George Russell told reporters on Saturday that “wherever Max starts, he’s going to win”. We went into the weekend knowing that at least 6 drivers were taking grid penalties, Verstappen amongst them. While Spa is relatively easy to overtake on, it can be an uphill battle to come from the back of the grid to win a race.
Unless you’re Max Verstappen. The 2022 Belgium Grand Prix saw the reigning world champion at his most comfortable. He won the conventional pole position from the garage after doing one push lap. It took him only a dozen laps to go from 14th to leading the race.
Meanwhile, Ferrari struggled to rally back at the start of the triple header. Verstappen left his first of two home Grand Prix races with an almost 100-point lead. Can Ferrari do anything to stop him? We’re recapping everything you need to know about the 2022 Belgium Grand Prix.
Verstappen Claims Spa as His Own
Spa is one of the most legendary F1 tracks. It’s also one of Verstappen’s two home races as the Dutch driver was born in Belgium. He was the bookies’ favourite to win all weekend, even with the grid penalty.
While the grandstands were packed with the orange army wearing Max Verstappen caps, the reigning World Champion delivered a masterclass. He was lapping the rest of the field by 1.7 seconds during the race before finishing almost 20 seconds clear of his teammate, Sergio Perez.
Verstappen now has a 93-point lead over his teammate and a 98-point lead over Charles Leclerc. Red Bull has a similar lead in the Constructor’s Championship with a 118-point gap to Ferrari.
Red Bull Leaves Ferrari in The Dust
Carlos Sainz took pole position on the grid after Verstappen’s engine penalty. It gave the Spanish driver and Ferrari the optimum chance to close the gap to Red Bull. While Perez struggled off the grid, Ferrari’s good fortune quickly came to an end.
Leclerc was behind Verstappen on the grid with his own engine penalty. Ferrari’s lead driver was forced to pit on the first lap after getting a visor strip caught in his car.
While Ferrari caps are one of the hot tickets of the year, the team was left in the dust by Red Bull. Sainz managed to hold onto third place against George Russell. An unsuccessful final pit stop to get the fastest lap point saw Leclerc get a time penalty after the race, dropping from 5th to 6th.
A Mixed Weekend for Mercedes
Spa had promised to be Mercedes come back after the summer break. Instead, it delivered a mixed weekend. The Mercedes cars were 1.8 seconds off the pace for most of the weekend, but they benefited from the engine penalties.
Elsewhere On the Grid
The numerous penalties presented a mixed-up grid. It was the perfect opportunity for mid-field teams to gain vital points. Both Alpine drivers scored points with Alonso and Ocon in 5th and 6th respectively. Vettel finished his final Belgium grand Prix in 8th ahead of Gasly and Albon.
All eyes are on the Dutch Grand Prix as we return to Verstappen’s home race. Will the Red Bull driver secure a third back-to-back win and extend his lead? Can Ferrari do anything to slow Verstappen down? Get ready for the final 8 races of the season by exploring our latest F1 merchandise arrivals here.