Isack Hadjar is under no illusions that his weekend will be an uphill struggle from here on out after a disappointing Qualifying left him P23 on the grid for both the Sprint and Feature Races.

The Championship leader admitted afterwards he was fortunate that his closest rival Victor Martins will line up alongside him in 24th, with Arthur Leclerc not too far away in 20th. He said that a ‘miracle’ was now needed to recover his weekend.

“I’m starting from P23, we have the car to be able to fight for P10 or something, as long as I finish ahead of (Arthur) Leclerc and Victor (Martins). The target is to score a few points if we can, but that would be quite a miracle.”

A drying track late-on after a red flag stoppage meant that the track was improving with every second in the closing stages of Qualifying, but Hadjar was unable to capitalise as much as some. The Hitech Grand Prix driver said over team radio that the conditions were far from ideal but was posting stellar improvements in the early part of the session.

Unfortunately for the Frenchman, when it came time to put in the final laps, he could only watch on as the sector times filtered in.

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“We had the car to fight for pole. In Spa it rains a lot which is annoying because this morning, in the dry, we had a lot of pace. We would have been fighting for top three quite easily,” he said afterwards.

“We managed the switchover to dries quite well. I was able to start the lap but couldn’t finish it due to an issue. The laps before, I was struggling so the car was not on point, but I still managed to start the lap but had to pull over just after T1.”

The result was a mixed-up grid as the usual suspects struggled to extract the maximum as the track dried slowly. Though the majority of his rivals ended up close by, Oliver Bearman will line up eighth for the Feature Race and fourth in the Sprint. Hadjar is weary of the PREMA Racing driver and views him as the biggest concern heading into Saturday.

“Unfortunately, (Oliver) Bearman made it into the top eight so that’s a bit of an issue but we’re lucky to have most of the title contenders at the back of the grid.”