Max Verstappen closes the gap to Hamilton as Belgian Grand Prix ruined by rain

Max Verstappen was awarded victory after heavy downpours put paid to Formula One's return following the mid-season break.

Agency News Contributor

Updated - 29 August 2021 11:52 pm

The Belgian Grand Prix was called off at a rain-soaked Spa after just two laps, though that was still enough racing for Max Verstappen to claim a victory that cuts Lewis Hamilton's championship lead. Heavy downpours ruined Formula One's return after the mid-season break, with the start delayed by over three hours after Sergio Perez had crashed while making his way out onto the grid.

Eventually the cars did get out onto the track with the plan to stage a one-hour race amid time constraints, only for the red flag to again be waved after the field had tip-toed around behind the safety car.

However, having managed to successfully get around the circuit twice, a final result was declared with half points awarded.

Having claimed pole position in qualifying on Saturday, Verstappen was awarded the victory, his sixth of a hugely impressive 2021 campaign for Red Bull.

Hamilton settles for third place

Hamilton, meanwhile, had to settle for third place, behind fellow Briton George Russell. It means the reigning world champion leads the driver standings by just three points with 10 rounds to go.

"It's a win but not how you want to win. Today a big credit goes to all the fans around the track for staying here the whole day in the rain, the cold, windy conditions. They are actually the bigger winners today," Verstappen said.

Racing had already been pushed back from the scheduled start of 15:00 local time (14:00 BST) when Perez provided a further complication. The Red Bull driver lost control in the tricky conditions and skidded into a barrier. Unable to reverse out, he climbed out and appeared set to be out of the race.

But, with his team having time to work on the damage amid the lengthy stoppage, the Mexican was cleared by race director Michael Masi to resume from the pit lane.

In the end, the entire grid returned from the pits behind the safety car to try and get under way, only for the red flag to be waved again. Not long after, it was confirmed racing had been stopped, bringing a rather damp and disappointing end to proceedings.

IN THE POINTS

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

2. George Russell (Williams)

3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

4. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)

5. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin)

6. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)

7. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)

8. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

9. Nicholas Latifi (Williams)

10. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 202.5

2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 199.5

3. Lando Norris (McLaren) – 113

4. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 108

5. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – 104

Constructors

Constructors

1. Mercedes – 310

2. Red Bull – 303

3. McLaren – 169

4. Ferrari – 165

5. Alpine – 80

Match 34

Mumbai vs Kolkata

23 September 2021 07:30 pm ist

Match 35

Bangalore vs Chennai

24 September 2021 07:30 pm ist

Match 34

Mumbai vs Kolkata

23 September 2021 07:30 pm ist

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