During the F1 Belgian Grand Prix qualifying, Max Verstappen outperformed Charles Leclerc by 0.8 seconds. Even after being outfitted with his fifth gearbox of the season and receiving a five-place grid penalty, Verstappen still managed to secure a prime starting position for Saturday’s sprint race.
Initially, Leclerc held the lead after the first qualifying rounds (Q3), with Verstappen just managing to scrape by in 10th place. Verstappen’s difficult start was due to the change from wet to dry tyres and a disagreement with Red Bull’s run plan that led to a tense conversation with his engineer, Gianpiero Lambiase.
However, during the second round of Q3, Verstappen made a comeback. Leclerc, who was leading the pack, improved his previous record to 1m46.988s. But Verstappen, trailing behind, managed to outperform everyone, even Leclerc, by finishing with a time of 1m46.168s. Despite this victory, Verstappen will start Sunday’s race from the sixth position due to his penalty.
Joining Leclerc on the front row will be Sergio Perez, who managed to knock down Mercedes’ driver, Lewis Hamilton, to the fourth position. Hamilton is under scrutiny for potentially rejoining the race unsafely after an incident where he briefly went off the track. Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell ended up eighth in Q3.
Other notable performances include Carlos Sainz finishing fifth, ahead of the McLaren duo, Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris. Norris had a run-in with the gravel during the wet running phase in Q1. Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll from Aston Martin rounded up the top 10.
In Q2, the field transitioned from intermediate to dry tyres following the lead of Piastri. This move was prompted by the drying out of much of the Spa circuit, resulting in a reshuffle in the ranking order. Yuki Tsunoda, who was momentarily at the top in Q2, eventually landed in the 11th position.
Pierre Gasly and Kevin Magnussen couldn’t make it to the top 10, finishing behind Tsunoda. Valtteri Bottas ended up 14th, with Esteban Ocon at 15th. Ocon’s performance was hindered by an early crash during the late-Q2 slicks running, which caused severe damage to his car and required a delay before the start of Q3.
Leclerc topped Q1, which was delayed due to the track’s drying out from the preceding Formula 2 qualifying session. Several drivers, including Zhou Guanyu, Logan Sargeant, and Nico Hulkenberg, couldn’t perform at their best and ended up in lower positions. The session also saw a controversial incident involving Alex Albon that is under investigation.
Below is the qualifying leaderboard:
- Charles Leclerc (Ferrari, 16)
- Sergio Perez (Red Bull Racing, 11)
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes, 44)
- Carlos Sainz (Ferrari, 55)
- Oscar Piastri (McLaren, 81)
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing, 1)
- Lando Norris (McLaren, 4)
- George Russell (Mercedes, 63)
- Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin Racing, 14)
- Lance Stroll (Aston Martin Racing, 18)
For the full results, please view the official leaderboard.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about F1 Belgian GP Qualifying
Who won the qualifying round at the F1 Belgian GP?
Max Verstappen won the qualifying round at the F1 Belgian Grand Prix.
Who was the runner-up in the qualifying round?
Charles Leclerc was the runner-up in the qualifying round at the F1 Belgian GP.
Despite winning, why is Verstappen starting the race from the sixth position?
Verstappen is starting the race from the sixth position due to a five-place grid penalty he received for fitting his fifth gearbox of the season.
Who will join Leclerc on the front row for the race?
Sergio Perez will join Leclerc on the front row for the F1 Belgian GP race.
What incident is Lewis Hamilton being investigated for?
Lewis Hamilton is under scrutiny for a potential unsafe rejoining infraction after he briefly went off the track during the qualifying session.