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Verstappen wins farcical Belgium GP after only two laps completed


M

ax Verstappen was proclaimed as the winner of a farcical Belgian Grand Prix after only two laps were completed behind a safety car.

The 12th round of the Formula One campaign at a rain-soaked Spa-Francorchamps circuit finished three hours and 44 minutes after it was due to begin when the clock finally stopped on an embarrassing afternoon for the sport.

Hamilton’s championship advantage over Verstappen has been reduced to three points.

Seventy-five thousand fans stood in the persistent drizzle for a race due to start at 3pm, pushed back to 3:10pm, 3:15pm and 3:25pm. The safety car took the field away on a formation lap but after eight minutes the race was stopped.

Following two hours and 47 minutes without any action, the FIA’s race director Michael Masi then gave the green light for the race to resume.

The sodden spectators, those who remained in the hope of a race, pumped their fists in delight, with Verstappen’s fans lighting orange flares on the Kemmel Straight.

But after just two laps completed of the rain-drenched 4.35-mile circuit, the race was red-flagged. The sport’s bosses were facing accusations of a cynical manoeuvre with two laps ensuring a classification could be granted.

“I feel really sorry for the fans,” Hamilton said. “They have been incredible to stick with us and hold out for a potential race.

“They knew when they sent us out at the end there that the track wasn’t any better and they did it just so that we could have two laps behind the safety car which is the minimum requirement for a race. I hope the fans get their money back.”

Hamilton added: “You couldn’t really see five metres in front of you, and you could not go flat out. It is a shame because it could have been a a good race if it didn’t rain as much.”

Verstappen, who declared the conditions as “fine to race” after it was stopped the first time around, added: “I said at 3:30, ‘Let’s go’.


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