Perez out of Belgian F1 GP after pre-race crash

Sergio Perez will not start Sunday's Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix after crashing en route to the grid in wet conditions at Spa.

Red Bull driver Perez had been due to start from seventh on the grid, but lost control of his car while going through Les Combes during his reconnaissance laps ahead of the race.

Perez crashed front first into the barrier on the right-hand side of the circuit, leaving the car with significant damage to the front suspension.

Red Bull sporting director Jonathan Wheatley informed race director Michael Masi over team radio that the "right front suspension damage is too extreme for us to continue".

Perez was told by his engineer on the radio: "That's us done, so kill the engine."

Perez duly hopped out of the car, which was been lifted away by a trackside crane.

It comes as a blow to Red Bull as it looked to reclaim the lead of the constructors' championship from Mercedes, having slipped to 12 points behind at the last race in Hungary.

Perez's teammate, Max Verstappen, will start the race from pole position, while Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will line up third and 13th respectively.

Heavy rain has fallen throughout the day at Spa, with a number of drivers reporting low grip and visibility during their laps to the grid.

Hamilton told his Mercedes team over the radio there was "no grip out here", while Williams' George Russell - who will line up P2 on the grid - said visibility was "very poor".

"Even when I was about six seconds behind the car ahead, I couldn't see down the straight," Russell added. Drivers completed all of their laps to the grid on the full wet tyres.

Rain on Saturday caused qualifying to be delayed by 10 minutes before ultimately being red flagged in Q3 following a crash for Lando Norris as conditions worsened.

Perez's crash means that only 18 cars will start Sunday's race from the grid, with Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen starting from the pit lane after his team changed the specification of his rear wing. Perez's P7 grid slot will be left empty.

The start of the race has been delayed due to heavy rain, with an eventual start set to take place behind the safety car.

Race control announced in the lead-up to the planned start of the race at 1500 local time at Spa that the formation laps would take place behind the safety car, which ultimately come out of the planned race distance.

But the decision was then taken to delay proceedings by an initial 10 minutes before pushing the start of the formation lap out to 1515 local time, and then again to 1520 under the current plan.

shares
comments
Mercedes holds out hope Spa set-up choice will still pay off

Previous article

Mercedes holds out hope Spa set-up choice will still pay off

Next article

The Belgian GP as it happened

The Belgian GP as it happened
Load comments
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Prime

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says Stuart Codling.

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Prime

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences.

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Prime

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Prime

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Prime

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1's elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he's recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Italian Grand Prix driver ratings

Two drivers produced faultless performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left many to rue what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo would have won without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Prime

Why Ricciardo would have won without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates Prime

Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates

For the second time in 2021, McLaren will line up for the start of a grand prix from the first row. It knows it has the chance of "glory" if things go well for Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris at the start of the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, but even if they just maintain their grid positions, signs from the rest of the Monza weekend suggest success is very possible for Formula 1's other orange army

Formula 1
Sep 12, 2021