F1 preview: A lap of the Belgian Grand Prix
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Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo were among the Formula One drivers keeping their spirits high while the Belgian Grand Prix was delayed on multiple occasions on Sunday afternoon. Heavy rain in Belgium created hazardous track conditions with visibility around the circuit notably poor for the drivers due to the spray from cars in front of them.
During the delays, Hamilton was seen getting out of his car for a quick toilet break at one moment.
After returning to the grid, he joked over the Mercedes team radio that the bathroom he made a trip to had been used shortly before him, and left in less-than-ideal condition.
The seven-time world champion said: “I’m glad I went to the toilet. The one I went to, someone had dropped a crazy bomb in there. The worst thing ever. It’s going to haunt me for life…”
Ricciardo was also keen to have a laugh over the team radio, joking about the race being a landmark in his Formula One career.
FOLLOW EXPRESS SPORT’S LIVE UPDATES OF THE 2021 BELGIAN GRAND PRIX
He said to his McLaren pitwall: “I don’t know if you know this about me, it’s my 200th Grand Prix. Kinda a big deal.”
They weren’t the only ones sharing a humorous exchange with their teams, with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly joking about the wet conditions.
He said: “If you can get a couple of sausages for me on the barbecue… Is the race still going to last two hours?”
His engineer then asked: “Are you thinking about your dinner?” To which Gasly responded: “I’m thinking we might need some lights.”
The rain meant a 30-minute delay before the formation lap could even get underway with rain coming down heavily across the track at Spa.
After the formation lap at around 2.30pm, the race was red-flagged with cars returning to the grid to wait to get the OK for the race start procedure.
That came after Hamilton had said while on the formation lap: “I really can’t see anything behind.”
McLaren’s Lando Norris similarly declared: “It’s pretty awful. I can barely see the car in front. Quite a bit of aquaplaning as well.”
After the decision to bring out the red flags, Ricciardo labelled it “the right call” while Alpine driver Fernando Alonso was heard saying: “There’s no way. We can’t race.”
Sergio Perez was a victim of the conditions as he crashed out on his way to the grid in his Red Bull.
The Mexican racer skidded into the barriers at Les Combes while driving round to take his place on the starting grid.
Red Bull posted on Twitter: “Not the start we wanted. Checo slides into the wall at Turn 6 on his way to the grid and is unable to continue.”
But at 2.45pm, a Red Bull message to race director Michael Masi could be heard with the team arguing that Perez should be allowed to run in the race.
That was because the race delays allowed them time to fix Perez’s car, and they argued that the race had yet to start by that point because only the formation lap had been done.
“Let me come back to you on that one,” Masi said to Red Bull’s Jonathan Wheatley after confirming he would speak to the stewards.
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