Max Verstappen outpaced teammate Sergio Perez to extend his winning streak with the eighth straight race win in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.
Red Bull became the first team in F1 history to win 12 consecutive races in the same season thanks to Max Verstappen, who easily overcame a grid penalty to beat Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez for the victory in a shower-hit Spa-Francorchamps.
Verstappen overcame Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton before catching and overtaking teammate Sergio Perez. He then went on to win by 22 seconds despite receiving a five-place grid penalty for exceeding his gearbox allotment.
Leclerc got out to a strong start, but he had no hope of keeping in the lead over the raging Red Bull duo. However, the Ferrari had more success holding off Lewis Hamilton to land on the podium with Fernando Alonso in his Aston Martin taking a late fifth place from George Russell in the sister Mercedes.
The leading four contenders on the grid all started on soft tyres, with Max Verstappen starting in sixth on softs and Oscar Piastri starting in fifth on mediums. When the race started, pole-winner Charles Leclerc maintained his lead over Sergio Perez on the brief run to La Source.
However, at the apex of the first corner, Carlos Sainz Jr. and Oscar Piastri made contact in the rear, severely damaging the McLaren and putting an end to the race.
Before Les Combes, Perez overtook the leading Ferrari by slipstreaming him along the Kemmel straight. Verstappen, who benefited from the incident early on to climb up to fourth, placed behind Perez, Leclerc, and Hamilton. Sainz soon pulled out of the duel with Red Bull after suffering severe damage on his own and consequently slipping down in the ranks.
Perez extended his lead over Leclerc by a few seconds. On the sixth lap, Verstappen passed Hamilton for third into Les Combes, then on the ninth lap, he passed Leclerc for second through the use of DRS on the Kemmel straight.
At the conclusion of lap 12, Hamilton was the first of the top four to pit for the medium tyre compound. He returned just ahead of Lance Stroll, who was still in fourth. The stewards ruled there was no need to investigate Hamilton for weaving despite the fact that it looked he made many defensive maneuvers on the straight.
At the conclusion of lap 13 race leader Perez made a pit stop for medium tires, and a lap later teammate Verstappen followed suit. Verstappen began applying intense pressure to his teammate after quickly closing off the gap between them. On lap 17, he raced past Perez with ease after slipstreaming him up the Raidillon hill to take the lead for the first time.
The south side of the track later experienced a brief sprinkle of light rain, although drivers were encouraged to continue running on slick tyres and avoid stopping for intermediates. For a few laps, lap times dipped by about five seconds, but the rain soon stopped, allowing drivers to keep going hard once more.
The leaders changed to soft tyres for the last stint following the second round of pit stops, with Verstappen maintaining the lead ahead of Perez, Leclerc trailing Perez by less than five seconds and Hamilton trailing Leclerc by less than two seconds.
Despite the objections of his race engineer Giampiero Lambiase, Verstappen persisted in pushing and stretched his advantage to more than 15 seconds. Hamilton was unable to overtake the Ferrari driver in up front while Leclerc continued to trail Perez by just five seconds in third. The situation held on all the way to the finish line, with Verstappen winning by more than 20 seconds over his teammate.
Leclerc took the final podium spot in third and Hamilton finished fourth after making a pit stop with just two laps left for a set of fresh tyres and record the fastest lap of the race.
Russell finished sixth after Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso split the Mercedes duo, as Norris finished seventh after a 27-lap final stint on soft tyres. Yuki Tsunoda, Lance Stroll, and Esteban Ocon rounded out the top ten.
All 18 drivers who participated completed the 44 laps without the need of the Safety Car or Virtual Safety Car.
2023 F1 BELGIAN GRAND PRIX – RACE RESULTS
|1||Max Verstappen||NED||Oracle Red Bull Racing||44 Laps|
|2||Sergio Perez||MEX||Oracle Red Bull Racing||22.305s|
|3||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||32.259s|
|4||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team||49.671s|
|5||Fernando Alonso||ESP||Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team||56.184s|
|6||George Russell||GBR||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team||63.101s|
|7||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||73.719s|
|8||Esteban Ocon||FRA||BWT Alpine F1 Team||74.719s|
|9||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team||79.340s|
|10||Yuki Tsunoda||JPN||Scuderia AlphaTauri||80.221s|
|11||Pierre Gasly||FRA||BWT Alpine F1 Team||83.084s|
|12||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake||85.191s|
|13||Zhou Guanyu||CHN||Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake||95.441s|
|14||Alex Albon||THA||Williams Racing||96.184s|
|15||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||MoneyGram Haas F1 Team||101.754s|
|16||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Scuderia AlphaTauri||103.071s|
|17||Logan Sargeant||USA||Williams Racing||104.476s|
|18||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||MoneyGram Haas F1 Team||110.450s|
|Carlos Sainz||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari||DNF|
|Oscar Piastri||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||DNF|