Max Verstappen climbs through the field to score dominant F1 win in Belgium

Max Verstappen did have to make some passes but it didn’t take him long to reassert his position at the front of the field at Spa Francorchamps and deliver another dominant win for Red Bull.

A five-place grid penalty took away his advantage on the grid, but it only took him nine laps to get to second behind his teammate Sergio Perez and 17 to take the lead for himself. 

But even that was a little longer than Verstappen would’ve liked. He acknowledged that he held back at the start to avoid the potential chaos. 

“I knew that we had a great car, it was just all about surviving Turn 1,” said Verstappen. “I could see it was all getting pretty tight. I’ve been in that position before myself, so I was just like, ‘I’m going to stay out of that,’ so it worked out.”

But he showed his speed from that point on, ultimately winning with a margin of over 22 seconds. 

“I think we all made the right overtakes, moves, I just got a little bit stuck in the beginning in a DRS train. Once that [was] clear I could do my own pace,” he explained. 

Verstappen did get a break from the monotony by changing conditions as light rain began to fall inserted a new variable for the teams. Ultimately, though, it wasn’t enough to move to intermediate or wet tires, but it gave Verstappen something to think about amidst his hotlaps. 

“Really enjoyable!” he summed up his race.

Teammate Sergio Perez ended up second. He jumped past polesitter Charles Leclerc at the start and held the lead in the early laps before Verstappen arrived.

“It was a good race for the team,” he said. “We had a great start and managed to get through Charles, which was one of the targets of today.” 

“From then on, I was just doing my own race and Max came through in the second stint pretty fast. There was nothing I could have done there.”

It’s a strong finish that Perez sorely needed after a difficult middle stretch of the season where he failed to make the final round of qualifying more than a half-dozen times in a row. 

“It’s been a bit of a rough patch, but we overcome, and today we managed to score great points for the team. I really need the summer break. It’s been really intense for the last few races. I look forward to it and will come back very strong,” he added.

Charles Leclerc finished third for Ferrari, followed by the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso. 

George Russell, Lando Norris, Estebon Ocon, Lance Stroll, and Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the top ten. It’s a strong points finish for Tsunoda in the Alpha Tauri, finishing six places ahead of star-studded teammate Daniel Ricciardo. 

Formula One returns for the Dutch Grand Prix on August 27th.

1 1 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT 44 1:22:30.450 25
2 11 Sergio Perez RED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT 44 +22.305s 18
3 16 Charles Leclerc FERRARI 44 +32.259s 15
4 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 44 +49.671s 13
5 14 Fernando Alonso ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES 44 +56.184s 10
6 63 George Russell MERCEDES 44 +63.101s 8
7 4 Lando Norris MCLAREN MERCEDES 44 +73.719s 6
8 31 Esteban Ocon ALPINE RENAULT 44 +74.719s 4
9 18 Lance Stroll ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES 44 +79.340s 2
10 22 Yuki Tsunoda ALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT 44 +80.221s 1
11 10 Pierre Gasly ALPINE RENAULT 44 +83.084s 0
12 77 Valtteri Bottas ALFA ROMEO FERRARI 44 +85.191s 0
13 24 Zhou Guanyu ALFA ROMEO FERRARI 44 +95.441s 0
14 23 Alexander Albon WILLIAMS MERCEDES 44 +96.184s 0
15 20 Kevin Magnussen HAAS FERRARI 44 +101.754s 0
16 3 Daniel Ricciardo ALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT 44 +103.071s 0
17 2 Logan Sargeant WILLIAMS MERCEDES 44 +104.476s 0
18 27 Nico Hulkenberg HAAS FERRARI 44 +110.450s 0
NC 55 Carlos Sainz FERRARI 23 DNF 0
NC 81 Oscar Piastri MCLAREN MERCEDES 0 DNF 0
Owen Johnson