Max Verstappen cruises to Belgian GP victory despite starting 14th, after contrite Lewis Hamilton was branded an “IDIO” by Fernando Alonso for a late-race first-lap crash.
- Max Verstappen took his ninth win of the season at the Belgian GP
- The championship leader started the day in 14th, but won by almost 20 seconds
- Lewis Hamilton crashed on the first lap after colliding with Fernando Alonso
- The Englishman admitted the crash was his fault as Alonso called him an “idiot”.
Max Verstappen won the Belgian Grand Prix from 14th on the grid, not just his ninth win of the season, but a one-sided annihilation.
The Dutchman was cheered on by a hugely supportive crowd at Spa-Francorchamps in a weekend of total dominance that not even a grid-dooming engine penalty could spoil.
The reigning world champion needed just 12 of the 44 laps, three of which were behind a safety car, to take the lead. He ended up winning by 18 seconds to extend his championship lead to 93 points.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen takes his ninth win of the season at the Belgian GP
The Dutchman extended his championship lead after starting the day in 14th place on the grid
Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, crashed on the first lap when he tangled with Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, who branded his former McLaren team-mate an “idiot”.
It happened as Hamilton attacked Alonso down the Kemmel straight in a bid to grab second place behind Ferrari’s pole man Carlos Sainz, who finished third on the afternoon.
Hamilton, on the outside of the right-hander Les Combes, squeezed maybe half a car ahead of the Spaniard when he crashed. The front of Hamilton’s Mercedes was thrown into the air before landing on its belly.
Verstappen was supreme as he raced to the front with 16 laps to go to claim another win of the season
He collected his car as he hit the tarmac and continued to limp for half a lap with a small plume of smoke coming out, perhaps from the radiator given that it had a water leak.
Alonso let it break, saying: ‘What an idiot!
‘Shutting the door from the outside. We had a great start, but this guy just knows how to drive and start first.
Hamilton looked down at his parked car dejectedly before making the long drive back to the pits. He later admitted responsibility, saying: “Looking back at the footage, I was in my blind spot and I didn’t give him enough space.
Lewis Hamilton was forced to retire on the first lap after colliding with Fernando Alonso
The seven-time world champion later admitted that the first lap crash was his fault
“It was my fault, I couldn’t see him. He was right in my blind spot.
Verstappen quickly moved up, from 14th to 8th on the first lap, before a safety car came out after Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas and Williams’ Nicholas Latifi collided.
He was sixth on lap six, fourth on lap 7. He then overtook George Russell’s Mercedes. He was second once Sainz pitted, and then Sergio Pérez gave way to his faster teammate for the lead. There were 12.
When Verstappen first stopped he was behind Sainz but soon overtook him. When he stopped again, he was 27 seconds ahead of Pérez in second. This was enough for a free stop with his uncompromised lead. Pérez finished runner-up.
George Russell was fourth.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz started the day on pole but was unable to hold off Verstappen at Spa
Charles Leclerc, one of six drivers apart from Verstappen to receive engine penalties, finished fifth, but was sixth for speeding in the pit lane.
He was earlier hampered by a broken visor that stuck during the safety car phase, causing him to make an unscheduled stop.
The Monegasque was skipped in the classification by Pérez for second place in the table. Leclerc is back 98 with eight races to play.
Alonso finished fifth, once Leclerc made the schoolboy mistake.
Verstappen needs a 138-point lead by the end of the Singapore race on October 2 with five rounds remaining.
Relive all the Belgian GP action with Ryan Walker in our race blog below
#Max #Verstappen #wins #Belgian #Grand #Prix