Rain delays Belgian Grand Prix start as Perez slides out of contention

Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) (AFP) –


Heavy rain delayed the start of the Belgian Grand Prix at a drenched Spa-Francorchamps circuit on Sunday.

With the grid led by Max Verstappen, the race was due to get underway for the 12th round of the season 30 minutes late and missing Sergio Perez.

Verstappen's Red Bull teammate aquaplaned out of contention on his way to the start at Les Combes.

The formation lap will be behind a safety car once the race finally begins with the majority of the 75,000 umbrella-clutching crowd supporting local favourite Verstappen.

The Dutch national is joined on the front row by the Williams of George Russell, who produced a standout Q3 lap on Saturday, with Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton on the second row with the McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo.

Verstappen trails Hamilton by eight points in the drivers championship.