The 2021 Belgian Grand Prix That Never Was
It was set to be yet another showdown between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton at the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix. But it never happened due to a blanket of clouds that held hostage the Spa Francorchamps race circuit and turned day into a bleak dark greyish hue with the additional burden of heavy rain. Set in the forest region of the Ardens, the Belgian Grand Prix in the dry is Formula One’s greatest and most dangerous challenge. In the wet, it is simply dangerous. And when it rains, droplets of water hang in the air cushioned between the forest on either side of the track. The conditions were simply too waterlogged for a RWD 1,000bhp Grand Prix car on full wet tires. Perhaps the powers that be did not want a repeat occurrence of the multiple pileup that occured during the W Series Qualifying session.
And caution was the name of the game on race day. A tantalizing race looked to be on the cards. George Russell wrestled his Williams to second on the grid, behind Max Verstappen and ahead of Lewis Hamilton. It was a highlight of the race weekend and Russell soaked up all the plaudits and praise. Such a moment is just so, a shortlived frenzy of backslapping mania. But Sunday is where an F1 weekend really counts, it is where the points are either won or lost.
And truth be told there was no race day. The conditions were too wet. Only two laps were completed behind the safety car, the minimum amount needed to officially declare a race had happened at all. And then it was back into the pit lane where the teams lined up, waiting for the FIA to make a decision to start the race. After hours of waiting for the weather to clear, the race was called off. Lewis Hamilton labeled it as a “farce”.
The FIA was in a tough spot for sure. Should the race have been canceled earlier, therefore sparing the fans from standing in the cold and rain? Yes. The race did go ahead, just those two laps to officially declare a result, so the fans will not be receiving refunds any time soon. So much for making F1 more fan friendly.
Half points were awarded to the top 10, but Sebastian Vettel questioned that decision.
“What did we do today [to earn the points]? I don’t know.” Said Vettel to reporters after the race that never was.
And that, in a nutshell, was the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix that never was.
2021 Belgian Grand Prix: Declaration
Note – half points awarded, as less than 75 percent of the original race distance was completed. Results were calculated in accordance with Article 51.14 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations, namely at the end of lap 1 being the penultimate lap before the lap during which the signal to suspend the race was given. However, for the determination of points, Article 6.5 was applicable, the leader having crossed the Control Line 3 times, therefore complying with the requirement for the leader to have completed more than 2 laps in order for half points to be awarded. Stroll received a 10-second time penalty as his car was modified during a temporary race stoppage. (Source: F1.com)