Sunday was a great race day to defend Formula One World Champion Max Verstappen, who has seen himself top of the podium for the 8th consecutive year this season.
The 26-year-old Redbull driver enters the mid-season break in unstoppable form after winning the Belgian Grand Prix with his 10th win of an overwhelmingly dominant season.
Despite starting from sixth place, he finished 22.3 seconds ahead of teammate Sergio Perez, giving Red Bull an easy 1-2 score. This brought Verstappen ominously close to a third consecutive world title and his own F1 record of 15 wins last year.
Verstappen is 125 points ahead of Perez after just 12 races and his next goal is to match Sebastian Vettel’s record of nine straight F1 wins with a Dutch GP victory when the uneven season resumes on 27 August.
“I just want some time now. “I want to spend some time with my family and friends,” Verstappen said.
War of the Drivers
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc finished his third podium of the season in third place and Lewis Hamilton finished fourth for Mercedes ahead of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso.
Leclerc was followed by Hamilton and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. He started on pole with Perez. McLaren rookie Oscar Piastri was next in line alongside Verstappen, who was the fastest in Friday’s qualifying but was given a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change and forced to flee early traffic.
“It was just about surviving Turn One. “I could see that everything was getting really tense,” Verstappen said. “I’ve been in this position before myself, so I’m going to stay out of it and it worked. I made the right transitions from there.”
Hamilton came to the penultimate lap for a tire change, and the move paid off, receiving bonus points from Verstappen for the fastest lap – a very small signal for the dominant Dutchman.
After the F1 break, there will be 10 races left in the season but most of the race for the queue will be behind Verstappen.
Alonso is one point ahead of third-placed Hamilton, at the level of Leclerc and Russell, and seven points behind Sainz.