He may have been forced to start from 14th on the grid but that didn’t prevent Red Bull’s Max Verstappen from adding to his season’s points total by winning Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix as he chases down a second Formula One title.
Here's an incredible stat 🤓
Consecutive race wins starting 10th or lower had (until today) only happened once before in F1 history
1959/60 Bruce McLaren – USA (P10), Argentina (P13)
2022 Max Verstappen – Hungary (P10), Belgium (P14)#BelgianGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/gQuLEiRkoI
Behind the Dutchman through the chequered flag — 17.8 seconds to be precise — was his Mexican team mate Sergio Perez and this handed a further boost in the constructors championship to Red Bull. A long way back in third was the man who started on pole position, Spanish driver Carlos Sainz in his Ferrari.
“Max was on another planet today, he was flying, he was untouchable,” said Perez.
The win was Verstappen’s ninth from 14 races so far this season and put him a massive 93 points clear of Perez, who moves into second place overall behind his team mate with eight rounds remaining. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who started one place behind Verstappen in 15th after collecting similar engine and gearbox-related grid drops, finished fifth on the road but was demoted to sixth after a penalty for speeding in the pitlane. The Monegasque is now third overall, 98 points behind Verstappen who also took a bonus point for the fastest lap.
The Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort follows next weekend, which just so happens to be Verstappen’s home circuit.
The points scorers in Spa! 👏#BelgianGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/2Rbo01XFXK
“The car was a rocket ship all weekend,” he said after his second successive win at Spa, although last year’s victory was after just three laps splashing through the rain behind the safety car. “It was quite a hectic first lap to try and stay out of trouble, so many things were happening in front of me, but once we settled in… yeah, the car was really on rails,” added Verstappen. “Once we were in the lead, it was all about managing everything and this whole weekend has been incredible.”
Verstappen had been comfortably quickest in Saturday’s qualifying but grid penalties meant Sainz inherited pole position. The Spaniard kept the lead at the start, with Perez slow in getting away alongside as Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton slotted into second and third.
The former McLaren team mates then made contact as seven-times world champion Hamilton tried to overtake around the outsides into the Les Combes chicane. Hamilton, who drew a rebuke from Alonso, accepted responsibility for the collision and retired due to damage from the incident.
Further behind, Valtteri Bottas beached his Alfa Romeo in the gravel while trying to avoid the spinning Williams of Nicholas Latifi in an incident that brought out the safety car.
Drama on the opening lap at Spa! 😮#BelgianGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/R2oP9Gm13P
Verstappen, meanwhile, rocketed off the line and was 10th shortly after the start. He was eighth by the second lap when the safety car came out and swept past Perez to lead after 12 of 44 laps.
“It’s been a weekend I couldn’t imagine before,” said Versatappen. “But we want more of them… we’ll see next weekend what we can do.”
George Russell was fourth for Mercedes, with Alonso fifth. Esteban Ocon took seventh for Alpine, ahead of Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly with Alex Albon securing the final point for Williams in a race he ranked as one of his toughest.
To be able to comment you must be registered and logged in. Forgot password?
Suscribe to our newsletters
Enjoy live and on-demand online sports on DAZN. Activate your account
NBA Pass League
Now you can watch the entire NBA season or your favorite teams on streaming.