F1 Belgian Grand Prix LIVE RESULTS: Verstappen on POLE as Russell stuns Hamilton to take second at Spa-Francorchamps

MAX VERSTAPPEN will start the Belgian Grand Prix on pole, with a Brit second on the grid – but it's not world champion Lewis Hamilton.

George Russell produced one of the laps of his life to briefly set the fastest time in Spa before the Dutchman went faster.

Lewis Hamilton could only settle for third spot on the grid after a long delay following Lando Norris' brutal crash.

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Follow ALL of the latest updates below…

  • Giacomo Pisa

    WEATHER UPDATE

    The wet weather looks set to continue at Spa for this afternoon's Grand Prix.

    The Met Office are predicting downpours for this afternoon, but Spa is renowned for its unpredictable weather – which we have already seen this weekend.

    If the rain does arrive it will be interesting to see what tyre strategies the teams opt for, with gpblog.com reporting that tyre provider Pirelli are having difficulties predicting tyre strategies.

  • Giacomo Pisa

    CHANGES NEEDED

    Daniel Ricciardo has called for crash barriers to be moved closer to the track at the infamous Eau Rouge corner at Spa – where Lando Norris was involved in a horror crash yesterday.

    Ricciardo said:“I think the balance is in the form of what history has shown.

    “As exciting as Eau Rouge is, it does tend to have big accidents pretty much every year. If it's not in F1 it will be in another category, where there are big ones. I think that's where it's a bit too much.

    “I think the corner will still be scary and exciting even if they push the barrier a few extra metres back, because it's also the way the cars then bounce back onto the track.

    “It's kind of just realigning the safety. I don't think it's changing the pure character of the corner. I think it's just removing any of the unnecessary danger. With history, and that sort of side of it, no one benefits when the danger's pointed in that direction.”

  • Giacomo Pisa

    PEDAL TO THE METAL

    Here's another stat to wet your appetite ahead of lights out at 2pm (UK time).

    The drivers spend on average 79 percent of each lap at Spa at full throttle.

    We should be in for some fast paced drama this afternoon!

  • Giacomo Pisa

    SPA STAT

    The original Spa circuit was 15km long but has now been shortened to just 7.004km, but it is still the longest circuit on the current Grand Prix calendar.

    Drivers will need to complete 44 laps in today’s race to cover the total race distance of 308.052km.

  • Giacomo Pisa

    SPA COUNTDOWN

    There's just over four hours to go now until lights at out at Spa for the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix.

    Lewis Hamilton currently holds an eight but lead over Max Verstappen in the Drivers standings.

    But Verstappen is on pole for today's race and is looking to overhaul Hamilton as the battle between Red Bull and Mercedes looks set to continue today.

  • Giacomo Pisa

    HAMILTON TEAMMATE

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has admitted he has already decided who will be partnering Lewis Hamilton next year.

    Geroge Russell has been hotly tipped to replace Valteri Bottas, but Wolff is keeping his cards close to his chest.

    He told reporters that an announcement would be made soon on Hamilton's teammate for the 2022 season.

    And he admitted that he already knows who that man will be, but is yet to reveal it to anyone else.

  • Giacomo Pisa

    LANDO LOWDOWN

    Lando Norris was the fastest man on the track in Q1 and Q2 before a horror crash during Q3 that left F1 fans with their hands over their eyes.

    But Norris is confirmed to be ok for today's race, and even said yesterday that he's disappointed not to be on pole.

    He told Motorsport.com: "Of course, I feel bad because things were going very well, the car was on fire, and Q1 and Q2 were extremely good.

    "I think I could have quite easily fought for pole position. 

    "I've now given the team a lot of work to do and probably a very late night, but [there's] not a lot I can do now."

  • Giacomo Pisa

    LEW TALKS

    Lewis Hamilton has claimed the Spa track did not grip during Saturday's qualifying.

    After securing a third place start on the grid for today's race, Hamilton said: "There’s not really too much to say. There was not a lot of grip out there for everyone. There are people with different downforce levels.

    "We tried to find the best compromise, the best balance for both potential circumstances for today and tomorrow in terms of dry and wet, and so we hope we’re OK.

