Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Auto Racing

Heavy rainfall suspends start of Belgian Grand Prix

No new start time for the Formula One race was immediately given.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain, left, speaks with a member of his crew prior to the Formula One Grand Prix on Sunday at the Spa-Francorchamps racetrack in Spa, Belgium.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain, left, speaks with a member of his crew prior to the Formula One Grand Prix on Sunday at the Spa-Francorchamps racetrack in Spa, Belgium. [ JOHN THYS | AP ]
Published Aug. 29

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium — The Belgian Grand Prix was suspended after hours of heavy rainfall made it too risky to start the race on time Sunday.

A red flag came out shortly after 3:30 p.m. following a formation lap, and no new start time for the Formula One race was immediately given.

The 4.3-mile Spa-Francorchamps circuit was totally drenched for the scheduled 3 p.m. start, which was twice pushed back to 3:25 p.m.

Soaked fans huddled under large umbrellas on muddy banks as they waited for the worst of the rain to pass. The thick clouds and mist hanging over the Ardennes forest also gave the circuit a daunting look and made for poor visibility.

When the drivers embarked on their formation laps, several complained.

“I really can’t see anything,” Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton said.

The decision to suspend the start was made a few moments later.

“It’s wet, but I think it’s fine to race,” said Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who is starting from pole position.

Sergio Perez, Verstappen’s teammate, was out of the race before it even started, sliding off the track during the warmup lap at around 2:30 p.m. and damaging his front suspension.

Red Bull asked the FIA’s race control if Perez could start the race if they repaired his car in time. The FIA said it was considering the request.

- By Jerome Pugmire