Belgian Grand Prix start delayed due to bad weather | Planet F1

Rainy conditions at the Belgian Grand Prix meant the race was red-flagged before it had even begun in earnest.

Wet weather has affected the whole weekend at Spa-Francorchamps and if anything, was at its most inclement on Sunday afternoon.

Initially, the start was delayed by 25 minutes, but even before then Sergio Perez had appeared to be ruled out of the reckoning after he crashed on the way to the grid.

The Red Bull driver, who had extended his contract with the team for another year earlier in the weekend, slid off into the barrier and his car sustained suspension damage.

That left a space in Perez’s P7 grid slot when the race was allowed to start behind the Safety Car, but it quickly became apparent that racing was impossible in the prevailing conditions.

Several drivers, including George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, who had qualified second and third respectively, reported over team radio that visibility was nowhere near adequate as the rain continued to fall and the cars kicked up spray.

Pole-sitter Max Verstappen, however, did not think it was too bad, but it was a completely different story for the field running behind him.

After two formation laps, the Safety Car brought the field back into the pits and the race was red-flagged, until such time as the weather showed distinct signs of improvement.

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During the hiatus, Red Bull decided they wanted to try and repair Perez’s car and get it back into the race, arguing there had been no official start, although the FIA appeared to be taking a different stance.

Red Bull asking the FIA if they can get Sergio Perez back in the race due to the delayed start #F1 pic.twitter.com/C2I9Z0UspY

— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) August 29, 2021

Several hours of daylight remained in Belgium, but a radical suggestion was starting to emerge – could the race be delayed until Monday?

If the weather does relent on Sunday, however, the grand prix would become a shortened version because, in conversation with Mercedes sporting director Ron Meadows, FIA race director Michael Masi confirmed the race clock was already running.

The three-hour duration in which the race must be completed started ticking at 15:00 local time (14:00 BST) and with no start imminent, all of the 43 remaining laps would be impossible to fit in.

Sprint race, anyone?

 

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