Continuing his stellar form in the 2022 Formula 1 season, defending champion Max Verstappen strengthened his claim on the championship as he dominated the Belgian Grand Prix and cruised to a 18-second win after starting from P14 on the grid.
Toppling his own efforts from the Hungarian GP where he rushed from P10 to take the win, the Belgian-Dutch driver put up a show on his homecoming to secure a Red Bull one-two as his teammate Sergio Perez made his return to the podium after having last claimed a podium finish at Silverstone.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz defended his pole position on the opening lap of the Spa-Francorchamps race as old foes, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, collided at Les Combes. After getting ahead, the Mercedes driver closed the door on Alonso at turn 1, leaving the two-time world champion with nowhere to go, which led to a collision that left the Mercedes W13’s back axle airborne – and Hamilton out of the race.
Lap 2 saw another contact between Valtteri Bottas and Nicholas Latifi at the end of chicane at turn 7, forcing the Alfa Romeo recruit to retire.
Verstappen showed incredible pace as he surged past everyone ahead of him on the grid to take the lead in just 12 laps. Perez, who initially lost his position to Alonso and Hamilton, fared well for the rest of the race to bring home the second.
Sainz had a decent start as he slapped a 2.1 seconds lead on Perez but eventually dropped to third as he boxed twice within the 25-lap mark, meanwhile allowing George Russell on third. The Spaniard claimed the podium in third, leaving the Brit in fourth, trailing by 2.2 seconds.
Alonso secured the fifth position, ahead of Charles Leclerc, who climbed from P15 to finish sixth. The Ferrari driver boxed on the last lap to switch to soft compound in his bid to go for the fastest lap, nearly losing his position to Alonso in the process. However, he was knocked back to sixth owing to a 5 second penalty he received for speeding in pit lane.
Esteban Ocon finished seventh, exhibiting a staggering performance, owing to a double overtake on Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly, leaving the drivers in eighth and ninth spot on the finish. Williams’ Alex Albon crossed the line at tenth, claiming the last point on the table.
The Brit driver, for the most part of the race, defended splendidly and kept Lance Stroll, Lando Norris, Yuki Tsunoda, Zhou Guanyu and Danuel Ricciardo in the chase who claimed the spots between 11 and 15, respectively.
Haas duo, Keving Magnussen and Mick Schumacher, had another disappointing outing after having started the season on a high note as they finished sixteenth and seventeenth, respectively. Nicholas Latifi, who had an early collision with Bottas finished the race in eighteenth position.
Perez has now climbed up to the second spot in the championship while his teammate comfortably occupies the top with an impressive 93-point lead at 284 points. Leclerc sits at third with 186 points in his bag, leading his teammate Sainz and Mercedes’ Russell, with just 1 point separating the duo at 171 and 170 points bagged so far.