F1 News – Verstappen dominates once again to win in Spa

Belgian Grand Prix: Max Verstappen advanced from P6 to win in Spa and give Red Bull another 1-2, while Charles Leclerc finished in third.

In Spa, there would only be nineteen drivers starting because Nico Hulkenberg had to start from the pitlane after changing parts after qualifying. The majority of the cars started with soft tires, although Oscar Piastri in fifth place, Lando Norris in seventh, George Russell in eighth, Fernando Alonso in ninth, Lance Stroll in tenth, Yuki Tsunoda in eleventh, and Hulkenberg picked the mediums.

2023 race results Grand Prix of Belgium

Leclerc was in the lead as the lights went out, but Perez overtook him after a few turns to retake the lead of the race for Red Bull. When Carlos Sainz and Piastri collided at T1 farther back, the McLaren driver fell through the pack and limped back to the pits. Max Verstappen gained a position as a result of Piastri’s mishap, and the reigning champion was in P4 by the end of the first lap.

Piastri was only able to finish the first lap before pulling over to the side of the track to retire after the highs of P2 in the Sprint yesterday. By the third lap, Perez had a lead of more than two seconds over Leclerc, who was being pursued by Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. The margin between them all and Sainz in fifth place was five seconds, but Alonso didn’t let his fellow Spaniard maintain that advantage for long, passing the Ferrari driver to move up to fourth place.

Norris was getting passed left, right, and center, and he had dropped out of the points positions. Sainz had the defense of damage, but neither Ferrari had significant pace at the start.

Norris pitted on hard tyres at the conclusion of lap 5 and endured a painfully delayed stop before returning in P17. Verstappen ultimately passed Hamilton higher up the grid by tearing down the inside at Turn 5 and then pressing on to narrow the gap to Leclerc.

On the Kemmel Straight on lap 8, Alex Albon and Esteban Ocon passed the British driver, Norris, in a double move. Verstappen passed Leclerc on the next lap to make it a Red Bull 1-2, with Perez trailing after a few seconds later, but it wasn’t quite as dramatic or unexpected.

The Mercedes driver made his pit stop at the conclusion of lap 12 to put on the medium tires. As the first of the front runners to emerge, Hamilton was just ahead of Stroll in P5, thanks to the pace at the front.

On the subsequent lap, Perez and Leclerc made their stops and exited on medium tires, while Verstappen and his engineer GP engaged in another radio argument, this time over strategy and whether or not to stop in anticipation of the impending rain.

The Dutch driver did stop in the pits for his own mediums at the end of lap 14, returning to the track in P2, but the two-second margin between the two Red Bulls vanished over the following lap, and by lap 16, the reigning champion was on his teammate’s rear wing.

On lap 17, with the sun from the start of the race gone and things looking quite dismal, Verstappen took over at the head of the pack. After that, rain started to develop around the circuit, initially not enough to alter the grip, but by lap 21, the impact was evident on the timesheets with significantly slower lap times than before.

Verstappen experienced a significant twitch as he approached Raidillon, but he was able to regain control and keep his Red Bull on course. The timesheets weren’t the only item demonstrating the difference in grip.

Everyone stayed on slick tires despite the rain; Russell made his first pit stop of the race on lap 23, switching to soft tires, and then he resumed in P16. Sainz was wheeled into his garage on lap 25, marking the second retirement of the day.

By lap 26, the sun had returned to some portions of the course, the rain had stopped, and lap times had returned to normal.

On lap 28, Hamilton made a second pit stop and returned to soft tires, moving up only one position to P5. On the following lap, Leclerc replied, returning to the track still in third place and one second in front of Hamilton, who had just defeated Alonso. Although Hamilton didn’t win the race, the undercut brought him two seconds closer to the Ferrari.

On lap 30, Perez took his own pit stop. He didn’t lose a position, but his lead over Leclerc did reduce by half. Verstappen was able to maintain his lead over Perez before pit stops and keep moving forward into the sun. He did so better than others in front of him.

Albon and Gasly engaged in a fantastic duel for P11, with the Alpine driver ultimately triumphing over the Williams. Albon battled back and came incredibly close to pulling off the feat, but ultimately had to give up and pit in order to switch out his medium tires for soft ones.

Verstappen was instructed to drive carefully and avoid over-pressuring the tires in an effort to set the quickest lap at the front. In response, he suggested that he keep going and create a gap large enough to pit once more to provide the crew with some pitstop training, but it was rejected.

The most dramatic overtakes of the day still included Alpine, and this time it was Ocon who got very close to Tsunoda towards the end of the Kemmel Straight and raced alongside him through the Les Combes chicane before pulling ahead and into P9.

In little time at all, Ocon was directly on Stroll’s gearbox, sped past him, and then turned his attention to Norris in P7.

On lap 43, Hamilton snuck into the pits for fresh tires since he had more than enough distance behind Alonso to do it without difficulty. Verstappen could have done the same because he had opened up a big enough lead to Perez, but Red Bull didn’t seem to be interested this time.

Verstappen won the race by 22 seconds over his teammate Leclerc, who finished in third place 9 seconds later. With a 1:47.305 on the final lap, Hamilton took P4 and did succeed in stealing the fastest lap from the Dutch driver.

Alonso finished in P5 ahead of Russell, while Norris overcame a rocky start to the race to take P7, half a second ahead of Ocon. While Tsunoda earned the final point of the day, Stroll finished the day in P9.

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