Max brings his A-game to Belgium: Your Recap of the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix

9 mins read

Once again, it is F1 time for fans worldwide!

With 380,000 total fans attending this weekend’s event in Stavelot, the drivers made sure not to disappoint. 

The race at the Belgian Spa-Francorchamps track was intense, with lots of overtaking, many defensive tactics, and harsh rain at just 44 laps.

It is here where Red Bull takes home another 1,2 podium finish with none other than Max Verstappen winning the Belgian Grand Prix. Fellow teammate Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc of Ferrari took home P2 and P3, respectively.

The Spa-Francorchamps Track in Stavelot, Belgium

After Saturday’s qualifiers pre-race, the starting grid was set as follows:

  1. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
  2. Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
  3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  4. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)
  5. Oscar Piastri (McLaren)
  6. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
  7. Lando Norris (McLaren)

This is the last race before the summer break for the drivers, so they had to make it count!

The Race

As the starting whistle blew, Leclerc had an incredible reaction time as he speeds off into the lead.

Already in Turn One, there was minor contact with Piastri damaging his front wing slightly as he tried going on the inside of Sainz, who in reflex locked up and turned into the other car. 

At this point there is already a battle for the lead as Perez pulls out of the slipstream, overtaking Leclerc swiftly, leaving Leclerc with nothing to do other than letting him pass ahead.

At this rate, Verstappen does the same, moving ahead of Sainz up to P4. Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin follows behind with his DRS, moving onto the inside and taking P4 behind Verstappen.

In lap five, there is a big move from Belgian driver Lance Stroll of Aston Martin onto Norris as he overtakes. This move is repeated by Russell as well who overtakes Norris, causing him to drop from P9 to P11 in mere seconds as Russell reaches the apex first.

This lap remains heated as Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) goes up against George Russell (Mercedes) and Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) vs Carlos Sainz (Ferrari).

In lap six, Verstappen starts showing off his respected skills. He takes on the inside of Hamilton who could not close the door in defence, allowing the Dutchman to rapidly move forward securing his way towards a podium finish at P3.

Verstappen does so again in lap nine as he uses his DRS following Leclerc, moving to the outside line on the turn, and speeds past the Ferrari driver who did not have a chance to defend. The lead is now at a Red Bull 1,2 with Perez leading from the first lap.

Image credits: F1

The following lap, Alex Albon of Williams passes Tsunoda to gain points in the top 10 positions. At this rate, Ocon makes his way by, with Ricciardo also getting past his former teammate, Norris, at Turn Five.

In lap 11, Hass’ Nico Hulkeneberg has a run at Alonso, who hasn’t yet pitted, pulling through to P8.

Afterwards, Tsunoda takes the outside line and goes for P10 past Albon, which might just be his best move so far this season. He retakes the position he lost in the pit stops.

In lap 17, Verstappen snatches first position out of Perez’s hands, using his DRS and overtaking the driver. An incredible move from Max who from P6 moved to P1 with ease, weaving his way through the competing drivers.

Image credits: F1

In the meantime, further back, Russell clears Stroll who tried defending on the inside but was unsuccessful. The Mercedes therefore sped past the Aston Martin.

With a sudden splash, the Belgian track was covered in rain on lap 19. It is at this point that Pierre Gasly of Alpine overtakes Stroll in their battle of P7.

I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a race weekend like this in my whole career: one, in terms of the weather, and on the personal side it was just a really challenging weekend.

George Russell, Mercedes

Even Verstappen finds himself struggling to cope with the heavy weather conditions.

In lap 22, Norris attempts a go at P16. He then takes on the outside line of Sargeant who tries to close the gap but is unsuccessful.

Most drivers are now on the same page, pitting for new tyres and attempting to overcome the rain safely.

In lap 33, Gasly tries to pass Albon, giving him room and allowing Gasly to take the place.

Five laps later, Ocon has an amazing run overtaking Tsunoda, taking the outside on the turn. Fans consider this the best overtake of the year so far, but we’ll have to see!

Ocon then takes over Stroll’s position, getting on great on the outside of the track.

Race Results

Finally, on lap 44 out of 44, Verstappen takes home the P1 trophy again by passing first through the chequered flag. This means another 1,2 finish for Red Bull Racing as Perez takes home his 33rd podium finish of his F1 career. 

Verstappen also takes home the title of Salesforce ‘Driver of the Day’ with 15.5% of the votes.

Yeah its good… the double podium. I was ashamed what happened yesterday with lewis, I think today we managed to recover some good points and I look forward massively for the second half of the season, I am looking forward for a bit of a break.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull

Leclerc is the final podium finish holder in P3.

Image credits: F1

Not only does Hamilton take P4, but he also steals the bonus point for fastest lap at 1:47.305 seconds.


Image credits: F1

Max Verstappen keeps his extensive lead above the drivers with an astounding 314 points, the closest competitors being Sergio Perez with 189 and Fernando Alonso with 149 points. Lewis Hamilton is right behind with 148, and Charles Leclerc is the last of the top-five with just 99 points.

What’s Next?

The drivers are now off for their four-week-long summer break. Although most are happy to take this as a moment for relaxation and recovery, returning-driver Daniel Ricciardo of AlphaTauri would have hoped to continue:

I think everyone is excited for a break, other than me. I’d love to keep going, but it’s insane that I’m actually quite grateful to have two races before the break, so it gives me something to work off and certainly think about…

Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri

With Red Bull’s 13th consecutive win this season, it is evident that the RB19 is one of the greatest cars the F1 has ever encountered, hardly disappointing both drivers.

With Verstappen behind the wheel, the deadly duo of car and driver is going to sweep the competition for the rest of the season.

The full results of the Belgian Grand Prix are on the official Formula 1 Website.

The next race is the Dutch Grand Prix at the Circuit Zandvoort on August 25 to 27.

Will Verstappen encounter his ninth victory in a row in his home country? We will tune in after the break to find out!

Feature Image credits: F1

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Aspiring Journalist
Fourth-year Journalism Student and Sports Editor of BRIG Newspaper at Stirling University

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