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Verstappen claims pole at Spa


Ahead of Q1 the air temperature is 18 degrees C, while the track temperature is 22 degrees.

While it has stopped raining, there is a 40% chance of further downpours, while F2 qualifying was pretty much washed out.

As a result of the fact that F2 qualifying overran, the start of Q1 is delayed by ten minutes.

Though the sun hasn't quite broken through, the track is clearly drying... which is more than can be said for the spectators lining the circuit.

Despite the delay, several minutes before the green light the Mercedes take their place at the pitlane exit, along with Bottas.

The sun finally emerges.

Hamilton complains that his right mirror has "moved, however the team tells him that a mechanic cannot work on the car while he is in the pitlane.

The lights go green and Russell leads the way, he is followed by Hamilton, Bottas, Norris, Alonso and Piastri, all of whom are on Inters.

Despite the rain having stopped, despite the sun shining there is still plenty of spray being thrown up into the air.

"We're happy to go fast after Turn 15," Alonso is told.

Russell gets things underway with a 2:02.360, however Hamilton responds with a 2.280.

Albon goes third and Bottas fourth but all are demoted when Norris stops the clock at 1.874.

Sainz has time deleted for exceeding the track limits at Turn 10.

A 2.708 sees Alonso go fourth, ahead of Piastri, Albon and Stroll.

Russell improves to 1.485 while Hamilton posts a 1.714.

The Mercedes pair are split when Verstappen crosses the line at 1.597, however, the Dutchman is demoted when Piastri goes quickest (1.438).

An impeding incident involving Albon and Verstappen has been noted, as Norris is advised that he could have front wing damage after running wide in Turn 15.

Sainz goes quickest with a 0.536 as Verstappen goes second (0.555).

Alonso goes third (0.752), as Leclerc goes sixth.

Tsunoda goes seventh (1.662) and Ricciardo 12th (2.159).

"We will be very tight on time for a fast, slow, fast," Russell is warned.

With 5:00 remaining Sargeant has yet to post a timer, he is joined in the drop zone by Magnussen, Hulkenberg, Bottas and Zhou.

Perez goes second (59.911) but is demoted when his teammate posts a 58.932.

Russell calls for his teammate to speed up as he is losing time behind the seven-time world champion.

Piastri goes second (59.055) but Hamilton improves with a 58.841.

Gasly improves to seventh and Russell fourth as the track continues to dry.

Ocon goes fifth (59.634) having been quickest of all in S1.

"Find some water and cool the tyres down," Hamilton is told.

As the clock ticks down, Alonso is warned of "bunching" at the final chicane.

Magnussen goes ninth, the Dane quickest in S3.

Albon goes eleventh.

Hulkenberg won't make the cut after suffering a hydraulics issue.

Tsunoda goes fourth and Bottas sixth, while a 58.515 sees Verstappen go top.

Ricciardo goes sixth and Stroll tenth, however the Australian's time is deleted. "Sorry," says the AlphaTauri driver.

Alonso goes second but is leapfrogged by Hamilton.

Russell goes sixth while a 58.300 sees Leclerc go top.

Quickest is Leclerc, ahead of Verstappen, Hamilton, Sainz, Alonso, Piastri, Perez, Russell, Tsunoda and Bottas.

We lose Albon, Zhou, Sargeant, Ricciardo and Hulkenberg.

Hamilton leads the way as Q2 gets underway, the Briton followed by his teammate, Bottas, Magnussen, Stroll and Piastri.

"Is there rain on the radar," asks Hamilton. He is assured that there is not and that it is transitioning to dry.

"It's not too far off slicks," reports Piastri.

Hamilton posts a 58.024 and Russell a 58.272, however Bottas goes top with a 57.657.

No sooner has Magnussen posted a 57.413 than Piastri responds with a 56.370.

Ocon goes second with a 56.372, but the Frenchman is demoted when Leclerc, Perez and Verstappen (55.535) all go quicker.

"No way I can get the delta down," says Hamilton as Albon is under investigation for impeding Gasly, the Briton having gone off and rejoined the track just ahead of the Alpine.

With 7:00 remaining, Perez, Alonso, Bottas and the McLarens switch to softs.

Hamilton has also been noted for rejoining the track unsafely after going off.

Magnussen and Sainz are the last to make the switch to softs.

Bottas is the first driver to post a time on softs, the Finn only managing a 57.657 to put him 10th.

"I hit the wall guys, I think the front wing's gone," says Ocon. Indeed it has. He subsequently goes wide at Turn 9 causing further damage.

There are improvements but they are minor until Leclerc goes quickest in S1 and Piastri in S2.

Hamilton goes fourth but is demoted by Leclerc who posts a 56.244.

Perez goes top with a 55.151 but is leapfrogged by Russell and then Norris (54.051).

Sainz goes second while Verstappen can only manage fifth.

Bottas goes third (54.694), as Piastri goes quickest in S2.

Tsunoda goes top but is immediately demoted by Piastri and then Hamilton.

Stroll goes second and Perez fourth, while a 52.751 puts Alonso fifth.

Verstappen can only manage ninth (52.784), the Dutchman demoted to tenth when Stroll improves to fourth.

Quickest is Piastri, ahead of Sainz, Leclerc, Stroll, Norris, Hamilton, Perez, Russell, Alonso and Verstappen.

We lose Tsunoda, Gasly, Magnussen, Bottas and Ocon.

"I should have pushed two laps in a row like I said," says Verstappen. "But you're through," he is told by his engineer Gianpiero Lambiase. "I don't give a ****," moans the Dutchman. "OK, and then when the track was 2s quicker for your final lap and you didn't have any energy left, how would that have gone down?" he is asked. "You tell me what you want to do in Q3, and we'll do it. Sets, fuel, run plan!" Touche!

Meanwhile an incident involving Leclerc and Magnussen has been noted.

There is a short (3 minute) delay ahead of Q3 as marshals remove gravel from the track.

Check out our Friday gallery from Spa here.


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