Belgian GP 2022

AUGUST 28, 2022

Race Notes - Verstappen cruises through the field to take Belgium win

Max Verstappen, Belgian GP 2022
© Red Bull

By Mark Karp

Max Verstappen, after starting in 14th place in his Red Bull flew up through the field, taking the lead by lap 12 to win the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps.

Sergio Perez, scoring a Red Bull 1-2, finished in second place, 17.841s behind the winner, Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari finished third, 26.886s behind the winner.

The win is Verstappen’s ninth win of the season and 29th career victory, and extends his lead in the Drivers’ Championship. His teammate Perez moves up to second in the Championship over Leclerc.

George Russell (29.140s) in the Mercedes Grand Prix finished in fourth, followed by Fernando Alonso (1m13.256s) in the Alpine-Renault was fifth, Charles Leclerc (1m14.936s) with a five-second penalty for speeding in the pits in his Ferrari finished sixth, Esteban Ocon (1m15.640s) in the second Alpine finished seventh, Sebastian Vettel (1n18.107s) in his final Spa race in the Aston Martin-Mercedes was eighth, Pierre Gasly (1m32.181s) in the AlphaTauri-Red Bull was ninth and Alex Albon (1m41.900s) in the Williams-Mercedes took the final points position in tenth,

Before the start, a warm day without

The fastest strategy for the race looking to be a two-stop race (medium-soft-medium), or a one stop (medium-hard). With the warm weather there are fears of higher tyre degradation, so perhaps more use of the hard tyre rather than softs.

Sainz lines up on the grid first with Perez alongside, Alonso and Hamilton on the second row, Russell and Albon on row three, Ricciardo and Gasly on row four and Stroll and Vettel rounding out the top ten. After taking on new parts, two of the fastest cars in the field, Verstappen will start from 14th, and Leclerc starts 15th.

Gasly car was being worked on and he will start from the pitlane.

Sainz will start on soft tyres, second through 12th starting on mediums, Verstappen and Leclerc also on softs.

At the appointed time the drivers came around for the formation lap, the lights went out and the race started with Sainz a quick start, Perez slow off, Hamilton and Alonso touch and Perez goes up to second.

At the end of the first lap Sainz leads Perez, Russell, Alonso, Vettel, Ricciardo, Albon, Verstappen and Leclerc. Hamilton pulls off the track with damage. On lap two Latifi spins and Bottas spins out while avoiding. The safety car is out.

Leclerc complains of a problem with smoke from the right front, he pits for medium tyres and rejoins in 17th. The team reports to him that there was a visor tearoff found in the brake duct. Latifi pits as well.

At the end of lap 4 the safety car pulls in and the race resumes with Sainz in the lead and Perez and Russell battling.

On lap 5 Verstappen passes Albon, and then Ricciardo and is up to sixth.

On lap 6 Albon passes Ricciardo for seventh place.

Sainz set fast lap at 1m52.198s.

Verstappen passes Vettel for fifth place, and then passes Alonso for fourth.

Ferrari reports to Sainz that they will go with “plan B”.

On lap 6 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m51.954s.

On lap 8 Verstappen cruises by Russell to take third place.

Leclerc passes Gasly for 15th and then Tsunoda for 14th.

On lap 9 Norris passes Magnussen for 11th.

Leclerc passes Magnussen for 12th.

On lap 11 Sainz pits from the lead for mediums tyres and rejoins 7th.

Up the hill Verstappen passes his team mate Perez and takes the lead.

Sainz passes Ricciardo for sixth place.

Ricciardo pits for medium tyres. Ocon pits as well.

On lap 13 Russell pits from third for medium tyres.

Sainz passes Vettel for third place. Leclerc passes Stroll for fifth.

On lap 14 Perez pits from second place for another set of medium tyres. Vettel pits form hard tyres.

On lap 15 Sainz looks to pass Perez at the top of the hill.

Verstappen pits from the lead for medium tyre.

Sainz retakes the lead over Verstappen, Perez, Russell and Leclerc.

On lap 16 Perez sets fast lap at 1m51.556s.

Vettel passes Albon for eighth.

On lap 17 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m50.767s.

On lap 18 Verstappen passes Sainz for the lead at the top of the hill.

At lap 18 Verstappen leads Sainz by 2.0 seconds, followed by Perez (4.1s), Russell (11.5s), Leclerc (16.9s), Alonso (24.8s), Vettel (29.0s), Albon (32.8s), Ocon (33.5s) and Ricciardo (35.0s) in tenth place.

On lap 20 Albon locks up and Ocon passes him for eighth.

On lap 21 Perez passes Sainz in DRS and takes second place.

On lap 23 Gasly pits for medium tyres.

Stroll is chasing Ricciardo in tenth.

On lap 25 Sainz pits from third for hard tyres and rejoins in fourth. His team mate Leclerc pits as well for medium tyres and rejoins in seventh.

Alonso pits as well for hard tyres and rejoins in 13th.

On lap 27 Albon and Stroll both pit.

On lap 28 Perez pits for hard tyres and rejoins in third.

Stroll passes Latifi for 16th.

At lap 28 Verstappen leads Russell by 23.3 seconds, followed by Perez (29.0), Sainz (33.5s), Vettel (49.4s), Ocon (53.4s), Leclerc (54.0s), Alonso (1n04.5s), Ricciardo (1m06.3s), and Norris (1m08.5s) in tenth place.

Leclerc passes Ocon for sixth.

Russel pits from third for hard tyres and rejoins in fourth behind Sainz.

Norris pits from 10th for hard tyres.

On lap 31 leader Verstappen pits for medium tyres and stays in the lead.

Leclerc in DRS passes Vettel for fifth.

Norris passes Zhou for 13th.

On lap 32 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m49.354s.

Ricciardo and Ocon pit.

Russell is slowly gaining on Sainz in third.

On lap 34 Vettel pits from sixth for hard tyres and he rejoins in eighth.

On lap 36 Ocon passes Gasly and Vettel for seventh place at the top of the hill.

Albon in tenth is leading a line of drivers, Stroll, Norris, Zhou and Tsunoda behind him.

At lap 40 Verstappen leads Perez by 17.1 seconds, followed by Sainz (26.8s), Russell (28.3s), Leclerc (50.1s), Alonso (1m09.3s), Ocon (1m13.5s), Vettel (1m16.4s), Gasly (1m26.2s) and Albon (1m34.5s) in tenth place.

On lap 43 Leclerc pits for soft tyres, looking to take fast lap, and rejoins in sixth, losing a position to Alonso.

On the final lap Leclerc repossess Alonso for fifth.

At the finish Verstappen wins easily over Perez and Sainz.

After the finish Leclerc is handed a five-second penalty for speeding in the pits on his final stop and he loses fifth place to Alonso.