Photo: Red Bull Media House

Belgian GP: Verstappen wins to further extend title lead

Max Verstappen has taken yet another Formula One Grand Prix victory, this time at the famous Spa-Francorchamps Circuit in Belgium.

Here is how the race went:


Nico Hulkenberg would be starting from the Pitlane after he received a new power unit and gearbox, the German’s bad weekend would continue on the lap to the grid.

He would go straight on at Les Combes and then would report back to the team that smoke was, coming from his car.

It turned out to be an issue with his Engine coil which the team was able to repair for the start of the race.

The soft tyre runners were the top four drivers Verstappen in sixth, then Gasly in 12th to Ricardo in 19th were also on Softs.

The Medium runners would be Piastri, Norris Russell, Alonso, Stroll, Tsundo and Hulkenberg.

It was an interesting start as Piatsri, Hamilton, and Sainz tried to go three wide into turn one, but they all made contact at the apex of the corner with one another, which left both Sainz and Piastri with damage, with Piastri going extremely slow into Raidillon.

Perez would take the lead of the race into Les Combes as the draft from Leclerc on the Kemmel straight allowed him to breeze around the outside

Piastri’s damage was terminal as he would pull off the road at the outside of turn 13 bringing out yellow flags.

All this madness from the start allowed Max Verstappen to move up to fourth after starting sixth, and he would be right tucked up behind Hamilton by the end of lap three.

Fernando Alonso was also on a charge as he was up to fifth from ninth as he overtook the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz into Les Combes.

It was a bit of a long shot but this is one of the only venues Fernando Alonso has never won at, could he pull off a miracle?

The McLarens were struggling at the end of lap four as Norris’s pace saw him lose two positions in the space of two corners as Stroll caught him napping at the final Chicane, and Russell just drove alongside and up the inside into turn 1.

Max Verstappen would move his way up to fourth as he aggressively went up the inside of Hamilton into Les Combe, as Hamilton tried to squeeze him, but it wasn’t enough, Verstappen was now third.

Sainz’s damage was hampering his race as he dropped all the way to tenth on lap seven as Russell would position his car to the inside and through at the final chicane.

In an attempt to salvage something from this race, Sainz came in for medium tyres in a more alternate strategy.

It was only lap nine and Verstappen was up to second position, as Leclerc moved to the middle of the Kemmel straight and the extra power from the slipstream allowed Verstappen to cruise around the outside at Les Combes.

Lando Norris was still struggling on lap ten after pitting for hards, as ex-teammate Daniel Riccardo would pass Norris on the outside of Les Combes to drop Norris to the 15th position.

On lap eleven Alonso would pit for the hard tyres, he would get out in eighth but would lose out to Hulkenberg on the Kemmel Straight dropping the Spaniard to ninth.

This was a short hold-up for Fernando though as he would just drive straight past Hulkenberg on the Kemmel straight with the Aston Martin driver having the move done by the time they made it to Les Combe.

Lewis Hamilton pitted on Lap 13 for the medium compound of tyres, the Brit came out just in front of Stroll, who he had to defend from, as he weaved fiercely into into Les Combe.

On Lap 14 Red Bull reported in nine laps time that rain was coming, with the team asking Verstappen if he could get the tyres that far, he couldn’t as he came in on lap 15 for a medium set of tyres.

Some drivers were looking to make their tyres survive another seven minutes as Gasly was staying out on his Soft tyres in eighth position.

On lap 16 Max Verstappen had found his teammate and found himself within DRS range.

Max Verstappen was the new race leader on lap 17 as he tucked right up behind Perez into Raidillon which allowed him to breeze past Perez by the middle part of the Kemmel straight.

On the same lap, we saw Russell move up to sixth place as he took the outside line to dive into Les Combe and pinch Lance Stroll on the apex to take the position.

The rain had arrived with Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz reporting back to the team that there was rain at turn 15.

The rain was here to stay as by lap 2o it had made its way up to turn nine, with the drivers now setting lap times that were three seconds off of the pace.

Lance Stroll would come into the pitlane on Lap 21 for a soft set of tyres, but it would be a slow stop on the right rear.

Meanwhile, Verstappen’s underwear had turned brown, as he had a moment of oversteer in the middle of Raidllion which could’ve easily ended with Dain in the outside wall.

George Russell was in sixth position when he pitted on lap 23, he took a brand-new set of Soft tyres.

Lando Norris had made his way back into this race as his high downforce set-up saw him thriving in the mixed conditions, with the McLaren driver up to an eleventh position as he overtook Zhou into Les Fagnes.

Carlos Sainz’s day was over on lap 23 as the team decided to bring him in as he was running out of the points finishing positions.

The shower only lasted around ten minutes as by lap 27 Spa was completely soaked in the gorgeous Belgian sunshine.

On Lap 28 Hamilton would make his second pit stop for a set of soft tyres, which would drop him from fourth to fifth with Fernando Alonso taking the position.

Then a lap later Leclerc would pit in from second position, which brought him out just +1.5s in front of the close battle between Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.

After the Aston Martin driver was passed by Hamilton, Alonso came in to fit a pair of Soft tyres to allow him to come out in front of George Russel, which Fernando was quite pleased with.

The race leader came in on lap 31 in a flawless stop from the Red Bull team, which saw the Red Bull driver maintain his lead.

The reason that Norris had been struggling earlier in the race was a result of a steering issue with his McLaren, it seemed the team had resolved this as he sat in seventh.

On Lap 33 Gasly and Albon would have an excellent duel with the two sitting side by side all the way from the entry to Les Fagnes to the entry to Campus where Gasly would take the outside line and eleventh position.

It nearly wouldn’t last though as Gasly had to brake extremely late at Les Combes to ensure that Albon didn’t hang it around the outside.

Yuki Tsunoda was caught out by Esteban Ocon on lap 42, as he hung the Alpine around the outside at the first part of Les Combe so he had the inside for the second section with the cars being mil metres apart, with Ocon now in ninth.

Ocon’s charge would continue as he caught and pasted Lance Stroll on the Kemmel straight, as Ocon’s next target Lando Norris was only +2.5s up the road on lap 42.

On Lap 43 Hamilton went for Hammer time, as he pitted for some soft tyres to attempt to steal Max Verstappen’s fastest lap.

Max Verstappen from sixth on the grid and for the third year in a row took the win at his second home GP, Perez would finish in second to complete the Red Bull one-two, with Pole sitter Charles Leclerc rounding out the podium.

Hamilton in fourth would steal Verstappen’s fastest lap, as he crossed the line to finish in fourth position, with Fernando Alonso rounding out the top five.

George Russell would finish a decent race in ninth position, with Lando Norris holding onto seventh position as the charging Alpine of Esteban Ocon would settle for eighth.

Finally rounding out the top ten was Lance Stroll, and in an extremely impressive tenth position was Yuki Tsunoda in his AlphaTauri.


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