Max Verstappen fastest at Spa, but Carlos Sainz Jr. on pole

On a dry track, the Dutch driver (born in Belgium) recorded an unbeatable time of 1 min 43 s 665/1000. He beat Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr. by 63 hundredths of a second.

However, it is Sainz son who will take Verstappen’s place in pole position, because Red Bull has chosen to change parts in the power unit of the Dutchman’s single-seater, beyond the quotas allowed by the regulations. He is therefore pushed back to 15th place on the grid.

We will already have to survive at the start, said Verstappen. With such a car, it would be a shame not to finish on the podium.

Just like Charles Leclerc moreover, who was 4th fastest at 8 tenths of the reference time. The Monegasque will start from 16th place.

They found something this weekend which is quite impressive, it’s a big gap, reacted Leclerc. I hope that in Zandvoort it will change, but before that we have the race.

Leclerc is referring to the next grand prix, which will take place in the Netherlands, by the North Sea.

At Spa-Francorchamps this weekend, several drivers received the same penalty and the starting grid will be very different from the others. They are Lando Norris, Esteban Ocon, Valtteri Bottas, Zhou Guanyu and Mick Schumacher.

I’m happy to start on pole, but I’m not so happy when I see the gap we have with Max, put Sainz into perspective. We have to understand why they are so fast on this circuit.

In the second row, we will find two former world champions: Fernando Alonso (Alpine-Renault) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-Benz), looking for their first victory this season.

On the third row, we will find George Russell and Alexander Albon, author in his Williams of a superb performance in qualifying. The Thai reached Q3 and was 9th in time. Taking advantage of the penalties to his opponents, he will start 6th.

Quebecer Lance Stroll, whose mother is Belgian, was 14th in the session and jumped ahead on the grid. He will indeed start from 9th place just ahead of his teammate Sebastian Vettel.

Not easy on the track, I had no grip, and you have to see why we lost time as qualifying progressed, said Stroll. I was hoping for better than 14th in lap time. But as the car reacts better in the race, and as I start from 9th place on the grid, I am confident of being able to score points in the race.

Toronto’s Nicholas Latifi is also doing well, as he recorded the 17th fastest time, and he will start from 11th place on the grid.

I thought we had improved in the last free practice session because I felt better in the carsaid Latifi.

We had the potential to go into Q2, so I’m disappointed. My last qualifying lap (in Q1) was the worst of my weekend, he added. I was surprised by the behavior of the car and the tyres, and I made some mistakes. It’s a shame, but because of the penalties, I’ll be starting from a better place on the grid, and we’ll have to take advantage of that.

Classification of the qualifying session of the Belgian Grand Prix

  • 1. Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull) 1:43.665
  • 2. Carlos Sainz Jr. (ESP/Ferrari) 1:44.297
  • 3. Sergio Perez (MEX/Red Bull) 1:44.462
  • 4. Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari) 1:44,553
  • 5. Esteban Ocon (FRA/Alpine-Renault) 1:45.180
  • 6. Fernando Alonso (ESP/Alpine-Renault) 1:45.368
  • 7. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes-Benz) 1:45.503
  • 8. George Russell (GBR/Mercedes-Benz) 1:45.776
  • 9. Alexander Albon (THA/Williams-Mercedes-Benz) 1:45.837
  • 10. Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes-Benz) 1:46.178

Eliminated in Q2

  • 11. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/McLaren-Mercedes-Benz)
  • 12. Pierre Gasly (FRA/AlphaTauri-Red Bull)
  • 13. Zhou Guanyu (CHN/Alfa Romeo Sauber)
  • 14. Lance Stroll (CAN/Aston Martin-Mercedes-Benz)
  • 15. Mick Schumacher (GER/Haas-Ferrari)

Eliminated in Q1

  • 16. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Aston Martin-Mercedes-Benz)
  • 17. Nicholas Latifi (CAN/Williams-Mercedes-Benz)
  • 18. Kevin Magnussen (DEN/Haas-Ferrari)
  • 19. Yuki Tsunoda (JPN/AlphaTauri-Red Bull)
  • 20. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Alfa Romeo Sauber)

Starting grid (after penalties applied)

1st line:

  • Carlos Sainz Jr. (ESP/Ferrari)
  • Sergio Perez (MEX/Red Bull)

2nd line:

  • Fernando Alonso (ESP/Alpine-Renault)
  • Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes-Benz)

3rd line:

  • George Russell (GBR/Mercedes-Benz)
  • Alexander Albon (THA/Williams-Mercedes-Benz)

4th line:

  • Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/McLaren-Mercedes-Benz)
  • Pierre Gasly (FRA/AlphaTauri-Red Bull)

5th line:

  • Lance Stroll (CAN/Aston Martin-Mercedes-Benz)
  • Sebastian Vettel (GER/Aston Martin-Mercedes-Benz)

6th line:

  • Nicholas Latifi (CAN/Williams-Mercedes-Benz)
  • Kevin Magnussen (DEN/Haas-Ferrari)

7th line:

  • Yuki Tsunoda (JPN/AlphaTauri-Red Bull)
  • Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Alfa Romeo Sauber)

8th line:

  • Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull)
  • Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari)

9th line:

  • Esteban Ocon (FRA/Alpine-Renault)
  • Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes-Benz)

10th line:

  • Zhou Guanyu (CHN/Alfa Romeo Sauber)
  • Mick Schumacher (GER/Haas-Ferrari)

Where will Oscar Piastri go?

The Alpine-Renault and McLaren teams both believe they have a valid contract with Australian driver Oscar Piastri.

Will Oscar Piastri be an F1 driver at Alpine-Renault in 2023?

Photo: Getty Images/Clive Mason

After the announcement at the beginning of August that Fernando Alonso would leave for Aston Martin in 2023, Alpine announced that its reserve driver Oscar Piastri would be his replacement in 2023. But Piastri, 21, hastened to deny Alpine-Renault’s announcement.

I have not signed a contract with Alpine-Renault for 2023, he wrote. I won’t be a driver for Alpine next year.

To settle this imbroglio, which is not the first in F1, the contract recognition office (CRB) of F1 will hear the two teams on Monday.

The CRB is a competent arbitration mechanism in this area.

We will ask the CRB to decide which contract Oscar signed has priority. I’ve seen both arguments, and I’m confidentsaid the general manager of Alpine-Renault, Otmar Szafnauer.

The CRB was created in 1991 following the passage of the German Michael Schumacher at Benetton during the season, when he had disputed the first Grand Prix of the 1991 season with the Jordan team, in Belgium.

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