Yesterday’s Belgian GP was nothing short of a complete farce. Having to wait nearly 4 hours long and all we got were 4 slow laps behind the Safety car. It just wasn’t a good image for F1 at all. The only good thing that came out of all of this, is that we now have new memes that we can laugh at… click here.
💬@LewisHamilton on Instagram:
— Motorsport.com (@Motorsport) August 29, 2021
Before the start of the race itself, we had high drama, as Perez slid into the barriers and totaled his car on the spot. His car was withdrawn from the race, and it was expected that we’d see a race take place with only 19 drivers. The events that unfolded after that though, were nothing short of disastrous.
Once the start time drew near, we got our first delay due to the weather conditions. After 30 minutes of patiently waiting, we finally got the go-ahead and the cars set out on their formation lap, following the safety car. They then did another lap behind the safety car, as it was deemed to be too risky to take a standing start in those conditions. Then, a red flag was dropped– and oh boy, it was a little bit lengthy.
All the cars lined up in the pit lane, hoping that the red flag wouldn’t last more than 20-30 mins at max. Some drivers got out of the car to walk around, while some went and sat in their garages. Some exchanged laughs, some ate some food, drank some coffee, some went and tried to make the fans feel a bit better. We really should’ve taken a hint from Lando as to what was to come, as he caught up on some much-deserved rest, while Daniel tried to start a Mexican wave! Seb and Mick even played some football, while Kimi rued his missed opportunity to bring an ice cream to the track. The drivers’ antics were fun to look at, though we were still waiting to see some actual racing action!
There’s a regulation that the race must start within 3 hours of the designated start time, and with all the delays that were happening, everyone was growing impatient. F1 put out fan appreciation messages, and even the 3-hour clock was stopped to be able to somehow achieve a 1-hour race within the time frame of the rules. We did see Alan Van Der Merwe thrash the C63S AMG Estate Medical Car around in the rain, as he set out to explore and understand the track conditions. It was a moment to celebrate, hence when we saw that the race would resume at 18:17 local time, 3 and a half hours after the planned start time.
Drivers suited and booted
— Formula 1 (@F1) August 29, 2021
The drivers, the teams and the fans prepared to see a 1-hour race take place, and as we saw the cars head out behind the safety car, we were getting very excited. The cars followed the Safety car for one lap. Then another lap. Like clockwork though, the race was yet again red-flagged, as the conditions and visibility were too poor to hold a race in, as can be seen from this onboard from Sainz’s car.
It was then formally announced that the race would not resume, and that the results would stand as they were. So basically, those 2 laps were done to achieve a “race” certification and announce points results. Hmm… I wonder what those people would say now who’ve always said the FIA is bought out by the Mercedes team. I mean yeah sure qualifying was hard work but awarding points finish to the drivers on that basis by forcefully getting 2 laps done beyond the safety car is plain and simple commercialization.
This would definitely affect F1’s already skewered reputation. For those who don’t know, if less than 75% of the laps have been covered but more than 2 laps have been covered in a race, 50% points are awarded to the drivers. This had reduced the difference between Hamilton and Verstappen to 3 points.
In the strangest of circumstances, Verstappen won the race, followed by Russell and Hamilton. For only the sixth time in F1’s storied history, half points were awarded. A podium ceremony took place, as Russell stood on an F1 podium for the first time in his career. The driver’s standings changed up slightly, and as a weird stat, Williams have now scored double points in back-to-back races!
A new face on the podium 🙌
— Formula 1 (@F1) August 29, 2021
In my opinion, the situation wasn’t handled well. The FIA as well as the teams could very well see that the weather wasn’t going to improve, so for the fans, drivers and team’s sake, they should’ve just called off the race, instead of making us wait almost 4 hours just to see 4 slow laps behind the safety car. The fact that they insisted on running despite knowing that the conditions wouldn’t improve is just not right. It was the right decision to not continue with the race in regards to safety, though the situation and the decisions made could’ve been handled in a much better manner. Why go ahead with the laps anyway? Just for those 50% points? Even if Martin Brundle wanted the fans to believe something else, the message the fans got was something political and fishy went down. Even if that was far from the truth.
Finally, to somewhat sum up this incredibly weird race weekend, guess who got the fastest lap! It was Mazesp… Mazepin. All we can do is hope that Zandvoort can give us some actual racing, though seeing as it’s only 3.5 hours away from Spa by road, we’ll have to wait for Sunday to see the end result!