Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has passed qualifying for the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix – but Carlos Sainz will start on pole position for Ferrari after grid penalties came into play at Spa-Francorchamps.
With seven drivers – Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, Esteban Ocon, Zhou Guanyu, Mick Schumacher and Valtteri Bottas – taking grid penalties, the rest of the field essentially battled it out for the top 13 grid positions.
As a result, Sainz’s scrappy Q3 lap for P2 will see him start first ahead of Sergio Perez, while Verstappen and Leclerc will drop to P15 and P16 respectively after qualifying P1 and P4 overall.
Ocon qualified fifth ahead of Fernando Alonso in P6 for Alpine, but the Frenchman will fall behind Leclerc. Lewis Hamilton took 7th place ahead of Mercedes team-mate George Russell, while Alex Albon qualified for Q3 Q3 for the first time this season and provisionally qualified ninth.
Of course, these four drivers will be promoted three places each, while Lando Norris, who qualified for 10th place, will start 18th on the grid.
Running of the red bulls
Running of the red bulls
Daniel Ricciardo missed out on the top 10 by finishing 11th for McLaren in Q2, while Pierre Gasly finished 12th for AlphaTauri. Zhou Guanyu, Lance Stroll and Mick Schumacher were eliminated from Q2 from P13 to P15, respectively. However, penalties for the others will see Ricciardo, Gasly and Stroll start in the top 10 on Sunday – and Zhou and Schumacher will start in the bottom row.
Q1 was delayed by 25 minutes, and when the session started it was Verstappen who set the benchmark ahead of Sainz and Perez as Sebastian Vettel was knocked out in P16 by 0.002 seconds, followed by Williams’ Nicholas Latifi in P17 – this pair should be promoted. in a respective P10 and P11 on the grid.
Haas’ Kevin Magnussen finished 18th due to a lockout at Turn 8, Yuki Tsunoda is next in P19 after getting heavily stuck in the final chicane, and Valtteri Bottas completes the standings in P20. This trio will move up to P12, P13 and P14 respectively for Sunday’s race.
Qualifying Highlights: Belgian Grand Prix
HOW IT HAPPENED
Q1 – Verstappen sets the tone in one take
Grid penalties were the talk of the paddock at Spa-Francorchamps on Friday and Saturday. Those hit with back-of-the-grid penalties for the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix are: FP2 leader Verstappen, Leclerc, Norris, Ocon, Zhou and Schumacher. Meanwhile, Bottas has 20 penalty spots for his component choices.
Sainz and Perez would therefore have a chance of taking pole as two of the 13 drivers are not expecting penalties for Sunday’s Grand Prix – but they would all have to wait as Q1 was delayed by 25 minutes for a Porsche Supercup crash and the resulting repairs.
However, it was Verstappen who proved the driver had to beat in Q1 by setting the initial target of 1m 44.581s, with Sainz falling to P2 by 0.469s and Perez third by 0.796s to leave Leclerc nearly a second behind. P4 – with Stroll, Latifi, Schumacher and the two Alfa Romeos in the temporary drop zone.
Mercedes struggled to warm up their tires and started Q1 with a series of stealing efforts that saw Russell finish 10th and Hamilton 11th. There was still time for the whole field to improve, although neither the Red Bulls nor the Ferraris emerged for a second run.
With spitting rain reported at Eau Rouge, Russell completed the top five by 1.069 seconds, with Albon moving into sixth to split the Mercedes as Hamilton took 7th. This left Norris eighth – Ricciardo falling to P13 due to a track limit violation.
Ocon finished just ahead of Alonso as Alpine took 9th and 10th, leaving Gasly 12th.
Stroll finished 14th, Schumacher a tenth behind in P15 – as Vettel was knocked out of Q1 by a margin of 0.002 seconds over his compatriot. Latifi and Magnussen were next on the board as they missed Q2, with the Haas driver locking out at Turn 8.
Alfa Romeo Bottas’ streak of 148 Q1 progressions came to an end when he was eliminated in P20, behind Tsunoda – who locked himself in at the final chicane to finish P19 for AlphaTauri.
Eliminated: Vettel, Latifi, Magnussen, Tsunoda, Bottas
Q2 – Leclerc leads Red Bulls as Albon pulls through
Verstappen came out in Q2 with a time of 1m 44.723s, team-mate Perez just 0.071s off his effort – while Sainz was still six tenths behind in P3 and team-mate Leclerc was sixth quickest after signaling that his car was “jumping like crazy at the top of slow corners”.
Ricciardo sat in 15th place after the first heats without having set a time, joining Albon, then Zhou, Stroll and Schumacher in the provisional drop zone.
When Ricciardo emerged he was towed by fellow McLaren Norris – Alpine followed suit with Ocon towing Alonso down the Kemmel straight. Meanwhile, Red Bull decides to give up another race.
Leclerc eventually jumped to P1 with a time of 1m 44.551s, leaving Verstappen second by 0.172s and Perez by 0.243s in P3. Sainz was fourth in Q2, 0.867s off the pace after also deciding against another run – while Hamilton took fifth and Russell sixth.
Ocon finished eighth and towed ninth-place Alonso in his second moto, while McLaren echoed Alpine’s teamwork with ninth-placed Norris towing Ricciardo – but the Aussie could only finish 11th, missing Q3 by a tenth of a second.
It was Williams’ Alex Albon who finished 10th in Q2, breaking into the top 10 in shots on goal for the first time this season and securing at least P6 on the grid.
Eliminated: Ricciardo, Gasly, Zhou, Stroll, Schumacher
Q3 – Verstappen puts on a show but Sainz takes pole
Verstappen, Ocon, Norris and Leclerc were the four Q3 drivers due to be demoted to the back of the grid. Despite this, the Dutchman came out on top with his first flying lap, a time of 1m 43.665s putting him six tenths ahead of Sainz in P2.
“Wait, what are those tires? came a baffled radio message from Leclerc as he emerged for the top 10 in penalties. Anticipating penalties, he would tow Sainz to help the Spaniard fight for pole – but the team had mistakenly cornered the Monegasque on the wrong set of softs.
Meanwhile, Perez had his lap for P3 marked for the track limits, with Leclerc completing his lap to take that third place despite tire confusion.
Round two approached, Verstappen decided to make it through the end of qualifying as the fastest man on the track, while Leclerc only emerged to tow his team-mate to Raidillon and into the Kemmel straight. . The execution may have been lacking as Sainz lost three tenths in the first sector alone, kicking up some gravel to lose even more time in sector 2. He did not improve.
Yet neither did the top four, and while it was a qualifying win for Red Bull, Sainz would start on pole position after taking P2 in Q3 – Perez would join him on the front row while Verstappen would fall to the 15th and Leclerc in 16th for Sunday’s race. .
Although Ocon completes the top five, he will start 17th, while sixth-placed Alonso takes third place on the grid. Hamilton will join Alonso in second after qualifying seventh ahead of Mercedes team-mate Russell, with Albon starting the race in sixth after finishing ninth on Saturday.
By completing the top 10 in Q3, Norris will start 18th behind Ocon.
“It wasn’t bad. Happy to start on pole. Obviously not happy to see the gap to Max this weekend and the gap that Red Bull has on us. We have to keep digging to see why Red Bull is so fast on this track and why we follow them, but starting from pole is a good starting point and we will try to win from there tomorrow” – Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
Sainz and Perez will be in the front row, with Verstappen and Leclerc chasing the P15 and P16 field, when the Belgian Grand Prix begins at 4:00 p.m. local time on Sunday. Head to the RACING HUB for the full program.