Teams and drivers might have recharged their batteries during the three-week summer break, and that was really needed today as the second day of the Belgian Grand Prix presented treacherous conditions. Red Bull's Max Verstappen claimed his 6th pole position in the 2021 F1 season, but it has been probably his most difficult to achieve so far this year given the trying and tiring conditions at Spa.
“The most important thing today is that Lando [Norris] is okay after his crash. I stopped to make sure he was because I saw a lot of debris and it is never a nice place to go off. From our side, we can be happy with fifth on the grid tomorrow. I was getting increasingly into the groove with the car and I was happy with my laps – until the final one.
“I had already put in a good lap time and I wanted to extract more, so I was pushing a little harder, but I went off at Turn 8 and lost some time. I think if we had avoided that, I could have battled with the guys at the front of the field. The forecast suggests that tomorrow will be similar weather, which suits us, so we can fight for a strong result and get some good points for the team.”Lance Stroll, 15th, 1:58.231
“It is a difficult qualifying result to take. The car had felt good in the tricky conditions throughout the day, and the end of Q2 was crucial because conditions were improving all the time. We switched to a new set of intermediate tyres to try and capitalise on the situation, but we just ran out of time to begin a flying lap, which meant a lot of drivers around me were able to easily improve their times. We will look into how that happened and learn from it.
“It means we will start at the back of the field tomorrow [owing to the grid penalty from Hungary], but I still believe we can get a result tomorrow because this is a circuit on which you can overtake, especially if the weather continues to be changeable.”
"It is an amazing feeling and we definitely did not expect to be starting on the front row! The team did an incredible job to have me on the track at the right time, on the right tyres, with the right strategy. The driving is one thing, but you need to have everything right around you and often in these moments, that is what it’s all about.
“I’m so happy for everyone as it’s such a team effort and they did a fantastic job. We obviously had a great result in Hungary, and it feels like our hard work is starting to pay off and people are starting to recognise that.
"I knew my last effort was a good lap. It was so tricky out there but because we’re not in Q3 every week, I had the luxury of really being able to put everything on the line and go for it. I had a really good feeling from lap one in FP3 in the wet and when it mattered, we put everything together and that was exceptional. This feeling is exactly what Formula 1 is all about. Qualifying is over now though and the race is tomorrow, so we need to make sure we have a good one."Nicholas Latifi, 12th, 1:58.056
"I’m very pleased with my best qualifying result of the season and also my Formula One career. More than anything, I’m happy that I got some more experience in the wet because I haven’t had much of that in our car, so it was nice to get some laps in and really build some confidence in these conditions. We’ve had a great result for the team today, especially in challenging weather, so now we’re aiming to capitalise on that in the race tomorrow."
Red BullMax Verstappen, 1st, 1:59.765
“I am very happy with pole position here at a home Grand Prix, but it was not easy out there. It was very hard to nail a lap, I was just trying to find the right lines at the right times and judging how fast to go into corners after such a long red flag was tricky. It was so important to get the tyres up to temperature because that could give you a few seconds of lap time around a long track like this.
“Tomorrow we don’t know if it will be a dry or wet start, I think if it’s wet I don’t mind if I start first because at least I should have clear vision but I just hope that we have a good and clean start. I also hope that Lando is feeling okay and that he doesn’t have any serious injuries because that didn’t look like a good impact at all, he’s a good friend of mine so I hope he can race tomorrow.”Sergio Perez, 7th, 2:02.112
“I’m very disappointed with my qualifying as our car was performing well, there was plenty of pace in it and a much better position was possible today. With the changing weather conditions it was tough out there and so the final lap was going to be critical but unfortunately I wasn’t able to improve. It’s a shame but I’m still looking forward to tomorrow as with the weather anything can happen and so there’s plenty of opportunities.
