Lando Norris cleared to race after his high-speed crash in qualifying
The British driver, 21, lost control of his McLaren through the fearsome Eau Rouge in the wet conditions, slamming into the wall and pirouetting four and a half times before coming to a standstill.
Norris wrote off the back of his McLaren in the accident, with the front-right wheel also torn away from his car.
TV pictures immediately cut away from the scene and to the McLaren garage where Norris’ concerned colleagues stood with hands on their heads.
Norris’ race engineer, Will Joseph asked: “Lando, are you OK, are you OK?” “Yes”, a winded Norris replied. “Sorry boys.”
Norris emerged unassisted from his wrecked cockpit, holding his lower left arm as he was taken to the on-track medical centre and then 20 miles away to a hospital in Verviers for an X-ray on his elbow.
Late on Saturday evening, a McLaren spokesperson said: “Following precautionary checks Lando Norris has been cleared to compete in the Belgian Grand Prix by the trackside doctor and FIA medical delegate.”
Norris, who was among the frontrunners to secure pole position after finishing fastest in both Q1 and Q2, will line up from the back on Sunday as a result of penalties for a series of changes to his destroyed car.
His accident came just moments after four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel demanded that the heavily rain-hit Q3 session should be stopped because the track was not fit to drive.
Vettel was the next driver behind Norris on track.
“What the f*** did I say?” he yelled over the radio when he was informed of the accident. “What did I say? Red flag. It is unnecessary. Is he OK?”
Vettel pulled alongside Norris’ wreckage, giving his fellow driver the thumbs up to check on his condition before driving away.
French Formula Two driver Anthoine Hubert was killed at Eau Rouge two years ago, while two drivers were hospitalised following a six-car pile-up in Friday’s W Series qualifying session at the same corner.
Later Vettel said: “I think [FIA race director] Michael Masi is not proud of what happened.
“It is always easy to play Captain Hindsight but we need to find a way to listen more to the information that we have.
“When I went down to Eau Rouge and came up the hill, there was a lot of water and I called for a red flag but the truth is that the session should not have started at all.
“There are plenty of things that we could have done better and it is better to be safe one time too many than one time too fewer.”
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