The 2021 Belgian Grand Prix only lasted three laps. The rain which had already made its presence felt yesterday, wiped out the effective running of the race. After a 25 minute delay on the original start time, the cars did a couple of laps behind the Safety Car. Then the start procedure was red flagged because of the track conditions and very bad visibility, which meant all the cars returned to pit lane. At 18.17, after a long wait, the Race Director decided to resume the start procedure, again behind the Safety Car but after just three laps, the conditions were again deemed too dangerous to race, the cars again re-entered the pit lane and the Grand Prix was finally declared as stopped.
As the race ran for more than two laps but less than 75% of the official race distance, the top ten finishers are awarded half points. As Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz started from eighth and tenth on the grid respectively, Scuderia Ferrari leaves Belgium with two and a half points.
During the long wait, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz came out of the garage to wave to the spectators who remained trackside despite the incessant rain. The three laps of this bizarre race are in a way a tribute to the passion of the fans. It’s a shame for the spectators at the track and others watching from elsewhere, that it was impossible to put on a show at one of the most wonderful race tracks on the calendar, but the safety of the drivers and everyone else involved must always be the number one priority.
Those fans have only a few days to wait until the Formula 1 cars are back on track, as the Dutch Grand Prix takes place next Sunday at the Zandvoort circuit. It marks the return of this race to the calendar for the first time in 36 years.
Charles Leclerc: It’s a strange end to the weekend, not having had a proper race. Most of all, it’s a shame for all the fans who came out to see us race. I’d like to thank everyone who stayed in the grandstands hoping that the conditions will improve. It surely wasn’t easy and I have massive respect for every single person who stayed here with us.
The track conditions weren’t that bad in terms of standing water, but in terms of visibility, it was a disaster. I couldn’t see anything ahead and it was a good call to make sure we are all safe given the gravity of the rain today.
Our next race is in the Netherlands in just a few days. A nice challenge, given that we will all have to adjust and try to find the best possible set-up for this new track in the shortest amount of time. I think one of our general weaknesses is the wet, so we will work on improving that over the next few weeks.
Carlos Sainz: Obviously, it’s a great shame that we were unable to put on a bit of a show for the courageous fans who braved the terrible weather to come and watch and for the people at home. Unfortunately, there was nothing we could do, as the visibility was too poor for us to race. For me, it’s also a shame because we could’ve tried to make up some places from my grid position, but safety must always be the priority. Now it’s time to turn the page and luckily on Friday we will already be back on track at Zandvoort. Looking forward to my first race there in Formula 1.
Mattia Binotto: First of all, I’d like to thank all the spectators who stayed to the very end at the track, hoping to see what should have been an uncertain and spectacular race. The Race Director did everything he could to try and get the Grand Prix underway, but conditions were never good enough to do so without jeopardising the safety of the drivers and those working trackside. The final result was thus determined from the starting grid positions, which means we come away with two points finishes.
Up until yesterday, our weekend had not gone particularly well, but it’s a shame that we never got to see how things might have gone in a race where anything could have happened. Now we must concentrate on the next race in Zandvoort, a historic circuit which makes its return to the championship calendar after a very long absence.