Heavy rain in the hours leading up to lights out at Spa resulted in the start being delayed by 25 minutes, after which a handful of formation laps were completed behind the safety car before the race was red-flagged.
A wait of almost three hours followed, with little change in the levels of rain hitting the circuit, before a window emerged for the field to get out on track behind the safety car.
Two laps were completed, meaning the race classification was official, before the race was red-flagged again and ultimately called off 20 minutes later.
The classified result is taken after just one lap, making it the shortest race in F1 history with a final result, beating the 14-lap 1991 Australian Grand Prix. The two on-track laps mean that half points could be awarded to the top-10 finishers.
Seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton expressed sympathy for the fans who had waited in the rain only to not see a race, and said the series “made a bad choice” by running two laps behind the safety car.
- Russell: “Doesn’t matter” how maiden F1 podium arrived
- Hamilton: F1 “made a bad choice” at Spa, but “money talks”
- Verstappen admits “not how you want to win” Belgian GP
Other championships such as IndyCar and NASCAR have the ability to postpone a race until Monday in the event of rain washing out the event.
But FIA race director Masi said that it was not an option F1 could consider at Spa for a “whole range” of reasons.
“There is no ability to postpone the race until tomorrow,” Masi said.
“So obviously from the FIA perspective, and jointly with F1, safety is paramount for drivers, the teams and all of the spectators.
“We gave every available opportunity within the rulebook and the provisions of the International Sporting Code to give us the best opportunity for us to complete a race.
“Unfortunately on this occasion we could not go the full distance that was available, but with the provisions to stop the clock, is what we tried to do to see if we could get ourselves in that weather window of some activity.”
Carlos Sainz said that any decision to run the two laps behind the safety car simply to get a result would have been “absolute nonsense”, but Masi maintained it was to fully assess the conditions with the full field of cars.
“No, it was to see what the conditions are like,” Masi said.
“We are in constant contact with our official weather providers and there was a window that looked like it was provided there.
“We’ve got the requirement to give a 10 minute warning to everyone so it was like, ‘OK, let’s try and see if we can find that window’.
“A number of the teams said the same thing and they saw that window and could see exactly what we were trying to do to find that weather window and then the weather came in again and got the better of us.”