SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, BELGIUM (REUTERS, AFP) – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won the rain-hit Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday (Aug 29) without racing even a single lap, as half-points were awarded for only the sixth time in Formula One history.
After some three hours of waiting for the rain to subside, the race started from the pit lane and behind the safety car and was then stopped after completing the two laps required to award half-points.
George Russell finished second for Williams, his first Formula One podium, with seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton third for Mercedes.
Hamilton’s overall lead over Verstappen was cut from eight points to three after the shortest race in Formula One history – all 14km of it.
Organisers finally gave the go-ahead for a rolling start behind a safety car at 6.30pm (12.30am on Aug 30 in Singapore), three and a half hours after the scheduled start.
But after two laps with the spray flying the race was stopped with conditions deemed too dicey at the track where Formula 2 driver Antoine Hubert lost his life in 2019.
The signs were ominous from the start of the afternoon when Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez aquaplaned on his way to the original start at Les Combes.
In the end, Saturday’s qualifying proved pivotal as the Dutchman acknowledged.
“Now, in hindsight, it was important to get the pole position – but it was a shame not to do proper laps,” said the Belgian-born driver.
“The visibility was very low. If we had started at 1500 (local time), we would have had a better chance.
“It’s a win but not really in the right way. Credit to the fans to stay here all day. In the cold and rain. They are the bigger winners today.”