    "We’ll see what the weather’s like tomorrow and we’ll see how it works."

  • Giacomo Pisa

    SPA DAY

    Lights out at today's F1 Begian Grand Prix at Spa will be at 2pm (UK time).

    Lewis Hamilton has won this race four times before, including last year's edition.

    He won't start the race from the front row though after George Russell's excellent performance in qualifying that means he starts in second behind Max Verstappen.

  • Giacomo Pisa

    'BACK WHERE WE BELONG'

    George Russell took to Twitter last night to celebrate qualifying in an excellent second place for today's Grand Prix at Spa.

    The Williams driver finished behind Red Bull's Max Verstappen and ahead of Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton in third.

    And after qualifying, Russell tweeted: "No, this isn’t a dream. This is what happens when you keep believing.

    "@WilliamsRacing on the front row. Back where we belong."

  • Marc Mayo

    NORRIS FIT TO RACE

    The FIA and Lando Norris have confirmed he will race at Spa today following his huge crash at Eau Rouge.

    The 21-year-old went for an X-ray after clutching his elbow immediately after the shunt.

    He wrote on social media: "Big crash and feeling a little bruised but I’m well and recovering ready for the race tomorrow.

    "Thank you for all the messages, see you on race day!"

  • Marc Mayo

    GOOD MORNING F1 FANS

    Williams star George Russell stunned Spa to qualify second behind Max Verstappen for the Belgian Grand Prix.

    Lewis Hamilton could only take third as Russell slotted himself between the championship rivals with just his latest mega performance on the toughest Saturday of the season.

    Mercedes have delayed their decision over who will partner Hamilton next season, but Valtteri Bottas will start only 13th in Sunday's race, with a five-place penalty for crashing in Hungary added to his eighth in qualifying.

    Russell, who is expected to be confirmed as Hamilton's new team-mate, said: "I thought we would have done a good job to get out of Q1 but I had so much confidence and the car was feeling great.

    "I was in a fortunate position having got into Q3 with nothing to lose, so we thought, let's go for it.

    "I am buzzing for tomorrow, which of course is the important one, so all eyes on that. We have to be realistic. We have fast cars behind us but I don't see why we cannot finish in the top five."

    The Belgian circuit's reputation for danger continued to grow after British star Lando Norris crashed heavily.

    The heavens opened moments before Q3 and Norris lost control at the high-speed Eau Rouge before slamming into the barriers.

    Sebastian Vettel slowed next to the McLaren driver’s wreckage to check if he was okay and he was able to gingerly climb out before heading for an X-ray on his elbow.

    Hamilton's best time was pushed aside by Russell, who at one point looked like bagging his first-ever Formula One pole.

    Red Bull superstar Verstappen struggled on his first Q3 hot lap yet soared to pole as he looks to fight back in the championship duel with the Mercedes driver.

    Hamilton said: "It has been a difficult day.

    "I am happy to see Lando is OK. He was looking incredibly quick and possibly would have squeezed me out of third place and I hope he gets back on the road tomorrow.

    "But it was a real struggle out there and I am happy to be on the second row."

  • Kostas Lianos

    RUSSELL INTERVIEW

    British star George Russell was all smiles after his performance in the Belgian Grand Prix qualifier.

    Russell finished second behind Max Verstappen following an exciting race.

    The Williams driver overcame compatriot Lewis Hamilton, who came third.

    Here's what he had to say:

  • Kostas Lianos

    WOLFF ON RUSSELL

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff suggested George Russell is on his way to partnering up with Lewis Hamilton.

    When quizzed on two occasions if he had made his decision over his driver pairing, Wolff simply said 'yes'.

    He also added: "Like George, I was a bit disappointed he was not on pole.

    "If it would have been an easier decision, we would have made it earlier because we know what we have with Valtteri [Bottas] and we know what we have with George.

    "Both of them deserve being looked after in the best possible way because both of them are part of the family and we hold them up high"

  • Kostas Lianos

    RUSS HOUR

    Williams star George Russell's proposed move to Mercedes was all but confirmed by boss Toto Wolff after he narrowly missed out on a shock pole position.

