. “We’re in it collectively however circumstances are out of our management.”

It was a poor present for F1 — following some thrilling races this season — however for Russell it was an enormous race for his profession.

Russell, who got here by means of the Mercedes younger driver program, is being touted as a doable Mercedes driver subsequent 12 months if the crew doesn’t renew Valtteri Bottas’ contract. Bottas was twelfth and scored no factors.

Russell began from second following a superb qualifying session on Saturday that actually caught the attention.

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“We don’t typically get rewarded for an excellent qualifying however at present we completely did,” he mentioned. “There’s been a lot arduous work over the previous few years and right here we’re on the rostrum.”

Hamilton was vital of those that had let the race go forward, he felt, for the sake of it.

“They despatched us out for the 2 laps behind the security automotive to get a race,” the seven-time F1 champion mentioned. “You couldn’t actually see 5 meters in entrance of you. It was arduous to even see down the straight. You couldn’t go flat out.”

The following race is the Dutch GP subsequent weekend, the place tens of 1000’s of orange-clad house followers will probably be roaring on their countryman Verstappen as he seems to reclaim the championship lead.



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