Sprint Shootout: Verstappen pips Piastri to Spa Sprint pole

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Belgium, Circuit de Spa-Francorchampsbe

Championship runaway leader Max Verstappen edged McLaren's Oscar Piastri to top the Sprint shootout with the Ferrari duo of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc set to form the second row on the grid in the Spa F1 Sprint.

The Sprint Shootout started in similar conditions to yesterday's qualifying with the Race Director forced to delay the start by 35 minutes. However, when the session could get underway, the track was in a much better condition.

SQ1 - Bad timing for Haas

Drivers were forced to use the intermediate tyres in the first segment of the Sprint Shootout. Interestingly, F1’s only American team Haas left it very late for their drivers with Kevin Magnussen only having time for a single hot lap.

The Dane could only manage a P18 for today’s sprint race, but his team-mate Nico Hulkenberg was not even able to get across the line in order to set a lap time.

Following their eye-catching performance in qualifying at last weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, Alfa Romeo drivers Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu were also eliminated with the Finn and the Chinese driver set to line up in P17 and P19 on the grid.

Yuki Tsunoda missed the progression by only a tenth of a second with Mercedes driver George Russell narrowly fighting his way through into SQ2, setting only the 15th fastest time.

SQ2 - Risky strategy for Aston Martin

In the second segment of the sprint shootout, the track was seemingly quickly drying, but it was still not enough to mount on the slick tyres. However, Aston Martin sent Lance Stroll out on the red-walled softs, but the Belgian-Canadian racer’s gamble did not pay off as he crashed out in the final minute of SQ2.

With the Silverstone team keeping Fernando Alonso in the garage for the opening part of the session, the Spaniard did not have a timed lap on the leaderboard. His team-mate’s crash meant that he was unable to complete a single hot lap as the session was not restarted.

The Aston Martin drivers Stroll and Alonso will line up in P14 and P15 on the grid for the 100km dash.

Daniel Ricciardo secured an 11th starting position for today’s sprint race, followed by the Williams drivers Alexander Albon and Logan Sargeant.

SQ3 - Back to slick tyres

The last segment of the Sprint Shootout saw drivers put on the soft tyres for the first time today. Most of the remaining ten drivers decided for a push-slow-push lap run plan, albeit the traffic at the end of the session affected the last lap of several drivers.

Verstappen was the last to cross the line which meant that he enjoyed the best track conditions in the end. The reigning world champion pipped Piastri by just 0.011s to secure pole for the sprint race at Spa-Francorchamps.

Ferrari drivers Sainz and Leclerc started their hot lap a bit earlier, meaning that they had worse track conditions to deal with. However, they were able to secure the third and fourth starting position for the Spa F1 Sprint.

Hamilton appeared to have great speed in the challenging conditions, but he could hardly improve on his last lap as he encountered traffic at Turn 1, and ended up seventh fastest. Replays showed that it was his team-mate George Russell, who went too deep into La Source which hampered Hamilton coming out on to the run to Eau Rouge.

Commenting on his sprint pole, Verstappen said: “It was pretty difficult, quite similar to yesterday. We stayed calm, the gap was not as big as yesterday but there was also no need to risk it all. My second sector was probably a bit careful. Still turn eight and nine was super slippery, so I guess I left a bit of time on the table.”


11Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:58.1351:55.2001:49.05614
281Oscar PiastriMclaren Mercedes2:00.0561:56.3921:49.06714
355Carlos SainzFerrari1:59.4141:56.5571:49.08114
416Charles LeclercFerrari1:59.5751:56.2651:49.25114
54Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes2:00.4361:56.8281:49.38916
610Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault2:00.0321:56.1371:49.70015
744Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:58.9391:55.8231:49.90016
811Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:59.3621:55.8781:49.96114
931Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:59.8841:57.0511:50.49415
1063George RussellMercedes2:00.4751:57.3931:55.74213
113Daniel RicciardoAlphatauri Honda Rbpt2:00.1771:57.68710
1223Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:59.198DNF8
132Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes2:00.031DNF10
1418Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes2:00.460DNF9
1514Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:59.038DNS6
1622Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Honda Rbpt2:00.5686
1777Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari2:00.9516
1820Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari2:01.0797
1924Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari2:01.4307
NC27Nico HulkenbergHaas FerrariDNF6