Max Verstappen surges through the field to win Belgian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen began the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps at the back of the field in fourteenth. He showed his skill and the pace of his Red Bull to climb through the field and cross the line first, ahead of his teammate with a Red Bull one-two.

It’s a new personal record for Verstappen: the starting position he’s won from, after he climbed from tenth to win at the last race in Hungary. And he made his moves incredibly quickly, already in third place after just three laps following a big crash on the first lap.

“It was quite a hectic first lap to try and stay out of trouble,” said Verstappen. “So many things were happening in front of me. But once we settled in, the car was really on rails, we picked the right places to pass people and we could look after our tires and that is how we made our way forward.”

This whole weekend has been incredible,” Verstappen added. “It’s been a weekend I couldn’t imagine before, but I think we want more of them, so keep working hard.”

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez finished second, the finish boosting him into second in the standings ahead of Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc. Verstappen blazed past his teammate on lap twelve to take the lead and never looked back.

“I really hoped for more,” Perez said, “but Max was just flying. He was on another planet, untouchable. Still, it’s a strong result for the team and I think we managed to get a lot of points today which is important.”

Leclerc, who also started further back in the field in fifteenth after having the same grid penalties for power unit and gearbox changes after qualifying, drove through the field as well. He could only manage sixth by the end of the race after another round of unfortunate strategy calls for Ferrari.

Fellow Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz finished in a distant third. He was left to rue the greater speed of the Red Bulls.

“I think we left nothing on the table today,” said Sainz. “We were just not strong enough compared to them; they were on another planet this weekend. We were not quick enough, unfortunately.”

“I think we would lie if we wouldn’t say that we are surprised, because the gap was certainly much bigger,” Sainz added. “We still need to analyze, take some conclusions and try to come back with a better low-downforce package for Monza, in case we are not so strong there also.”

George Russell finished fourth after pressuring for the final podium spot throughout the closing laps, much to his dissapointment.

“A little bit of mixed feelings right now,” Russell said after getting out of his car. “Had you told me last night that I would be two seconds off the podium on merit on pure pace, I would have probably said, ‘Yeah that’s a good recovery.'”

He finished far better than his teammate, though, who was forced to retire after a first lap collision with Fernando Alonso that sent him airborne. Alonso, a former teammate of Hamilton, was not happy.

“This guy only knows how to drive and start in first!” Alonso shouted over the radio.

1 1 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING RBPT 44 1:25:52.894 26
2 11 Sergio Perez RED BULL RACING RBPT 44 +17.841s 18
3 55 Carlos Sainz FERRARI 44 +26.886s 15
4 63 George Russell MERCEDES 44 +29.140s 12
5 14 Fernando Alonso ALPINE RENAULT 44 +73.256s 10
6 16 Charles Leclerc FERRARI 44 +74.936s 8
7 31 Esteban Ocon ALPINE RENAULT 44 +75.640s 6
8 5 Sebastian Vettel ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES 44 +78.107s 4
9 10 Pierre Gasly ALPHATAURI RBPT 44 +92.181s 2
10 23 Alexander Albon WILLIAMS MERCEDES 44 +101.900s 1
11 18 Lance Stroll ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES 44 +103.078s 0
12 4 Lando Norris MCLAREN MERCEDES 44 +104.739s 0
13 22 Yuki Tsunoda ALPHATAURI RBPT 44 +105.217s 0
14 24 Zhou Guanyu ALFA ROMEO FERRARI 44 +106.252s 0
15 3 Daniel Ricciardo MCLAREN MERCEDES 44 +107.163s 0
16 20 Kevin Magnussen HAAS FERRARI 43 +1 lap 0
17 47 Mick Schumacher HAAS FERRARI 43 +1 lap 0
18 6 Nicholas Latifi WILLIAMS MERCEDES 43 +1 lap 0
NC 77 Valtteri Bottas ALFA ROMEO FERRARI 1 DNF 0
NC 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 0 DNF 0
Owen Johnson