Max Verstappen was declared the winner of a Belgian Grand Prix that lasted less than three laps behind the safety car. With heavy rain preventing any competitive racing at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, the Dutchman was awarded the victory after qualifying in pole position.
Verstappen picks up 12.5 points for the victory and is now just three points behind Lewis Hamilton in the championship standings. Red Bull Racing Honda teammate Sergio Perez had qualified in seventh but went into the barriers during the warm-up lap. Despite his car being repaired in time for the safety car laps, he was last on the grid and subsequently took 20th place.
It is always good to win and the points are important but today is not how anyone wants to do it, especially on our 50th start with Honda. In hindsight, it was very important to get a pole yesterday and although it’s a big shame not to do some proper racing laps, as I really love coming to this track, it was just impossible in these conditions. I thought maybe at 15:30 the conditions were a bit better than just now when we tried to re-start but the visibility was still very low and I understand why we couldn’t race today. For me, in the lead, the visibility was a lot better, even with the Safety Car ahead, but the guys behind me couldn’t see a single thing and if someone went off at Eau Rouge and bounced back onto the track they could have been T-boned at high speed which we do not want.
It was also extremely low grip and because it kept raining all afternoon it just didn’t improve. I think today the big credit goes to the fans around the track who stayed here the whole day in the rain, wind and cold. It must have been horrible to sit in those conditions so a big thanks go to them and they should be the real winners from today. Now we have to keep on pushing and trying to regain the championship lead. I’m confident we have a good car and there is a long way to go so we just need to make sure we get the best performance out of it for the rest of the season.
It was a strange afternoon and I have to say thank you to the fans, they were incredible for staying with us in the rain and cold. It’s a shame we couldn’t put on a good race for them today but we as a sport tried our best to race but it just wasn’t possible. The lap to the grid was my mistake, the conditions and visibility were extremely poor and I just went on the kerb and lost it. I always knew there was a small chance we could get the car back out and the Team was pushing hard, really showing the spirit of Red Bull Racing which was nice to see. My team did what they do best and they repaired the car so quickly it was incredible. I really wanted to repay them for their hard work during the race but that didn’t happen, luckily we are racing again in a few days and we all look forward to Zandvoort now!
Christian Horner – Team Principal
It’s frustrating for the teams, drivers and especially the fans that we could not race today, but unfortunately the conditions meant that no matter how long we waited it was not safe to do so. Everybody did their best to try and put a race on and credit must go to the FIA and Liberty who did everything within their power and waited until it became impossible. Ultimately, Max’s great work in very difficult qualifying conditions yesterday earned him the win and the maximum half points on offer which importantly enabled us to close the gap in both championships.
Following Checo’s unfortunate trip into the barrier on the initial out lap it was incredible to see our mechanics in action under pressure once again, fixing his car in the time they did, giving him every opportunity to race should we have been able to get out from behind the Safety Car. It was a massive job as both sides of the suspension and the steering rack were damaged but it was very rewarding to see the teamwork with both sides of the garage working together to get it fixed. We are all feeling a little cold and wet but huge credit has to go to the fans who continued to pack the grandstands today. We truly appreciate the loyalty and I’m just sorry that we couldn’t deliver the track action they came for, but hopefully, everyone will tune in for next weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix so we can provide a great weekend of racing.