Red Bull driver Max Verstappen produced a dominant display at the Belgian Grand Prix to win from 14th position on the grid. He has moved even closer to a second consecutive Formula 1 drivers’ title.
After setting the fastest time in qualifying, the Dutchman had to move back because of grid penalties, but he quickly climbed up the positions.
By the end of a hectic lap one – in which Lewis Hamilton clipped Fernando Alonso, took a trip through the air and retired his car – Verstappen was already up to eighth.
A safety car came out after Hamilton and also Valtteri Bottas retired, at which point Carlos Sainz still led from his inherited pole position, but Verstappen was too good on the day and won ahead of teammate Sergio Perez, with Sainz holding on to the podium.
“It was a weekend I couldn’t have imagined before, but I think we want more of them and we’ll keep working hard,” Verstappen said afterwards.
“It was quite a hectic first lap to try and stay out of trouble. So many things were happening in front of me.
“We looked after out tyres and that’s how we made our way forward and, once we were in the lead, it was all about managing everything but this whole weekend has been incredible.”
Sainz’s problem was that the Ferrari didn’t manage the tyre degradation as well as Red Bull.
“Unfortunately the race was harder than expected,” the Spaniard said.
“We got a good start and a good restart but the pace wasn’t there.
“For some reason our package wasn’t quite there this weekend. But we got a podium and we’ll take it.”
His teammate Charles Leclerc had an even worse time, after starting 15th. The championship contender even threw away fifth place at the end by pitting to try to set the fastest lap, which he failed to do but not without picking up a penalty for speeding in the pit lane, one which saw him demoted to sixth behind Fernando Alonso.