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WHY THE BELGIAN GP SHOULD HAVE BEEN CANCELLED

Max Verstappen was declared the winner after just a handful of laps behind the Safety Car, with heavy rain curtailing the long-delayed race.

The 2021 Belgian Grand Prix was the shortest ever Formula 1 race to be concluded since its inception. After the so-called race was brought to an end after multiple red flags, Max Verstappen of Red Bull came out as a winner while George Russell of Williams and Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes finished second and third respectively.

Even at the end of the rain marred event, Verstappen and Hamilton were not at their best while celebrating. It apparently didn’t look like a race to them either. “It’s a win but it’s not how you want to win. We had two races of course where we didn’t really score so we needed the result,” said Verstappen. George Russell was the only one celebrating since it was his first podium finish in F1.

The race was held at the famous track in Belgium, the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, which is famously referred to as the Spa. It rained cats and dogs at the circuit over the weekend. The conditions on Friday and Saturday were better compared to what we saw on Sunday. Two practice sessions on Friday and one practice along with the qualifying session was completed on Saturday with little difficulty. But on the day of the Grand Prix, it was insane. The conditions were just not suitable to even drive on the flooded track, let alone race on it.

After some delay, the cars started the formation lap behind the Safety Car but it was very difficult then also, and so Red Flag came up and the session was suspended there. Formula 1 Race Director Michael Masi tried very hard for the race to start but the rain gods were not with him. After close to a delay of three hours, he took the decision to start the race behind the Safety Car.

It was a very stupid decision taken in regards to starting the race. The cars started running on the track behind the Safety Car but it lasted only for two laps post which again the red flag came out and the session was again halted on an already rain-marred day. Post a delay of a few more minutes, a decision was taken that the race could not be completed.

Since the rules of F1 state that at least two laps should be completed for the race to be officially counted as started, the race was finished with Verstappen emerging as the winner. Keeping in mind that it was not safe for the drivers and the crew on the track, the race should have been in all probability abandoned. It looked like the trophies were already ready, so it can be asked why the organisers did not start the race, and once the minimum requirements were completed for the race to be counted as started, why it was not flagged off from there. The fans, particularly those in the stands battling the rain, should have been given their compensation for ticket charges.

It should not be called a race, not even a sprint. Just two laps were completed, that too behind the Safety Car.

Written by Sambhav Bhatia

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