Verstappen outshines the rest in Belgium Belgium Grand Prix Race Review

Belgian Grand Prix 2023: Verstappen outshines the rest

July 30, 2023

Max Verstappen might not have started on pole in Belgium, but that didn’t make a difference to the reigning World Champion as he powered himself to his eighth consecutive win of the season.

Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Pérez finished second, while pole-sitter Charles Leclerc also managed to finish on the podium, holding off Lewis Hamilton.

This is Red Bull’s 12th win in a row since the start of the season and 13th consecutive win, with Verstappen now just two wins away from securing his third World Title.

Fernando Alonso, who celebrated his 42nd birthday the day before the race, finished fifth ahead of George Russell (P6), with Lando Norris (P7), Esteban Ocon (P8), Lance Stroll (P9) and Yuki Tsunoda (P10) rounding out the points places. 

It was a frantic start to the race as Carlos Sainz and Oscar Piastri came together, which saw Piastri suffer damage as he turned into the McLaren driver. Sergio Pérez used this chaos to take the lead from pole-sitter Charles Leclerc, while Max Verstappen, starting in P5, made up a place in the opening lap.

Piastri’s damage eventually saw him stop on the track and retire early. Fernando Alonso picked off Sainz for P5 place on Lap 4. Yuki Tsunoda got Sainz as well on the next lap. Williams’ Alex Albon, who started P15, got Sainz in the following lap, having made up eight places.

Verstappen breezed past Lewis Hamilton on Lap 6 at the “Les Combes” chicane. On Lap 9, he once again use this chicane to go around the outside of Leclerc to get up to P3 and three seconds behind the race leader Pérez.

Hamilton was the first in the top four to pit, which he did on Lap 13 as he switched to the medium compounds. Pérez came in for his stop on Lap 14, but a slow stop saw the Mexican join almost 17 seconds behind Verstappen, who now led the race. Verstappen pitted the following lap and re-joined in P2, two seconds behind Pérez, who had re-taken the lead of the race. A bit behind, Alonso picked off George Russell for P6 on Lap 16 as Verstappen eased past Pérez on the next lap to take the lead of the race. Within two laps, Verstappen was over two-and-a-half seconds clear of his teammate, with Leclerc another six seconds behind.

The impending rain arrived on Lap 20, which saw Lance Stroll switch to the soft compounds the following lap. Russell also pitted for the soft compounds on Lap 23.

Elsewhere, Sainz retired on Lap 23; his first-lap coming-together with Piastri had caused too much damage for the Spaniard to carry on any further.

While the rain did not fully come as expected, it helped the likes of Alonso, Russell and Tsunoda, who were making moves in the middle of the field.

Hamilton came in for his second stop on Lap 28, switched to the soft compounds, and re-joined in P6 ahead of his teammate, Russell. The veteran Brit got Alonso for P4 on Lap 29, while Pérez pitted for a second time on the following lap, switching to the soft compounds. Alonso also switched to the softs on the same lap and got back on the track in P5, ahead of Russell. Race leader Verstappen got his second stop done on Lap 31 and re-joined the track in P1, a good nine seconds clear of his teammate in P2. 

Esteban Ocon got Tsunoda and Stroll in the matter of two laps as the Alpine driver moved up to P8.

Up ahead, it was a cruise for Verstappen as he finished a good 22 seconds ahead of his teammate Pérez in P2. Leclerc saw off a late-charging Hamilton to pick up the final podium place. Hamilton pitted on Lap 43 as he tried to get the fastest lap point, which he managed to take on the final lap.

Verstappen’s win now puts him on 314 points, 125 points clear of Sergio Pérez in second place.

Hamilton’s P4 finish sees him one point away from Alonso in third place as the seven-time World Champion aims to get his old teammate in the Championship battle.

Formula One now heads into the summer break. Racing will resume on August 27 for the Dutch Grand Prix.

Aditya Chaudhuri

Hailing from the City of Joy, the things that bring me joy are cricket, a good non-tilt CS:GO session, F1 and movies.

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