Verstappen fastest in qualifying but Sainz set to start on pole after Belgian GP grid penalties
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen aced qualifying for the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix – but Carlos Sainz will start on pole position for Ferrari after grid penalties come into play at Spa-Francorchamps.
With seven drivers – Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, Esteban Ocon, Zhou Guanyu, Mick Schumacher and Valtteri Bottas – taking grid penalties, the rest of field were essentially facing off for the top 13 positions on the grid.
As a result, Sainz’s scrappy Q3 lap for P2 will see him start first ahead of Sergio Perez, while Verstappen and Leclerc will drop to P15 and P16 respectively having qualified P1 and P4 overall.
Ocon qualified fifth ahead of Fernando Alonso in P6 for Alpine, but the Frenchman will drop behind Leclerc. Lewis Hamilton took P7 ahead of Mercedes team mate George Russell, while Alex Albon made it to Q3 for the first time this season and qualified a provisional ninth.
Of course, those four drivers will be promoted three places apiece, while 10th-place qualifier Lando Norris will start 18th on the grid.
Daniel Ricciardo missed out on the top 10 by finishing 11th for McLaren in Q2, while Pierre Gasly finished 12th for AlphaTauri. Zhou Guanyu, Lance Stroll, and Mick Schumacher were eliminated from Q2 from P13 to P15, respectively. However, penalties for others will see Ricciardo, Gasly and Stroll start within the top 10 on Sunday – and Zhou and Schumacher start on the back row.
Q1 was delayed by 25 minutes, and when the session began it was Verstappen who set the benchmark ahead of Sainz and Perez as Sebastian Vettel was eliminated in P16 by 0.002s, followed by Williams’ Nicholas Latifi in P17 – that pair set to be promoted into a respective P10 and P11 on the grid.
Haas’s Kevin Magnussen finished 18th due to a Turn 8 lock-up, Yuki Tsunoda up next in P19 having locked up heavily in the final chicane, and Valtteri Bottas rounding out the standings in P20. That trio will jump to P12, P13 and P14 respectively for Sunday’s race.