However, the Dutchman will not line up in pole position, having taken a five-place grid drop for fitting his fifth gearbox of the year.
Ahead of Sprint Saturday tomorrow, Verstappen asserts he remains dissatisfied with the format, citing that drivers shouldn’t be punished through a weekend for making a wrongful set-up choice in FP1.
“It’s definitely a bit more hit and miss because we went onto the slick tyres in qualifying and then you finally start to pick up a bit what the car is doing,” he explained.
“I think luckily it wasn’t too bad, but honestly with these kind of Sprint formats, when you have an FP1 like that… But even when it’s fully dry it’s still a bit hit-and-miss.
“That always makes it very chaotic, that’s why I never really enjoy these kind of weekends because you don’t have the time and once you do a mistake you’re stuck with it for the rest of the weekend and I don’t think it should be like that.
“For sure you can do better things with the format, but I guess they implemented that for this particular reason, that there is a bit more chaos and people not getting it right.
“But I don’t think, with how advanced everything is in this sport, that it should be like that, that on a Friday if you arrive with the wrong set-up or you make the wrong call after FP1 then you’re stuck with it for the rest of the weekend, which basically also happened for us in Brazil last year. It’s just super painful.”
Verstappen’s penalty means Leclerc will lead the field away from the front on Sunday for the second time this season and the second time at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Last time the Ferrari racer occupied pole position in Spa he won the race back in 2019.
Leclerc will share the front row along with the other Red Bull of Sergio Perez, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz slotting in on the second row.
Verstappen, meanwhile, will aim to secure an eighth consecutive victory from sixth on the grid, sharing the third row with the lead McLaren of Oscar Piastri, who pipped Lando Norris.