#1 Max Verstappen, (NED) Oracle Red Bull Racing, Honda during the Belgian GP, Spa-Francorchamps 27-30 July 2023 Formula 1 World championship 2023.

F1: Verstappen storms to pole for Belgian GP Sprint race

World driving champion Max Verstappen was fastest in all three qualifying sessions to take pole position for today’s Belgian GP Sprint Race at Spa-Francorchamps.

–by Mark Cipolloni–

On a track that was still drying, Verstappen just nipped sensational McLaren rookie Oscar Piastri by 0.011s who is beginning to get the better of his British teammate Lando Norris.

#81 Oscar Piastri, (AUS) McLaren Mercedes during the Belgian GP, Spa-Francorchamps 27-30 July 2023 Formula 1 World championship 2023.
#81 Oscar Piastri, (AUS) McLaren Mercedes during the Belgian GP, Spa-Francorchamps 27-30 July 2023 Formula 1 World championship 2023.

The session started off very wet and Intermediate tires were needed for Q1 and Q2.

“It was pretty difficult, quite similar to yesterday. I think we stayed calm, the gap was not as big as yesterday, but there was no need to risk it all.

“I left a little time on the table, let’s see this afternoon if it rains again. I’ll try to have a good start, we’ll have clean, clear vision, which is important if it’s going to be wet,” said Verstappen, who also won the pole for Sunday’s feature race.

Carlos Sainz Jr. was a close third in his #55 Ferrari, just 0.025s behind.

Charles Leclerc was 4th in the #16 Ferrari, 0.333s behind, while Lando Norris rounded out the top-5 in the 2nd Ferrari.

The two Mercedes drivers tripped over each other a couple of times. Hamilton started his lap very close to his teammate, perhaps expecting a slipstream.

Instead, Russell didn’t get out of the way and by the time Hamilton tried to pass him, he’d lost too much time and Hamilton ended up 7th after being 2nd behind Verstappen in Q1 and Q2.

The entire Aston Martin team was screwed in Q2 when Lance Stroll crashed on medium slick tires and teammate Fernando Alonso never got to set a time. Clearly the track was still too wet.

They will start 14th and 15th for the Sprint race.

Rain is forecast to soak the track again ahead of the Sprint Race in a few hours time, and teams will have to decide which tires to start the race on if it appears the track will be drying.

Sprint Race Qualifying Results

1 Max Verstappen NED Oracle Red Bull Racing 1m58.135s 1m55.200s 1m49.056s
2 Oscar Piastri AUS McLaren F1 Team 2m00.056s 1m56.392s 1m49.067s
3 Carlos Sainz ESP Scuderia Ferrari 1m59.414s 1m56.557s 1m49.081s
4 Charles Leclerc MON Scuderia Ferrari 1m59.575s 1m56.265s 1m49.251s
5 Lando Norris GBR McLaren F1 Team 2m00.436s 1m56.828s 1m49.389s
6 Pierre Gasly FRA BWT Alpine F1 Team 2m00.032s 1m56.137s 1m49.700s
7 Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas 1m58.939s 1m55.823s 1m49.900s
8 Sergio Perez MEX Oracle Bull Racing 1m59.362s 1m55.878s 1m49.961s
9 Esteban Ocon FRA BWT Alpine F1 Team 1m59.884s 1m57.051s 1m50.494s
10 George Russell GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas 2m00.475s 1m57.393s 1m55.742s
11 Daniel Ricciardo AUS Scuderia AlphaTauri 2m00.177s 1m57.687s
12 Alex Albon THA Williams Racing 1m59.198s No Time Set
13 Logan Sargeant USA Williams Racing 2m00.031s No Time Set
14 Lance Stroll CAN Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant 2m00.460s No Time Set
15 Fernando Alonso ESP Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant 1m59.038s No Time Set
16 Yuki Tsunoda JPN Scuderia AlphaTauri 2m00.568s
17 Valtteri Bottas FIN Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake 2m00.951s
18 Kevin Magnussen DEN MoneyGram Haas F1 Team 2m01.079s
19 Zhou Guanyu CHN Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake 2m01.430s
20 Nico Hulkenberg GER MoneyGram Haas F1 Team No Time Set


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