Max Verstappen Edges Oscar Piastri For Belgian Sprint Race Pole
Max Verstappen took pole position for Red Bull in the sprint race at the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday by a wafer thin margin from McLaren's Oscar Piastri.
Max Verstappen took pole position for Red Bull in the sprint race at the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday by a wafer thin margin from McLaren's Oscar Piastri. The defending double world champion and runaway leader of this year's title race wound up just 0.011seconds clear of the rookie Australian after the final runs on another rain-affected day's action in the Ardennes forests. Carlos Sainz was third for Ferrari ahead of team-mate Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris in the second McLaren and Alpine's Pierre Gasly with seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton showing early pace taking seventh place on the grid for Mercedes.
Sergio Perez was eighth in the second Red Bull ahead of Esteban Ocon's Alpine and George Russell, who inadvertently baulked Mercedes team-mate Hamilton's final lap.
It was a bad morning for Aston Martin as Fernando Alonso celebrated his 42nd birthday by exiting the second qualifying session without recording a flying lap because team-mate Lance Stroll crashed and red-flagged the session.
"It was pretty difficult out there," said Verstappen.
"Similar to yesterday. We were later onto the slick tyres and stayed calm and it didn't take risks. It was super-slippery."
Piastri admitted: "It's obviously really disappointing to miss out on pole just 11 thousandths of a second, but I am proud to be on the front row - I'll say it did it on purpose because of the run we get into Turn Five!"
Verstappen also topped qualifying on Friday for Sunday's main event but a grid penalty for a change of gearbox demoted him to sixth.
Verstappen leads the drivers championship by 110 points from teammate Sergio Perez.
The session was delayed by 35 minutes due to heavy rain, a move that followed widespread concern about the risks involved in running in wet conditions after the death, earlier in July, of Dutch teenager Dilano van 't Hoff and, in 2019, of French F2 racer Anthoine Hubert.
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