F1 summer break is over, and Max Verstappen still remains unbeatable as the 2022 season resumed at Spa. The Red Bull Racing driver took a dominant Belgian GP victory, despite starting from 14th on the grid due to power unit penalties.
Sergio Perez finished second, handing Red Bull a 1-2 finish. Carlos Sainz completed the podium for Ferrari, but the Italian team was probably left surprised by Mercedes’ sudden show of pace in the race.
- Verstappen wins 17.841 seconds from Perez
- Leads championship by 93 points
- Leclerc handed penalty for speeding in pit lane
Verstappen dominates in Spa
It was quite a mixed starting grid for the Belgian GP, with a number of frontrunners – including Verstappen and Charles Leclerc – being handed grid penalties for taking new power unit and gearbox components. As a result, Sainz started from pole, ahead of Perez, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.
The opening laps saw plenty of drama as Hamilton and Alonso made contact on Lap 1, leading to Hamilton’s retirement. Valtteri Bottas joined him a lap later after contact with Nicholas Latifi. All of this allowed Sergio Perez to climb back up to second place, but the resulting Safety Car also bunched up the field, only further helping Verstappen. Leclerc had to pit under the Safety Car after a visor tear-off ended up stuck in his brake duct.
It took Verstappen only 18 laps to go from P14 to P1, as he zoomed past Sainz down the straight. The Dutchman delivered a masterclass to become the first driver to win the Belgian GP from P14 or lower since Michael Schumacher in 1995. His teammate Perez finished a hefty 17.841 seconds behind in second place.
"It was quite a hectic first lap to try and stay out of trouble. So many things were happening in front of me. But once we settled in after the Safety Car, the car was really on rails. We picked the right places to pass people and we could look after our tyres and that is how we made our way forward. After that, once we were in the lead, it was all about managing everything, but this whole weekend has been incredible. It’s been a weekend I couldn’t imagine before, but I think we want more of them, so [we] keep working hard!” rejoiced Verstappen.
Mercedes’ improved form; penalty for Leclerc
Toto Wolff had labelled Mercedes’ qualifying performance as the team’s “worst in 10 years". That probably made Russell’s performance all the more surprising. Not only did he manage to pass Leclerc on track, but he kept Sainz within reach for a significant chunk of the race, putting Ferrari’s podium place under serious threat. He ended up finishing fourth, just over two seconds behind Sainz.
Ferrari called Leclerc in for a late pit stop in a bid to set the fastest lap on soft tyres and collect an extra point. But things didn’t exactly go to plan as he was passed by Alonso. Leclerc managed to re-take the position, but was handed a 5-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane, dropping him to sixth place behind Alonso.
Ocon finished seventh, followed by Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Williams’ Alexander Albon.
2022 F1 championship standings
Having won nine out of 14 races so far this season, Verstappen now holds a 93 points lead over Perez in the championship. Leclerc drops a place in the standings and is now 98 points off the lead.
Next up is the Dutch GP on September 4.
2022 Belgian GP results
|2022 Belgian GP results|
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing|
|2||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing|
|8||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin|
|11||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin|
|14||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo|
|19||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo|