Lewis Hamilton claims Belgian Grand Prix pole in rainy qualifying shoot-out

25 Aug

Lewis Hamilton took pole in an exciting, wet Belgian Grand Prix qualifying on Saturday.

The Brit beat out his title rival Sebastian Vettel who will join him on the front row, while Force India’s Esteban Ocon produced a shock and will start third with his teammate Sergio Perez on fourth.

Hamilton pipped Vettel to pole

As the cars began to prepare the first flying laps in the top 10 shoot-out, the rain poured down and caused chaos.

Hamilton came out on top by 0.726 seconds, while the Force Indias of Ocon and Perez locked out the second row after timing the conditions right – just days after the team were rescued from going out of business.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen lost out in the pits, as did Red Bull.

Daniel Ricciardo to leave Red Bull for Renault at end of 2018 as Max Verstappen puts Australian in his shadow

3 Aug

Daniel Ricciardo will quit Red Bull for Renault next after the 2018 season after becoming fed up at being the team’s No2 driver.

Max Verstappen, nine years Ricciardo’s junior, is the team’s top priority and Ricciardo has had enough, with the team confirming his departure on Friday.

Ricciardo’s five-year stay at Red Bull is set to come to an end

The Australian, 29, also held talks with McLaren and had his sights set on a dream move to Ferrari, according to the Mail.

Ricciardo’s decision to leave came after a meeting with the Red Bull owner in Austria but it did not convince him he was a valued member of the team.

After missing out on Ricciardo, McLaren will likely pick up Carlos Sainz, who is out of contract at Renault and will likely be forced out by their new arrival.

Ricciardo made his debut in Formula One in with Red Bull sister cars Hispania and Toro Rosso before stepping up to the main team to replace Mark Webber in 2014.

He sits fifth in the current drivers’ standings, one place above teammate Max Verstappen

He won three races to finish third in the drivers’ standings in his first season with Red Bull, but then slipped to eighth a year later before bouncing back to third in 2016.

Ricciardo currently sits fifth in the 2018 table with two wins to his name, including a first Monaco Grand Prix triumph.

But Dutchman Verstappen, 20, is the team’s de facto No1 driver after being handed a bumper deal last October.

He is the youngest-ever race winner in F1 but sits 13 points below Ricciardo in this year’s standings, having been hit with three retirements in the first 12 races.

Ricciardo feels the team have prioritised 20-year-old Verstappen, right, over him

Confirming Ricciardo’s exit, a Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner said: “We fully respect Daniel’s decision to leave Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and we wish him all the best in the future.

“We would like to thank him for his dedication and the role he has played since joining the team in 2014, the highlights of course being the seven wins and the 29 podiums he has achieved so far with us.”

No announcement has been made on a replacement for Ricciardo at Red Bull.

There are still nine races remaining on the 2018 F1 calendar, which is currently on its summer break.

The move will push Carlos Sainz out of Renault, with McLaren poised to sign him up for 2019

Ricciardo’s decision to quit comes just days after hinting he was about to sign a new deal with Red Bull ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix in three weeks’ time.

He told Sky Sports: “It will definitely be done by Spa. Whether it gets announced over the summer break or in Spa (I don’t know).

“It’s just a little bit of fune tuning here and there, it’s all good.

“You will hear something soon, I’m sure.”