SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS • Red Bull's Max Verstappen won the rain-hit Belgian Grand Prix yesterday without racing even a single lap as half-points were awarded for only the sixth time in Formula One history.
After some three hours of waiting for the rain to subside, the race started from the pit lane and behind the safety car and was then stopped after completing the two laps required to award half points.
The signs were ominous from the start of the afternoon, when Verstappen's team-mate Sergio Perez lost control on his way to the starting grid on a soaked and slippery track and skidded into the barriers at Les Combes. He climbed out after failing to get going again.
George Russell finished second for Williams, his first F1 podium, with seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton third for Mercedes. Hamilton's overall lead over Verstappen was cut from eight points to three.
Dutchman Verstappen, who was born in Belgium, admitted this was not how he wanted to win his maiden Belgian GP - considered to be his other "home" race alongside the Dutch GP.
"It's a win but not how you want to win," he said. "I think the credit goes to the fans who stayed here in these rainy conditions."
Russell added: "First, I want to say sorry to the fans about the rain and say 'thank you' for staying out with us today.
"The whole team deserve it. We haven't always been rewarded for our hard work, but here we are on the podium."
Daniel Ricciardo, Sebastian Vettel, Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon, Charles Leclerc, Nicholas Latifi and Carlos Sainz rounded off the top 10 finishers.
BELGIAN GRAND PRIX
RESULTS (HALF POINTS)
1 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 3min 27.071sec
2 George Russell (Gbr) Williams +1.995
3 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes +2.601
4 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) McLaren +4.496
5 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Aston Martin +7.479
6 Pierre Gasly (Fra) Alpha Tauri +10.177
7 Esteban Ocon (Fra) Alpine +11.579
8 Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari +12.608
9 Nicholas Latifi (Can) Williams +15.485
10 Carlos Sainz (Esp) Ferrari +16.166