6 Winners and 5 Losers from the Belgian Grand Prix – Who shone in the Spa sunshine?
Max Verstappen picked up where he left off before the summer break as he pulverised his rivals with an outstanding fightback drive at Spa-Francorchamps. But it wasn’t so enjoyable for everyone. We’ve picked our six winners and five losers from the Belgian Grand Prix…
Winner: Max Verstappen
We’re running out for superlatives for Max Verstappen, so impressive has the Dutch reigning world champion been this year. His drive at Spa from 14th to victory was the best fightback of his career.
The win was his ninth in 14 Grands Prix this season, just one short of his tally of 10 in 2021 with eight races still to go. His lead in the drivers’ championship is 93 over Sergio Perez and 98 over Charles Leclerc. A second title, based on this form, is looking like a formality.
Loser: Lewis Hamilton
It’s not often that Lewis Hamilton makes mistakes, but Sunday was one of those days. After a strong start, he launched an attack on Fernando Alonso up the Kemmel Straight but didn’t leave his old foe enough space and they touched, pitching Hamilton into the air.
His Mercedes landed heavily and while he briefly continued, the team told him to stop the car and retire from the race. That’s the fifth first-lap retirement of his career – three of which have happened at Spa.
Winners: Red Bull
Red Bull had only won one race from outside of the top-six prior to Hungary. Now they’ve won two in a row. With Perez following him home, they secured their fourth one-two of the season.
That healthy points haul puts them 118 points clear of Ferrari in the constructors’ championship, as they chase a first constructors’ championship since 2013. Ending that barren run looks inevitable.
Loser: Valtteri Bottas
This was not the 33rd birthday Valtteri Bottas would have been hoping for. The Finn lined up 13th, which was lucky considering how many engine penalties he had taken for fresh components.
But we didn’t get to see what the Alfa Romeo ace was really capable of, as he was collected by an out-of-control Nicholas Latifi, which pitched him into the gravel where he got beached.
Fernando Alonso’s fifth tied Alpine’s best result of the season, achieved twice by the Spaniard and once by his team mate Esteban Ocon. It was his ninth consecutive points finish, despite that first lap collision with Hamilton.
Ocon recovered from 16th on the grid to finish an impressive seventh, making it four double points finishes for Alpine, who are now 20 points clear of McLaren in the constructors’ championship.
Loser: Charles Leclerc
This wasn’t Charles Leclerc’s day. Having started from 15th because of a string of engine penalties, he clawed his way up to ninth, only to be forced into an early pit stop because a visor tear-off became lodged in the brake duct.
That tear-off caused a sensor failure, said Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto, leading to Leclerc exceeding the pit lane speed limit to trigger a five-second penalty. That dropped him to sixth after the flag. He has just one podium in the last nine Grands Prix.
Winner: Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel may have started inside the top 10 courtesy of grid penalties for others, but the German made the most of the position to utilise Aston Martin’s race pace and finish comfortably in the points.
He ran inside the top five at one stage, and while he dropped back to P8, it was still Aston Martin’s best result since Baku. They are now just five points behind AlphaTauri in the fight for P8 in the championship.
Kevin Magnussen admitted his Haas team figured it “wasn’t going to be such a strong weekend” because of the track characteristics – and so it proved.
Neither he nor team mate Mick Schumacher had the pace to fight for the points at Spa, meaning the American team have now gone three Grands Prix without finishing inside the top 10.
Winner: Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly was fuming, and understandably so, when he was pushed off the grid and into the AlphaTauri garage just moments before the formation lap. And up until 90 seconds before the start, he thought his chances of competing were over.
But the team got him out in what was his 100th Grand Prix, and he showed strong pace, particularly in the closing stages of the race, to finish ninth – the team’s first points since Baku in June.
McLaren boss Andreas Seidl said that warmer conditions on Sunday contributed to worse than expected pace and meant that their chances of scoring points were dealt a bigger blow.
Daniel Ricciardo actually ran inside the top 10 for much of the race, but dropped back in the final stint, and both the Australian and team mate Lando Norris couldn’t push up. That’s their first point-less race since Canada.
Winner: Alex Albon
Alex Albon gave Williams their second Q3 appearance of the season with a stunning performance to end up ninth – which became sixth on the grid thanks to penalties for others.
The car’s strong straight-line speed provided some help in trying to defend the position, but he gradually fell back. That said, he still had the pace and racecraft to secure a point – Williams’ third of the season and first since way back in Miami.