Max Verstappen wins the F1 Belgian GP by over 20s from P6 on the grid

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The Haas of Nico Hülkenberg started from the pit lane due to component changes that occurred under parc fermé conditions.

The McLarens, Russell, the Astons, Tsunoda and Hülkenberg all started on mediums, while everyone else went for softs.

Off the line, Leclerc maintained the lead into the first corner. Behind them, Piastri, Sainz and Hamilton all went side-by-side into turn 1 as the Spaniard squeezed the Australian into the inside wall. Sainz had a big lock-up and tried to avoid Hamilton in the process.

Piastri pulled off in the middle sector with big damage. Sainz also had huge aero loss as he limped around.

Down the Kemmel straight, Pérez cruised by Leclerc with superior top speed. Verstappen avoided the turn 1 mess to take P4.

With Sainz holding up the pack initially with his damage, Pérez, Leclerc, Hamilton and Verstappen pulled a big gap to the rest.

Stops started as early as lap 5 as the McLaren of Lando Norris pitted after getting passed by Tsunoda, Albon, Stroll and Russell in the early stages. That continued following the stops as Ocon and Albon for a second time breezed by with ease on the Kemmel straight at the same time.

Before pitting at the end of lap 8, Sainz had fallen outside the points with his wounded SF-23.

Towards the front, Verstappen made tidy passes on Hamilton and Leclerc to move into 2nd by lap 9.

Albon’s undercut was effective as he briefly lead the cars who had pitted. That didn’t last long, however, as Tsunoda passed him on lap 11.

Pérez led Verstappen, Leclerc, Hamilton, Stroll, Russell, Gasly, Hülkenberg, Alonso and Tsunoda a quarter of the way through the race. The top 7 hadn’t pitted at that point.

Hamilton pitted from P4 on lap 13, with Leclerc and Pérez responding a lap later. Championship leader Verstappen boxed on lap 15. The top 4 remained in the same order.

After the switch to mediums, Verstappen absolutely flew up to the back of Pérez and took the lead on lap 17 by using DRS on the Kemmel straight.

In the battle for 5th, Fernando Alonso made his way through on his fresher tyres to pass Stroll and Russell who had not boxed yet. Russell eventually passed the Canadian on lap 17 after a number of failed attempts.

The Canadian continued to fall away as Gasly and Tsunoda also passed him by lap 20.

Verstappen led Pérez, Leclerc, Hamilton, Alonso, Russell, Gasly, Tsunoda, Stroll and Ocon at that stage.

Out front, race leader Max Verstappen had a big snap in the Eau Rouge/Raidillon section but managed to a spin or crash.

The Mercedes of George Russell boxed on lap 23 and rejoined in P16. Between overtaking Sargeant, Zhou and Norris and a load of runners in front pitting, the Brit moved up to P6 three laps later.

Sainz eventually retired also on lap 23 due to the damage that he picked up at turn 1.

Following a bunch of second stops behind the top 6, the order was Verstappen, Pérez, Leclerc, Hamilton, Alonso, Russell, Norris, Stroll, Tsunoda and Albon.

In the battle for P10, Esteban Ocon used his softs to pass Albon for the last point on lap 31. A fantastic scrap took place between Albon and the other Alpine of Gasly a couple of laps later as they went side-by-side in turns 13, 14 and 15, with the French driver coming out on top.

A magnificent pass was executed by Esteban Ocon as he swept around the outside of Tsunoda at turn 5 to get the advantage of the inside into turn 6 on lap 38. He continued the charge by passing Stroll with ease 4 laps from the end.

Alex Albon threw down competition for overtake of the day as he swept around Nico Hülkenberg at Blanchimont in the closing laps.

With a big gap to Fernando Alonso, Hamilton pitted at the end of lap 42 to go and get the fastest lap point.

Verstappen won by over 20s from Pérez, with a quality drive from Charles Leclerc to finish 3rd. It’s now 8 victories in a row for the dominant Dutchman.

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Hamilton, Alonso, Russell, Norris, Ocon, Stroll and Tsunoda completed the points scorers.