“The Team is doing a strong job and provided we can stay out of trouble tomorrow then we should be in pretty good shape and able to fight for a strong result. I’m also pleased to see Lando was able to get out of the car after his accident and hope he’s okay. We discussed Eau Rouge in the drivers’ meeting on Friday and raised our concerns so I really hope to see some solutions for next year. It’s something that we definitely have to improve because in conditions like today, if we have a wet race tomorrow, it’s not a place where drivers want to have contact, especially considering it is a blind spot.”
MercedesLewis Hamilton, 3rd, 2:00.099
"It's been a very difficult day for everyone, just trying to stay positive, focused and calm. Max put in a strong lap so well done to him, and George also did a great job. For me, my first lap was really good, but I lost some tyre temperature on the slow lap in between my runs, so I think there was a little bit left on the table with that final lap. You live and you learn, and I gave it everything I had today. But we'll look to move forward tomorrow.
“I'm hoping for better weather and a dry day, that'd be great for the fans and also interesting to see where everyone stands with the wing level. We've tried to find the right balance between straight-line speed and downforce. It might not have been the best for today, but we'll see tomorrow exactly how good it is. Nevertheless, we'll do everything we can."Valtteri Bottas, 8th, 2:02.502
"It was definitely a challenge out there and of course, I hoped for a better result. I think overall the session was okay and there were opportunities to get into the top three, but on the slow lap before my final attempt, I had some traffic coming through. So, I had to back off and lost the tyre temperature.
“From the very start of the final lap, I was locking the tyres because of the lack of temperature and the car felt on a knife-edge. Obviously with the grid penalty, it means tomorrow won't be easy, but I'll be fighting hard. If it is wet, there will be many opportunities, and if it is dry, we have a competitive car. It'll be a big challenge but as we have seen, anything can happen."
McLarenDaniel Ricciardo, 4th, 2:00.864
“Firstly, I was pleased to see Lando get up and out of the car quickly, and it’s great to hear he’s been cleared to race tomorrow. Otherwise, that was a really tricky qualifying session. The weather was changing regularly, which made it difficult to judge the conditions and get the choice of tyre right, but I think we did a great job and obviously I'm really happy with P4, my best start with McLaren. Who knows what the weather will do tomorrow and what’s possible, but hopefully we can score some decent points and maybe get on the podium.”Lando Norris, 10th, No time set in Q3
“First of all, I’m doing good, but I’ve been better! I think just a bit bruised. Obviously, it was quite a big impact and I think my body’s just been thrown around a little bit but I’m good. I’m ready to race tomorrow and I want to get back on track already because it didn’t end the way I wanted it to. “Everything was going extremely well. Since the first lap in Q1, things were going perfectly and the car was feeling hooked up.
“I felt confident with the car. It was tricky going out in Q3 because, even on the out-lap, I was saying how wet it was because I was aquaplaning quite a bit. It was just a difficult situation to be in. How much do you want to push? How much do you not? I think, a combination of pushing a bit too much for the weather at that point and aquaplaning a little bit in the middle of Eau Rouge obviously didn’t end too well. I feel bad because things were going very well.
“I think I could have fought for pole position, but I’ve now given the team a lot of work to do. We’ll see where we start tomorrow and try to score as many points as possible. Finally, a big thanks to all the marshals and medical staff for their help and hard work today.”
AlphaTauriPierre Gasly, 6th, 2:01.164
“It’s been a fun afternoon, I really enjoy driving in these conditions, you don’t know what you’re going to get on track, and you have to try to be at the limit of what the car can do. It’s another great quali for us, finishing in P6, and I think we’re in a good position for the race tomorrow.
“It was tricky out there today and I’m glad to see that Lando got out of the car and is okay. I have no idea what the weather will be like tomorrow, it’s been so changeable the whole weekend, so I’ll open the curtains in the morning and see what we get!”
“I’ve been aiming to steadily build up my speed and confidence in the car across this weekend and I think I’ve done this well, improving through the practice sessions. However, today the conditions in qualifying were definitely not easy, especially as I don’t have a lot of experience driving in the wet in a Formula 1 car. I’m disappointed to have not made it through to Q2, as the pace in the car was definitely there, but I just wasn’t fast enough to make it through. I think we need to hope for mixed conditions in the race tomorrow to allow me to move up through the pack.”
