Sports Desk, Aug 27 (EFE).- Spaniard Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) will start the Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium from pole thanks to a grid penalty that dropped reigning champion Max Verstappen (Red Bull) down to P15 despite the Dutchman’s dominant performance in Saturday’s qualifying session at Spa-Francorchamps.
In fact, seven drivers were affected by penalties and the starting grid for Sunday’s race diverges significantly from the results of the qualifiers.
Verstappen, who leads Monaco’s Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) by 80 points in the driver standings, turned in the best time in Q3, roughly six-tenths of a second faster than Sainz.
Max’s teammate, Sergio “Checo” Perez of Mexico, was third, followed by Leclerc and Frenchman Esteban Ocon (Alpine).
But with the penalties, Sainz and Perez move up to first and second, respectively, while Spanish two-time champion Fernando Alonso (Alpine) climbs to P3. He will be joined on the second row by British seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes).
Briton George Russell, the other half of the Mercedes duo, advances to fifth. Thai driver Alex Albon (Williams) gets P6.
Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) will share the fourth row with France’s Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri). The Aston Martin team of Canadian Lance Stroll and German four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel round out the top 10.
It was only the second career pole for Sainz, 27, who picked up his first earlier this season at the British Grand Prix, where he went on to celebrate his maiden race victory in F1.