Formula One boss Ross Brawn admits the halved points for the Belgian Grand Prix were not an ideal solution, but believes George Russell clearly deserves a spot in Mercedes for next year. The race at Spa-Francorchamps failed to start on time due to ‘heavy rain.
At 18:17, drivers re-entered the track behind the safety car to gain a sense of the conditions as they meet the mandatory requirement in sports regulations that at least two laps of the race must be completed in order to be awarded half a point.
Max Verstappen was declared the winner and - 12.5 points were added next to his name in the championship - while George Russell finished second, his first podium in his career. The FIA's decisions met with mixed reactions.
However, Brawn believes giving 50% of the points is the fairest way to reward those who have excelled in difficult conditions during qualifying, such as Russell. “I feel terrible about the fans, who bravely held on to the humid conditions in the stands to support their heroes,” Brawn wrote in his post-race column.
"They have shown such dedication and will never forget this weekend." "Unfortunately, the time has gone against us. It was relentless. The FIA tried everything it could, sending the car twice behind the safety car to assess the conditions.
The problem was not in the intensity of the rain, but in the constancy that led to very poor visibility. "
“It’s pretty rare to see a weekend where the weather was so intense, so constant. Every effort was made to keep the race safe and normal, but this was not possible."
"In the end, safety came first, and it wasn’t safe enough to continue the race. So the FIA did the best it could in very challenging circumstances, such as we haven't seen in decades, ”says Brawn.
"Half of the points were awarded. It’s not ideal, but if you can’t reward someone for a race, reward them for bravery in qualifying. A lap like the one George Russell did in the qualifiers in the absence of the entire race should be rewarded."
"As I said, it’s not ideal, but we’re where we are. The weather just wasn't in our corner on Sunday. " Brawn believes Russell’s performance in Belgium has once again shown him worthy of Mercedes ’signing for the 2022 season.
"We all know George Russell has fantastic talent," Brawn added. "We saw a lot in Williams, and we saw it in Mercedes when he replaced Lewis Hamilton at the Sakhir Grand Prix last year." "George's performance reminded me a lot of Fernando Alonso when he drove in 2001 in the humid (conditions) Spa for Minardi.
He was immensely impressive in a car that was clearly not up to the job. In these conditions, the ratio of drivers and cars changes - and we saw that with George on Saturday. " "In my opinion, next year there is only one decision for Mercedes regarding the second seat, ”Ross Brawn is clear.