Max Verstappen pips George Russell to pole position at Belgian GP

Red Bull's Max Verstappen took pole position for Belgian GP on Saturday but only just ahead of shock frontrunner George Russell.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen steers his car during qualification ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix at the Spa-Francorchamps racetrack in Spa, Belgium.   -  AP

Red Bull's Max Verstappen took pole position for Belgian GP on Saturday but only 0.3s ahead of George Russell. Russell beat Lewis Hamilton to front row in the Williams.

"It's been a really tricky qualifying, it was hard to keep the car on track," said Verstappen. "At the end we were first, and that's the most important. It's an amazing track to drive, and very challenging in the wet."

Qualifying was marred by a heavy crash in Q3 involving the McLaren of Lando Norris.

Max Verstappen pips George Russell to pole position at Belgian GP  

Hamilton had the leading time with drivers on their final runs. But Russell, driving a slower Williams, beat Hamilton's leading mark. Hamilton could not match it. But Verstappen found the extra pace to cross the line .321 ahead of Russell and .334 clear of Hamilton.

Verstappen now leads Hamilton 6-3 for pole positions this season.

“That is simply lovely. A great start after the (midseason) break," Verstappen said. “It's a great track to drive but very challenging in the wet.”

Russell is being touted as a possible Mercedes driver next year if the team does not renew Valtteri Bottas' contract and showed his talent with a fantastic lap.

“Absolutely buzzing,” Russell said. “We'll go for it (tomorrow).”

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