    British star Russell is expected to be confirmed as Lewis Hamilton's team-mate for 2022 within days, replacing Valtteri Bottas.

    The 23-year-old looked to have done the unthinkable and taken pole for the Belgian Grand Prix only to be pipped by Max Verstappen at the death.

    SunSport understands the delay in confirming the switch is down to securing a place for Bottas in a different Formula One team

  • Kostas Lianos

    HAMILTON REACTS

    Mercedes driver and British star Lewis Hamilton reacted to his Belgian Grand Prix qualifying performance.

    Hamilton said after the race: "It has been a difficult day.

    "I am happy to see Lando is OK. He was looking incredibly quick and possibly would have squeezed me out of third place and I hope he gets back on the road tomorrow.

    "But it was a real struggle out there and I am happy to be on the second row"

    GETTY IMAGES
  • Kostas Lianos

    RUSSEL REACTS

    British star and Williams driver George Russell is buzzing ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix Final.

    Russell said: "I thought we would have done a good job to get out of Q1 but I had so much confidence and the car was feeling great.

    "I was in a fortunate position having got into Q3 with nothing to lose, so we thought, let's go for it.

    "I am buzzing for tomorrow, which of course is the important one, so all eyes on that. We have to be realistic. We have fast cars behind us but I don't see why we cannot finish in the top five."

  • Kostas Lianos

    VETTEL ON NORRIS

    Aston Martin star Sebastian Vettel believes Lando Norris' crash proves the session shouldn't have started today.

    Vettel said: "It's always easy to play Captain Hindsight.

    "But I think we need to find a way that we listen more to the information that we have.

    "Inside the garage, it's very limited, because it's like looking out of the window. But three kilometres that way, I have no clue what is going on.

    "When I went down to Eau Rouge and came up the hill, it was a lot of water and I was calling for a red flag. I think the truth is, the session should not have started at all.

    "There's plenty of things we could have done better. I think it's better to be safe one time too many than one time too little.

    "It's good that nothing happened, that's the main news, but it could have been a different outcome for Lando"

  • Kostas Lianos

    NORRIS CRASH

    Lando Norris was taken for an X-ray after a terrifying 180mph crash during the Belgian Grand Prix qualifying.

    Footage of the crash showed Norris lose control of his car at the peak of the bend, hit the barrier, and spin several times across the track.

    Fortunately, no other cars were approaching that corner and a red flag was quickly produced.

    The incident sparked a debate over whether the final run of Saturday's session should have been delayed due to torrential rain at Spa.

  • Kostas Lianos

    TABLE REMINDER

    Red Bull star Max Verstappen finished first in the Belgian Grand Prix's qualifying round.

    Verstappen was followed by British stars George Russell and Lewis Hamilton from Williams and Mercedes respectively.

    McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo and Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel finished fourth and fifth respectively.

    More below:

  • Kealan Hughes

    HAPPY HORNER

    Christian Horner is delighted with Max Verstappen' s first place in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix.

    The Red Bull Racing team boss saw his Dutch driver excel on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, together with George Russell. The Williams driver was complimented by Horner.

    He said: "The main thing is that I think Norris is doing well.

    "It was a matter of working your way through the sessions, following the conditions and not getting ahead of ourselves.

    "We made the right decisions at the right time. Max manoeuvred himself into a good position and showed it."

  • Ben Hunt

    BUT HE IS BEATEN BY VERSTAPPEN

    Heartbreak for Russell, who is dumped down to second, but still, what a result for the Brit.

    He outqualifies Hamilton, who is third. The grid is Verstappen, Russell, Hamilton, Ricciardo, Vettel, Gasly, Perez, Bottas, Ocon, Norris.

  • Ben Hunt

    RUSSELL TAKES PROVISIONAL POLE

    The track is drying and the Brit smashes in a time at the top. Sensational stuff.

  • Ben Hunt

    ONE MINUTE TO GO

    Hamilton still on provisional pole from Perez and then Verstappen. They will all have one more go.

  • Ben Hunt

    HAMILTON STRUGGLING

    He is wrestling to keep that Merc on the road. He is fighting it. Spray going everywhere.

    He completes the lap to take a provisional pole.

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