Aston Martin - bird-small
On Track

Sebastian qualifies fifth in wet Belgian Grand Prix qualifying

Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team's Sebastian Vettel will start the Belgian Grand Prix from fifth after a dramatic and wet qualifying session at Spa-Francorchamps.

2021 Belgian Grand Prix

Lance and Sebastian first used FP3 to complete over 30 laps on the Intermediate tyre as they got up to speed with the first truly wet conditions of the weekend, which proved to be an ideal warm-up for the challenge of qualifying.

Sebastian

Significant rain in the build-up to qualifying presented Formula One teams with the difficult choice between Wet or Intermediate tyres.

The team opted for Wet tyres, as did all but two cars in the field, only for conditions to progressively improve and require a switch to Intermediates.

Regardless, Sebastian was able to put in an impressive 2.09.148 lap time to go sixth halfway through the session, making him one of the fastest Wet tyre runners on track.

A switch to Intermediates brought stronger lap times, and Sebastian saved the best for last, lapping in 2.00.175 to secure seventh and a place in Q2.

Race preview by Cognizant

Belgian Grand Prix

Get ready for this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix with our in-depth preview. Hear from Lance and Sebastian, and discover the key talking points for the race ahead

Get up to speed
2021 Belgian Grand Prix
2021 Belgian Grand Prix

Q2 began with the threat of mid-session rain, making it essential for Sebastian to set a banker lap time in case of worsening conditions.

Running on a set of new Intermediates, Sebastian set the second-fastest time after the opening runs courtesy of a 1.57.866 effort.

The threat of rain dissipated towards the end of Q2, meaning that a drying racing line was now starting to appear, creating a last-minute dash for Q3.

With under five minutes on the clock, Sebastian and the team fitted a new set of Intermediate tyres to maximise the conditions, yielding a 1.56.814 lap time and sixth in the session.

Q3 was quickly red-flagged following a significant crash for Lando Norris at Eau Rouge. Thankfully the McLaren driver was able to climb out of the car, but it led to a significant delay.

When the session resumed, all drivers had two chances to set a competitive effort on Intermediate tyres.

Sebastian was one of the first to cross the line and moved third with a 2.03.231 lap time, just as the circuit began to dry significantly.

The four-time World Champion kept his nerve in an ultra-close battle for a top-five start and secured fifth after lapping in 2.00.935 in the final seconds of qualifying.

FP3
1.59.436
8th
Q1
2.00.175
7th
Q2
1.56.814
6th
Q3
2.00.935
5th

"The most important thing today is that Lando [Norris] is OK 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 Eight 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

Lance, like Sebastian, demonstrated a consistent top 10 pace throughout wet conditions in FP3 and Q1.

He began qualifying on the Wet tyres and proved to be the fastest driver on the compound ahead of the field's switch to Intermediates.

After lapping in 2.08.566, securing a provisional sixth, Lance pitted to take on Intermediates for the remainder of the session.

With most of the field having just minutes to set their best lap on the compound, it was a nervy end to the session, but Lance secured progression to Q2 by lapping in 2.01.597 for 13th.

Lance started Q2 promisingly by ending his first stint on the Intermediate tyre in seventh as lap times tumbled below the two-minute mark.

His lap time of 1.58.231 put him in the hunt for a Q3 place, but the arrival of an increasingly dry racing line meant it all came down to the final minutes.

The team switched Lance to a set of new Intermediate tyres to bolster his chances of setting a quicker lap and securing a top 10 placing, but the session came to an end before he could begin a flying lap.

That meant Lance tumbled to 15th as his rivals completed their flying laps, and he will start the Belgian Grand Prix at the back following his five-place grid penalty carried over from Hungary.

FP3
1.59.205
6th
Q1
2.01.597
13th
Q2
1.58.231
15th

"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."

Facts and Stats

Your guide to Spa

Belgian Grand Prix

Friday recap