With heavy rain falling continuously, the start of the race was incrementally delayed. After two formation laps behind the Safety Car on Wets, the red flag was brought out and start procedure suspended. The three-hour window for the race was temporarily stopped at 17:00pm local time, before a further delay of over an hour. The race officially resumed at 18:17pm, with cars exiting the pit lane and the clock starting to tick down with one hour remaining. The cars completed two racing laps behind the Safety Car, signalling the start of the race, before it was red flagged and suspended again. This was enough for half points and a race classification to be awarded. At 18:44pm, the race was called off, with Lewis Hamilton classified P3 and Valtteri Bottas P12. Today’s result marks the 10th podium for Lewis and 15th for the Mercedes F1 Team at the Belgian Grand Prix. Lewis (202.5 points) leads the Drivers’ Championship by three points from Max Verstappen (199.5 points) with Valtteri (108 points) in P4. Mercedes (310.5 points) lead Red Bull (303 points) by 7.5 points in the Constructors’ Championship.
Firstly, I’m really disappointed for the fans. It’s no one’s fault, you can’t control the weather, but the fans have been incredible today, sticking with us the whole time, holding out for a potential race, keeping their energy up and creating the atmosphere. They were robbed of a race today, unfortunately. I love racing in the rain, but today was something else. You couldn’t see the car ahead, there was aquaplaning, it was so, so tricky out there. It’s a shame because of course I wanted to race and I love this track as well. I think it would have been a great race if it hadn’t rained so hard, but unfortunately it just didn’t stop.
It’s a huge shame, of course, that we couldn’t race and there were many committed fans out there, waiting for us to get started but we couldn’t. They were still smiling throughout and in good spirits, so hats off to them. And obviously for me, with the penalty I had and the bad qualifying, being outside the top 10 on the grid meant I couldn’t fight for any points. There was a fair amount of standing water but the main thing was the visibility, particularly on the straights. It was really poor and would have been too dangerous. Thankfully there isn’t long to wait for the next race, Zandvoort is a new track on the calendar, I have raced there before in Formula 3 back in the day, so I’m looking forward to that.
I really want to take my hat off to all the fans who were here with us over the weekend, in the wet and the cold. And particularly during this afternoon, spending hours waiting for the race to start. It’s great to see their enthusiasm and passion, it’s just what the sport needs. We are all racers and we want to race, but today it just wasn’t possible. It would have been too dangerous to let the drivers race because of a total lack of visibility. In terms of the race result, of course we are not happy that points have been awarded for what was a few laps behind the Safety Car but if the regulations allow that, you have to take it on the chin and move on. Now, we are looking forward to Zandvoort, to hopefully score some big points and continue this fight for the Championship.
Source: Mercedes-AMG F1