The Formula 1 circus returned to action after a lengthy summer break and Saturday's qualifying session at Spa Francorchamps delivered all the goods. It will be a rain drenched Belgian Grand Prix with Red Bull's Max Verstappen starting from pole position.

The heavens opened up about half an hour before qualifying, leaving the circuit with a lot of standing water. Q1 was delayed as the safety car made sure that the track was dry enough to use.

Williams driver George Russell and McLaren's Lando Norris were the standout performers of the session before the latter had a high-speed shunt in Q3 after hitting a wet patch that caused his car to careen out of control.

A furious Sebastian Vettel checked up on Norris, who was thankfully conscious and relatively unharmed despite a massive crash that saw all his car head to the scrap yard. Vettel could be heard screaming on the radio that the track had been too wet and the session should have been red-flagged before Norris hit the barriers.

Norris was taken to hospital for a minor injury on his elbow and for more precautionary checks. After all the debris was cleared, the session resumed with Russel taking an impressive provisionary pole position.

However, title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Verstappen were not far behind. Hamilton put in a strong second sector but missed out on pole by a mere 0.013s.

Verstappen then took charge of his final effort and managed to stay consistently fast in the second and third sectors of the lap. He managed to deny Russel the pole position, and the Red Bull and the Williams will be lining up alongside each other in the front row with championship leader Hamilton just behind.

Norris' teammate Daniel Ricciardo will be relieved to have secured his best qualifying performance for McLaren with a much-needed fourth place. A lot will rest on his shoulders now that Norris will be starting all the way back from 14th place following his crash and 5-place grid penalty.

Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel took fifth place, and will be looking forward to another strong finish after having been disqualified out of his second place last time out. He will start beside Pierre Gasly in sixth.

The second Mercedes car of Valtteri Bottas is all the way back in eight but he is behind Red Bull's Sergio Perez in seventh. Memories of how Bottas caused a massive collision that took out the Red Bulls and Lando Norris out of contention in Hungary will surely be on everyone's mind on Sunday.

More rain is expected on Sunday, and it will likely be an eventful race. Verstappen will be looking to reclaim the championship lead after having been overtaken by Hamilton due to a string of unfortunate collisions in the past couple of races.

Max Verstappen
Points to prove: Red Bull's Max Verstappen POOL / FLORION GOGA