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Max Verstappen wins Belgian Grand Prix after supremely confident drive from 14th on the grid
One driver completely dominated the field at Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday and that was Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who will surely regard his victory in the Belgian Grand Prix as one of the most extraordinary wins of his career.
Starting at 14th position on the grid due to penalties metered out to a number of drivers for engine and gear box changes, the Dutchman effortlessly and swiftly advanced through the rest of the pack.
After a faultless ride, he finished the race an impressive 17 seconds ahead of his team mate Sergio Perez who had started 2nd on the grid and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz who had pole position.
The crowd, packed with Verstappen’s orange army, were jubilant, also revelling in the delivery of a thrilling race by the historic and stunning Ardennes track.
With the sun beating down, a gentle breeze emanating from the surrounding forest, mythical Spa-Francorchamps was at its best. There was also relief all round after a pre-race announcement confirmed that the Belgian track would maintain its position in the Formula One 2023 calendar.
But as the start lights went out, it was a different story for Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton whose over-eager attempt to overtake Fernando Alonso resulted in his car launching into the air before crashing out. Afterwards, the former champion admitted his mistake and recognised that he was lucky to have walked away unscathed.
Hamilton’s teammate George Russell was fourth, but was off the speed to seriously threaten Sainz or the Red Bull duo for a podium place.
With eight races remaining, Verstappen leads the drivers’ championship by a commanding 93 points. He’s now followed by Perez, who’s overtaken Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc after his Spa win. Meanwhile, Red Bull has increased its grip on the constructors’ standings with a lead of 118 points.
The Formula One circus now moves to neighbouring Netherlands for its next meet on 4 September.
Photo (main image): Carlos Sainz, Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen celebrate their podium wins at the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps © Belga/Jonas Roosens