AlpineEsteban Ocon, 9th, 2:03.513
“It was not a straightforward qualifying for us today, but I’m pleased to be starting inside the top 10 for tomorrow. The car felt really good in the dry yesterday, so I actually hope the rain stays away tomorrow! We just weren’t as comfortable in the wet today especially on the intermediates.
“We have a few things to understand on that to make sure we can further improve. I managed to do a good lap at the end of Q2 to go through to Q3, which was important. Overall, it was a challenging session, but we’re in the mix for the race. I’m glad Lando is okay after the accident, that’s the most important thing from today.”Fernando Alonso, 14th, 1:58.205
“I didn’t find the grip today in the changing conditions and our starting position will make it a difficult race for us tomorrow. I found myself in 14th in Q1 and Q2 so I think that was my pace today. If it’s like this tomorrow, then for sure anything can happen and we’ll see what’s possible. I am glad Lando is okay after his accident.”
FerrariCharles Leclerc, 11th, 1:57.721
"Qualifying was tricky for us today. It was a shame as I was quite satisfied with the car balance and our overall performance wasn’t bad considering the track conditions. With hindsight, maybe it would have been better to delay the tyre change in Q2, but that’s easy to say after the event. I think that the most important thing for all of us today is to see Lando walk away from his crash unharmed. Now we have to concentrate on the race. It will be tough but at the same time, exciting with the weather no doubt playing an important role."Carlos Sainz, 13th, 1:58.137
"It has been a difficult weekend so far, especially today. We kind of expected it after the feeling we had from FP3. I’m not happy because I always enjoy driving in the wet. However, the balance and the grip weren’t there today. We struggled to get the front temperatures up and we had no feeling under braking. We need to look into it.
“Also, today was about getting out on track at the right time with the right tyre. With rain coming and going so quickly it was very difficult to get it right and we might have lost a bit of lap time there too, but it’s always easier to say it with hindsight. Finally, I’m glad Lando walked away unharmed from that scary crash. Lets see what the weather brings tomorrow. We’ll do our best to get the best result possible. "
Alfa RomeoKimi Raikkonen, 19th, 2:04.452
“A bad day that started off this morning, missing out the practice session in the wet. I had to use Q1 to figure out the lines to take and we just didn’t have enough laps to make up the lost ground. I am sure that with a few more laps, we would have been a lot better. Not a lot of positives to take from today, but we can only go up tomorrow: we will try our best and see what we can get out of a race in these conditions.”Antonio Giovinazzi, 16th, 2:02.306
“I gave everything I had, but it was not enough. I was improving lap after lap, first on wet tyres and then intermediates, and with one more round we would have been even better, but we ran out of time. In the end, it was the same for everyone and we fell short. The conditions for tomorrow are likely to be similar to today’s, so we need to be ready to take any opportunity, especially if the race turns into chaos. We have to improve on what we did today, that’s for sure.”
HaasMick Schumacher, 18th, 2:03.973
“Challenging conditions but on the other hand a lot of fun – I enjoyed every second of it. I think the communication with the team was on point today. We managed to take the right decisions at the right time, and I think that helped us being where we are now. I think we can be happy with the results we achieved today, maybe not in terms of ranking, but definitely in terms of procedures that we had and everything in terms of communication was very good. I’m really excited about tomorrow – I have a special helmet on that keeps me protected but is also a very lucky charm. I’m very much considering keeping it!”Nikita Mazepin, 20th, 2:04.939
“It was a lot of fun to drive. I’m upset because today was a prime example of why you need experience in Formula 1. Going in from lower formulas you have wet tyres and you try to drive them to the maximum grip you have. Here, you also have the inters, which are much faster, and I thought the right tyre with the amount of water to stay out was wets but we needed to box for inters earlier. I just lacked that grip and I only had one lap on those tyres – it wasn’t enough to put a good lap together.”