Red Bull celebrated a double victory at the Belgian Grand Prix.
The Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix will be held again next year, the organizers announced about an hour before Sunday’s race. The future of the race at Spa-Francorchamps was not assured, which is one of the reasons why the organizers spent huge sums on the renovation of the track. It is already certain that Las Vegas will be included in the 2023 competition calendar, but China and Qatar will also return.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull’s Dutch driver, was the fastest on Saturday, but due to the title-defending engine and other component changes, he could only start from 14th place. However, the bookmakers still paid the smallest odds for his success. A total of eight drivers were penalized for a similar reason, while Carlos Sainz Jr. (Ferrari) and Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) could start from the front row.
The Mexican had a bad start, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were also in front. The two-time and seven-time world champions then collided, Hamilton’s race was over, but Pérez found himself in second place again in a matter of seconds. In the second round, Nicholas Latifi threw his Williams, the Canadian driver drifted back onto the track and knocked out Valtteri Bottas, who celebrated his 33rd birthday on Sunday.
While the car of Hamilton and Bottas was removed from the track, they circled behind the safety car, the race restarted on the fifth lap. Three laps later, Versteppan was already in third place behind Sainz and Pérez, the Dutchman quickly made his way through the field.
At the end of the 11th lap, Sainz came out from the front to change a tire, and Versteppen took the lead ahead of his teammate. The Dutchman stopped for new tires at the end of the 15th lap, while Charles Leclerc, who also started from the back of the field, attacked Pérez. The two cars collided, and the Monaco one started to slow down spectacularly, Russell overtook Leclerc in the next lap.
On the 18th lap, Verstappen overtook Sainz and avoided the Spaniard painfully easily. In the 21st lap, Pérez followed his teammate’s example and overtook in a similar manner. On the 26th lap, Sainz and Leclerc were called to the pits for the second time, the medium tire on the two Ferraris really didn’t want to work. Two laps later Pérez also stopped, the Mexican easily returned to Sainz.
After the fate of the first two places was decided early, Russell tried to make sure that the race did not get completely boring, the young Briton started to catch up to Sainz, but in the end the win was missed, there was still a spare in the Ferrari.
Leclerc stopped to change tires two laps before the signal to take the bonus point for fastest lap from Verstappen. The Monaco driver was not successful, moreover, he drove into the pit lane too fast, so he received a five-second penalty, and thus even lost fifth place to Alonso.
“It was quite an eventful first round, it wasn’t easy to stay out of trouble. The car was very good and I was able to take good care of the tires, so I was able to take the lead. Now I’m going to enjoy this victory, then we’ll see what we can do in Holland,” summed up Verstappen, who won an F1 race for the ninth time this year and the 29th time in his career.
“I had a very bad start, but I managed to come back. I trusted more than that, but Max almost flew on the track, he represented a different level. For the team, this is a great result and this is the most important thing,” said the second Pérez.
“Unfortunately, it was harder than I expected. The start was good, but I slid a lot, the tires didn’t work. At least we got the podium… Max’s were in a different league, we couldn’t make them fight. We need to understand why this is happening,” said the disappointed Sainz.
The World Cup continues in the Netherlands in a week.
Source: Népszava by nepszava.hu.
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