F1 Belgian Grand Prix LIVE: Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc to start from BACK of grid, SIX drivers penalised | The Sun

THE Formula One season gets back underway and Lewis Hamilton is looking to salvage his season with a fresh start at the Belgian Grand Prix.

The seven-time F1 world champion has been on a trip to Africa to unwind during the mid-season break and has come back refreshed and raring to go.

Max Verstappen currently leads the standings on 258 points ahead of Charles Leclerc on 178pts and Sergio Perez on 173.

So there remains a lot to play for in the second half of the season – get set to see how it unfolds as the F1 calendar rolls on once more.

  • TV channel: Sky Sports F1
  • Live stream: Now
  • Friday, August 26: Practice One 1pm, Practice Two 4pm
  • Saturday, August 27: Practice Three 12pm, Qualifying 3pm
  • Sunday, August 28: Belgian Grand Prix race 2pm

Stay up to date with all the latest from Spa-Francorchamps…

  • Ben Hunt

    Here comes the rain

    It has started and we are in for another early finish here. Lap times will not improve.

  • Ben Hunt

    No one can get close to Verstappen

    He is in a class of one. So much quicker than the rest. He does have grid penalties, otherwise this was looking far too easy.

  • Ben Hunt

    Leclerc reacts to Verstappen's lap time

    He's told the Dutchman is 0.862 seconds ahead of his best time. "Wow…that is quick", he says over the radio.

  • Ben Hunt

    Verstappen setting the pace

    The world champion is top of the timesheets in an otherwise dull session so far.

    Only Vettel has notched double-figures in the way of laps and he is in 18th.

  • Ben Hunt

    FP2 is go

    Second session underway in Spa. The track is damp and we have a 40 percent chance of rain in this sesion.

  • James Orr

    Verstappen latest

    McLaren's Lando Norris, Alpine's Eseban Ocon, Alfa Romeo's Valterri Bottas and Haas' Mick Schumacher are the other four drivers who will start from the back.

  • James Orr

    Verstappen to start from BACK of grid

    Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc will start from the BACK of the grid at the Belgian Grand Prix.

    The Red Bull and Ferrari aces are two of six drivers to be penalised for using too many engine parts.

  • Ben Hunt

    FP1 is done – Ferrari set the pace

    Sainz and Leclerc top the session in Spa, the two are separated by just 0.069 seconds.

    Verstappen is third quickest 0.217 seconds off Sainz's best time and Russell is fourth.

    Hamilton down in 9th place and Norris in 13th.

  • Ben Hunt

    It is raining

    A wet end to the session at Spa meaning lap times will not improve. Under three minutes to go and it is Sainz, Leclerc, Verstappen, Russell as the top four.

  • Ben Hunt

    Green light

    We are going again after a lengthy delay to recover the Haas. Eight minutes on the clock remain in FP1.

  • Ben Hunt

    Red flag – Magnussen stops on track

    He has a mechanical problem – says "his engine is out", and is told to stop the car.

    This session has been stopped for the time being as they recover his car.

  • Ben Hunt

    No penalty for Williams

    Pretty mad that Williams have been let off there. Looked a slam dunk penalty to me.

  • Ben Hunt

    Ocon has a problem

    He radios his Alpine team to inform them and the ask him to bring the car in to the pits for them to check it over. He was eighth quickest.

  • Ben Hunt

    Near miss!

    Verstappen almost wipes out Latifi in the pitlane. What were Williams doing calling him out into the pitlane with the Red Bull man approaching at such speed.

    That's likely to be a fine for the Williams team due to an unsafe release.

  • Ben Hunt

    Green light in the pit lane

    We are go for the Belgium GP – the season is back after the summer break.

    Lots of new parts on these cars, so expect of running – despite the wet conditions.

    New engines on the way for a number of drivers – details to follow once confirmed with the FIA – but the grid on Sunday could see a number of top drivers starting at the back of the grid.

  • Alex Terrell

    Lew close to a win

    Lewis Hamilton believes he is finally closing in on his first win of the year as he goes into this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix.

    Hamilton is on the longest winless run of his F1 career – a streak that stretches back to the Saudi race in December.

    But the 37-year-old, who has won at least one race every year he has been in F1, is confident of breaking his 2022 duck.

    Brit Hamilton, who was second in Hungary last time out, said: "We've been improving, some great progress, everyone pulling together.

    "The car is becoming more of a racing car, which is not particularly what it was at the start!

    "The last race was the best showing we've had so far. It was a huge boost, that we can close the gap.

    "It's naturally going to be tough, we'll keep our heads down now."

  • Alex Terrell

    First practice is minutes away

    Expect the cars to roll out of the pits at 1pm UK time, which is 2pm CET.

    Credit: Reuters
  • Alex Terrell

    Max Verstappen is in the building

    The world champ is looking relaxed and even has his knees out in the Belgian sunshine.

    And of course it's not far for his loyal oranje army of supporters to follow him in Spa.

    Credit: Rex
  • Alex Terrell

    Hello and welcome to Spa!

    The F1 season is finally BACK and there are new car upgrades and the drivers have been able to put their feet up.

    Now, Lewis Hamilton is looking to eat into Max Verstappen's huge lead at the top of the F1 title standings.

    But it would be some challenge, even more so than last season, when he nearly pipped the Dutchman at the post for the title.

    And we all remember what happened in Abu Dhabi.

    Those wounds have clearly taken time to heal for Hamilton – and that is hardly surprising.

    But he will be hoping his garage have their act together and a car that can challenge the dominance of Red Bull and Ferrari so far this year.

    Either way, expect chat about what porpoising is, plenty of aerodynamic talk – but hopefully some great racing.

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