Belgian GP 2023

JULY 30, 2023

Race Notes - Verstappen wins again

Max Verstappen, Belgian GP 2023
© Red Bull

By Mark Karp

Max Verstappen, after starting sixth, quickly worked his way in his Red Bull-Honda to pass his team mate Sergio Perez for the lead on lap 17.

Perez finished in second place, 22.305 seconds behind the winner. Charles Leclerc, after starting on pole, came home in third in the Ferrari, 32.259 seconds behind.

The win is Verstappen 45th career win, and including the sprint races, he has won the last ten F1 events.

Lewis Hamilton (49.671s) in the Mercedes GP finished in fourth place, followed by Fernando Alonso (56.184s) in the Aston Martin-Mercedes was fifth, George Russell (1m03.101s) in the second Mercedes was sixth, Lando Norris (1m13.719s) in the McLaren-Mercedes was seventh, Esteban Ocon (1m14.719) in the Alpine-Renault was eighth, Lance Stroll (1m19.340s) in the second Aston Martin was ninth, and Yuki Tsunoda (1m20.221s) in the AlphaTauri-Honda took the final point in tenth place.

Before the start the weather is fair, but as always in Spa there are chances of rain showers before the end of the race. With many unknowns about tyre wear, many strategies might play out.

Leclerc and Perez on row 1, Hamilton and Sainz on row 2, Piastri and Verstappen on row 3, Norris and Russell on row 4, and Alonso and Stroll rounding out the top ten.

The grid formed and the lights went out and Leclerc takes the lead followed by Perez and Hamilton.

Up the hill Perez takes the lead from Leclerc up the straight, followed by Hamilton with Verstappen behind, Sainz and Alonso.

On lap 2 Piastri pulls off on the side of the track and is out. Sainz and Piastri made contact in the first corner, and perhaps they both have damage.

On lap 4 Alonso passes Sainz for firth. Albon passes Norris for eighth.

Russell passes Norris for tenth. Russell is battling Stroll for ninth.

On lap 5, Albon passes Sainz for seventh.

Norris pits. Verstappen passes Hamilton for third.

On lap 6 Stroll passes Sainz for eighth as his continues to fall down through the field.

Ocon and Bottas pit.

On lap 6 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m52.130s.

Sainz and Zhou all pit.

At lap 8 Perez leads Leclerc by 2.9 seconds, followed by Verstappen (3.6s), Hamilton (6.4s), Alonso (14.9s), Tsunoda (19.0s), Stroll (23.7s), Russell (25.0s), Gasly (28.5s), and Hulkenberg (32.8s) in tenth.

On lap 9 Verstappen passes Leclerc for second place. Albon passes Magnussen for 11th.

Tsnoda pits for medium tyres and rejoins 11th.

Ricciardo passes Norris for 14th.

On lap 12 Alonso pits from fifth for hard tyres and rejoins ninth.

Tsunoda passes Albon for tenth.

On lap 12 Alonso passes Hulkenberg for eighth place.

Hamilton pits from fourth for medium tyres and rejoins fourth with Stroll close on his tail.

On lap 14 leader Perez pits for medium tyres. Leclerc pits for medium tyres as well, they rejoin second and third.

There are talks of rain coming in about 10 minutes.

On lap 15 Verstappen pits from the lead for medium tyres and rejoins second,

Hamilton sets fast lap at 1m51.523s.

Alonso passes Gasly for seventh.

On lap 16 into the bus stop chicane Alonso passes Russell, and then his team mate Stroll for fifth.

Verstappen is closing on Perez in the lead.

Verstappen passes Perez up the hill for the lead, and sets fast lap at 1m50.696s.

Russell passes Stroll for sixth place.

There are dark clouds in the sky.

The next lap Verstappen goes quicker at 1m50.108s.

On lap 18 there are some umbrellas coming out in turn 15.

On lap 19 Gasly passes Stroll for seventh.

Tsunoda passes Stroll into the first corner for eighth place.

More rain is continuing to fall, drivers tip-toeing around the circuit.

On lap 21 Stroll pits for soft tyres and rejoins 18th.

Verstappen has a big moment in Eau Rouge, but continues.

On lap 22 Bottas passes Ricciardo for 12th. Norris passes Sargeant for 16th.

Russell pits for soft tyres and rejoins16th.

Gasly pits.

On lap 24 Sainz pits the Ferrari to retire.

Tsunoda Bottas and Hulkenberg all pit.

Ocon and Magnussen pit.

At lap 26 Verstappen leads Perez by 6.8 seconds, followed by Leclerc (14.3s), Hamilton (16.9s), Alonso (31.4s), Russell (56.2s), Norris (57.1s), Stroll (1,02.3s), Tsunoda (1m04.5s), and Albon (1m06.3s) in tenth place.

The sun is coming out once again.

Hulkenberg passes Ricciardo for 15th, and sets fast lap at 1m49.907s.

On lap 28 Hamilton pits for his second stop for soft tyres and rejoins fifth.

On lap 29 Leclerc pits from third for soft tyres, and rejoins third, just ahead of Hamilton.

On the next lap Perez pits from second place for soft tyres and rejoins still second. Alonso pits from fifth place for soft tyres and rejoins still fifth.

On lap 31 Verstappen pits from the lead for soft tyres and he rejoins still in the lead.

Ocon passes Albon for tenth.

On lap 32 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m48.922s.

On lap 33 Gasly passes Albon for 11th.

Albon pits for soft tyres and rejoins 18th.

At lap 35 Verstappen leads Perez by 13.0 seconds, followed by Leclerc (16.6s), Hamilton (19.1s), Alonso (44.2s), Russell (46.3s), Norris (51.9s), Stroll (56.1s), Tsunoda (59.1s), and Ocon (1m00.5s) in tenth place.

Verstappen asks his engineer if they should push on and the do another pitstop before the end.

Ocon is chasing Tsunoda for ninth.

On lap 39 Ocon passes Tsunoda on outside for ninth.

On lap 40 Zhou passes Ricciardo for 15th.

Verstappen leads Perez by 18 seconds, lapping a second a lap quicker.

Zhou passes Hulkenberg for 14th. Albon passses Ricciardo for 16th.

On lap 41 Albon passes Hulkenberg for 15th.

Ocon passes Stroll for eighth.

On lap 43 Zhou passes Magnussen for 13th.

Hamilton pits for new medium tyres and rejoins still in fourth.

Albon passes Magnussn for 14th.

At the finish Verstappen wins over Perez and Leclerc.

Verstappen has won every event since late April.

Hamilton on the last lap sets fastest lap at 1m47.305s.