It’s Another Win for Verstappen & Red Bull with Ferrari’s Leclerc Finally Back on the Podium

The 2023 Belgian Grand Prix saw another Red Bull 1-2; the only fitting finish to end the first half of this season. Lucky for Leclerc, he found his way to the podium too.

Lights Out

Verstappen started the race from P6, thanks to a gearbox change penalty, but quickly made up positions and was leading the race in no time, ahead of Perez and Leclerc. He was so comfortable and content with his pace, that he almost pitted so the team could practice their pit-stops! 

Further back in the mid-field Sainz and Piastri collided, Albon and Tsunoda overtook a bunch of cars, and the McLaren of Lando Norris struggled in dry conditions. It looked like his McLaren would come alive again when there was a little bit of rain, but the fickle weather didn’t help the British driver. Worse off was Carlos Sainz and Ferrari who pinned their hopes on a Red Flag which never came out, so into the garage he retired. Piastri was another DNF - a disappointing end to an otherwise spectacular weekend. 

Track Tactics 

None of the teams knew what to expect with the tires in dry conditions, and it showed! With tire strategy all over the place - some pitting as early as Lap 8! - the action in the pits was worth every penny. When the rain came and the intensity increased, so began our very own slip and slide. Cars struggled to maintain traction, but the rain wasn’t intense enough to warrant a complete change. 

By Lap 30, a second round of pit stops was underway. When Max rejoined after his second stop, he was leading Perez by 10 seconds, who was ahead of Leclerc, Hamilton, Alonso, Russell, Norris and Stroll — in that order. The Williams’ were almost in the points, before they stopped for a third round of stops and ended 17th and 18th. Daniel Ricciardo lingered in the back, with little to no overtaking done. A sad day for the Honey Badger. For Fernando Alonso, recovering from his rare mistake in the sprint seemed the main goal, and he clinically drove his ailing Aston Martin to fifth place from ninth on the grid. Esteban Ocon pulled off a beautiful overtake around Tsunoda into Les Combes, an underrated move we recommend you watch on loop for a bit!

Chequered Flag

The race ended with a Red Bull 1-2, and a Ferrari back on the podium (FINALLY!) — a sweet sign-off for the Scarlet team fans. Not all was well, though, as both Sainz and Piastri retired after their incident. 

The final results?

After the top 3, we had Hamilton, Alonso, Russell, Norris, Ocon, Stroll and Tsuonda who rounded off the Top 10. 

As for the Championship standings, Verstappen leads the Drivers’ Championship by 125 points, and Red Bull Racing leads the Constructors’ by a whopping 256.

Will things change for the teams once we’re back from the summer break; or will they remain as they are? We’ll find out!