Verstappen Wins Shortest Ever Grand Prix In Spa With Russell Gaining First Podium!

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB16B leads behind the Mercedes FIA Safety Car. 29.08.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, Race Day. © Copyright: Moy / XPB Images

By Myanna Wedes

One of the most controversial weekends of Formula One took place with one of the shortest ever Formula One Grand Prix races completed with less than 75% of the race completed. Half points were awarded as more than two laps were completed and many fans were shocked considering the treatment of fans during the crazy weather. It was not a smooth sailing weekend, with race day commencing and Sergio Perez crashing on the lap to the grid.

The visibility across the entire weekend was questionable and with some laps showcasing bravery and others just a clear indication that the race was unlikely to happen with repeat harsh conditions day upon day. The fans braved the entire weekend to see track action and their support for the sport was loud, colourful and well-received. Some Team Principals were happy with the half points being awarded and others were not. We can see both sides of the argument here. What are your thoughts on the decision to give half points?

We have to be happy for George Russell to achieve his first podium finish although some will say it was not earned in the normal way. With that said, his qualifying session the day before was superb and he was in the right place at the right time. This is now etched in history.

With all of the above said, we have a few things to make mention of for future races:

  • The idea of a 2 lap race minimum rule should be scrapped as it caused major controversy not only for team, drivers, also fans who waited around for a very long time period and were not able to watch the racing they were promised to see.
  • Weather monitoring needs to be consistently revisited and decisions made earlier.
  • Fans have to be looked after as a number one prioirty. The sport relies on their connection to varying events across the globe. With such a loyal fan base, you must do everything possible to ensure they are cared for because one poor event or bad experience can be a reason to ditch the sport for good.
  • Celebrating on the podium with such a minimal race did not have the same impact for those watching trackside or at home in the comfort of their living rooms. It felt awkward to watch.
  • The improvement of safety at Spa is a major one. This circuit is one you can feel emotionally and physically. It needs to remain and with that said, less accidents occur that brand themselves upon the minds and tarmac. We are excited to see improvements made and more racing take place on such an iconic circuit.
  • Michael Masi deciding to run the two lap race will always be a topic for discussion. Everyone has their opinions. What are yours? In particular, do you support Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso’s criticism that the race should not have run whilst Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez supported the decision to race whilst someone like Lando Norris was conflicted with his feelings.

If you like the silver linings theory, it applied to George Russell and we have to be happy for him because his result is official. No one will ever be able to take it away from him!

No doubt when we watch this race back, meet at a local pub or family day event, Spa will be a topic to discuss as everyone has some emotional response to how the event unfolded.

Max Verstappen:

“Now in hindsight it was very important to get that pole position but of course it’s a big shame to not do proper laps, but the conditions were very tricky out there. I mean, I said it at 1530 like, ‘let’s go’; I think the conditions were decent, but the visibility was very low, so I think if we would have started at three o’clock we had a better chance.

“But nevertheless, after that it just stayed really wet and it kept raining. Of course, it’s a win but it’s not how you want to win. I think for today, big credit goes to all the fans around the track to stay here. The whole day in the rain, in the cold, windy conditions, so I think they’re actually the bigger winners today”.

George Russell:

The conditions were incredibly difficult out there and even in second with only one car in front, sometimes I couldn’t even see Max (Verstappen) ahead. I’m really sorry for everyone at the track and those watching around the world that we couldn’t race but safety has to come first.

It’s a strange feeling as I’ve never had a race finish like this in my career, but a podium is a podium and we will take it no matter what. We were rewarded for the amazing job we did as a team yesterday. Obviously if the race had gone ahead today it would have been incredibly difficult for us to hold our position, but you’ve got to take it as it comes. It was only last race in Hungary that I scored my first points for Williams and here we are standing on the podium at the Belgian Grand Prix! It is a reward for all of the hard work everyone in the team has put in over these past three years.

George Russell (GBR) Williams Racing celebrates his second position with the team. 29.08.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, Race Day. © Copyright: Bearne / XPB Images

Lewis Hamilton:

“Firstly, I’m really disappointed for the fans. It’s no one’s fault, you can’t control the weather, but the fans have been incredible today, sticking with us the whole time, holding out for a potential race, keeping their energy up and creating the atmosphere. They were robbed of a race today, unfortunately. I love racing in the rain, but today was something else. You couldn’t see the car ahead, there was aquaplaning, it was so, so tricky out there. It’s a shame because of course I wanted to race and I love this track as well. I think it would have been a great race if it hadn’t rained so hard, but unfortunately it just didn’t stop.”

2021 Belgian Grand Prix, Sunday – Steve Etherington
POSNODRIVERCARLAPSTIME/RETIREDPTS
133Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA10:03:27.07112.5
263George RussellWILLIAMS MERCEDES1+1.995s9
344Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES1+2.601s7.5
43Daniel RicciardoMCLAREN MERCEDES1+4.496s6
55Sebastian VettelASTON MARTIN MERCEDES1+7.479s5
610Pierre GaslyALPHATAURI HONDA1+10.177s4
731Esteban OconALPINE RENAULT1+11.579s3
816Charles LeclercFERRARI1+12.608s2
96Nicholas LatifiWILLIAMS MERCEDES1+15.484s1
1055Carlos SainzFERRARI1+16.166s0.5
1114Fernando AlonsoALPINE RENAULT1+20.590s0
1277Valtteri BottasMERCEDES1+22.414s0
1399Antonio GiovinazziALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI1+24.163s0
144Lando NorrisMCLAREN MERCEDES1+27.109s0
1522Yuki TsunodaALPHATAURI HONDA1+28.329s0
1647Mick SchumacherHAAS FERRARI1+29.507s0
179Nikita MazepinHAAS FERRARI1+31.993s0
187Kimi RäikkönenALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI1+36.054s0
1911Sergio PerezRED BULL RACING HONDA1+38.205s0
2018Lance StrollASTON MARTIN MERCEDES1+44.108s0
2021 Belgian Grand Prix, Sunday – Jiri Krenek