• Tue. Mar 28th, 2023

Max Verstappen wins Belgian GP in 1-2 Red Bull finish

ByBrenden Martin

Aug 28, 2022
Max Verstappen drives at Belgium

Photo courtesy of Formula 1

Red Bull Racing No. 1 driver Max Verstappen extended his championship lead with a dominant comeback performance as the defending champion took to win at the 2022 Belgium Grand Prix. Verstappen started in 14th after taking a grid penalty for changing his power unit.

Verstappen now leads the driver standings by 93 points, a 13-point gain.

“The car was really on rails,” Verstappen said. “We picked the right places to pass people and we could look after our tires and that’s how we made our way forward. This whole weekend has been incredible.”

The win was Verstappen’s ninth of the season and is the second stretch of three consecutive wins for the Belgian-born Dutch driver. He beat Red Bull Racing teammate No. 11 driver Sergio Pérez by over 18 seconds.

Red Bull’s 1-2 finish is the fourth for the team this season and allows Pérez to pass Ferrari No. 16 driver Charles Leclerc in the Driver Standings and leads him by five points.

“I really hoped for more,” Pérez said. “Today was a good opportunity but Max was just flying. He was on another planet.”

The race got off to a hectic start as Mercedes No. 44 driver Lewis Hamilton and Alpine No. 14 Fernando Alonso made contact on Lap 1. Hamilton crowded Alonso to the curb on a turn. Alonso, with nowhere to go, sent the rear end of Hamilton’s car airborne.

Hamilton’s damage was terminal and resulted in his first DNF of the season. Hamilton was the only driver to finish every race entering the Belgium Grand Prix.

Alonso did not mince words about the 7-time champion and the cause of the wreck.

On the following lap, Williams Racing No. 6 driver Nicolas Latifi ran off into the gravel forcing Alfa Romero No. 77 Valtteri Bottas to try to avoid him. Bottas, who missed Q2 for the first time since Monaco 2015, was the other driver to DNF.

The safety car came out, grouping up the field and allowing Verstappen to reach the mid-pack cars with ease. He was already up to P8 by Lap 4.

Verstappen methodically picked off about one car per lap on his way to the lead, which he earned on Lap 12 as pole-sitter, Ferrari No. 55 driver Carlos Sainz, boxed and Verstappen went around Pérez.

Sainz rounded out the podium in P3.

“We got a good start, a good restart off the safety car, but the pace was just not there,” Sainz said. “We had a lot of overheating on the tires. We were sliding around a lot. For some reason, our package wasn’t quite there this weekend but in the end we finished on the podium and we will take it.”

Verstappen boxed on Lap 16, relinquishing the lead back to Sainz. It only took two laps for Verstappen to retake the lead on new tires.

Verstappen never looked back, leading the rest of the race and putting such a big gap between the rest of the field that he remained in the lead after pitting on Lap 31.

Falling behind in the championship, Leclerc came down pit road before the end of the race to go for the fastest lap. He ran into some trouble as he exited pit road with Alonso right behind him.

Leclerc used DRS on Alonso to earn the fastest lap, but he relinquished it as Verstappen took it at the very end for a maximum points day. To top off the strategy struggles for Ferrari, Leclerc was given a five-second penalty for speeding on pit road, handing Alonso a fifth-place finish and sending Leclerc to sixth.

Points finishes were rounded out with notable finishes for Aston Martin No. 5 driver Sebastian Vettel and Williams Racing No. 23 Alex Albon.

Vettel ran in the top 10 for the entire day and ended his final Belgian Grand Prix in eighth. Albon earned his third points finish of the season with a 10-place result.

The 2022 Formula 1 season will return for Race 15 next week for the Dutch Grand Prix at Circuit Zandvoort. The race is set for Sunday, Sept 4 at 9 a.m. EST. Coverage of the race can be found on ESPN.

Race Results:

Belgian Grand Prix results

Begian Grand Prix Driver Points

Belgian Grand Prix Constructor Points