Verstappen masters rain to claim Belgian Grand Prix pole, Russell in second

Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) (AFP) –


Red Bull's Max Verstappen mastered the rain to claim Belgian Grand Prix pole on Saturday, snatching the fastest time in qualifying from surprise package George Russell of Williams.

Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes will start on the second row as he goes for his 100th Grand Prix win.

Qualifying was marred by a heavy crash in Q3 involving the McLaren of Lando Norris, whose hopes of a first ever pole bit the dust at Eau Rouge.

With the Briton thankfully escaping serious injury nine cars took to the track when the shoot-out resumed after a 40-minute red flag intervention.

Fellow Briton Russell was poised to give Williams an astonishing first pole since 2001 with seconds of Q3 to go.

But the young driver's brilliant time was narrowly shaded by Verstappen in the Dutch driver's final flying lap.

Russell still had the satisfaction of placing in front of Hamilton, with Russell in contention alongside Valtteri Bottas for the second Mercedes drive in 2022.