Formula 1

Formula 1: Dominant display from Verstappen at Spa

Featured Image Credit: @F1 Official Twitter

Despite starting 14th, nothing could stop Max Verstappen’s drive to victory at Spa. The Dutch driver was in a class of his own ahead of Sergio Perez and  Carlos Sainz.

Dramatic start

It was a strong start for Sainz, while Perez unsuccessfully attempted to defend from Alonso. By the Kemmel straight, Alonso and Hamilton were running 2nd and 3rd. But, Hamilton moved over too early on the Spaniard and there was contact. Hamilton’s Mercedes jumped into the air and suffered terminal damage, Alonso was able to continue.

Verstappen and Leclerc were 9th and 11th after the end of the first lap, but a collision between Latifi and Bottas brought out the safety car. Latifi put a wheel into the gravel and just tapped the rear left of Bottas’ Alfa Romeo.

During the safety car, Leclerc had to pit as a visor tear off was stuck in his front right brake.

Sainz locked up on the restart, which caused Perez to come under pressure from Russell. But, the Mercedes lack of pace in a straight line gave Alonso the opportunity to overtake, but Russell kept the place.

Meanwhile, Verstappen was now 6th after two racing laps. Leclerc was stuck in 17th behind a DRS train.

Pit Stops

By Lap 10, Verstappen was 3rd and closing on team-mate Perez. It took 2 laps of trying to get past, while Sainz pitted. But, Sainz came out in traffic, stuck behind 5th placed Ricciardo. He was able to overtake a few corners later, but Verstappen was storming out front. As cars started to pit, Leclerc gained a few positions to take 4th.

Perez was the first Red Bull to pit, on lap 15. As he came out of the pits, Leclerc immediately closed up. The Ferrari was unable to overtake. This gave Russell an opportunity and a lap later, he took 4th place.

Verstappen pitted on lap 16 but came out 4.5s behind Sainz. However, he was closing fast and the gap was under a second 2 laps later. Using DRS on the Kemmel straight, Verstappen breezed past and was 1st, less than halfway into the race.

By lap 21, Perez was past Sainz as well, making it a Red Bull 1-2.

Leclerc took another stop on lap 26, bolting on another set of medium tyres. He came out 7th and was able to charge. Perez stopped next, losing out to Russell for 2nd.

Verstappen stopped on lap 31, coming out 8s clear of Perez, who had retaken 2nd after Russell’s stop.

Verstappen takes charge

There was a midfield battle between Ocon, Vettel and Gasly. Ocon won out with a double overtake on the Kemmel straight for 7th, while Vettel had to overtake Gasly twice in the same lap.

Russell was a strong 4th, but as the race started to finish, he was starting to close on Sainz for 3rd.

Albon was just holding onto 10th, but he had 5 cars queueing up behind, all within 1s of each other. Albon was able to just hold on to take his 3rd points finish of the year.

There was some late drama as Leclerc pitted for a fastest lap opportunity. However, Ferrari misjudged the time and Alonso found his way past with 2 laps to go. Leclerc had to follow closely for a lap, but was able to retake the position. But, the overtake meant he couldn’t take the fastest lap. After the race, Leclerc was given a 5s penalty for speeding in the pit lane. A dire day for the Monegasque.

Verstappen remained unchallenged at the front, taking his 9th win of the season. Perez came home in 2nd for Red Bull’s 20th 1-2 finish, while Sainz was able to keep Russell at bay to round out the podium.

Full Race Results:

  1. Verstappen
  2. Perez + 17.841
  3. Sainz + 26.886
  4. Russell + 29.140
  5. Alonso +73.256
  6. Leclerc +74.936
  7. Ocon + 75.640
  8. Vettel + 78.107
  9. Gasly +92.181
  10. Albon +101.900
  11. Stroll + 103.078
  12. Norris + 104.739
  13. Tsunoda + 105.217
  14. Zhou + 106.252
  15. Ricciardo + 107.163
  16. Magnussen + 1 Lap
  17. Schumacher + 1 Lap
  18. Latifi + 1 Lap
  19. Bottas RET
  20. Hamilton RET

 

Featured Image Credit: @F1 Official Twitter

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