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Sergio Perez was right when he said Max Verstappen was ‘on another planet’ at Spa… the world champion cut through the field and won by 18 seconds in the most complete driver of his career
- Max Verstappen came from 14th on the grid to win by 18 seconds in Belgium
- The Dutchman can already dream of winning his second world championship
- Christian Horner praised the reigning champion for his performance in Spa
Max Verstappen not only won the Belgian Grand Prix, he made his millionaire opponents as helpless as L-plate apprentices.
From 14th on the grid, the world champion raced through the field to win by 18 seconds.
As his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez, who started second and finished in the same superior fleet, stated: “Max was on a different planet.” Nothing could stop his ninth win in 14 races. Not even the grid penalty that robbed him of the full advantage of a dominant pole position he had secured by six tenths on Saturday.
The Dutchman extended his championship lead after starting the day in 14th place on the grid
It took him just 12 of 44 laps – three of which were behind a safety car – to grab the lead and extend his championship advantage to a massive 93 points with eight laps to go. In front of a largely supportive crowd migrating from the Netherlands, he moved quickly.
From 14th to eighth in the first round. In lap six to sixth. In round seven to fourth place. To third when he passed Mercedes’ George Russell for third. Up to second when Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who started on pole and finished third, made a pit stop. First of all, when Perez gave in to him.
At his second stop on lap 30, Verstappen was 27 seconds ahead of the rest, allowing him to re-emerge from the pits that were still in front.
Team principal Christian Horner led the chorus and said: “Max was in a class of his own. He has excelled here in the past and today he has knocked it out of the park. “He did a lap on mediums who set the fastest lap. He qualified on pole and didn’t even make the last run.
Max Verstappen produced an imperious ride as he stormed back from 14th on the grid
“Since Max won the world championship, he has taken another step. It released him. Given his age and experience, we are witnessing a driver who is completely at one with the car and in the absolute purple spot of his career.
“To fight for the lead on lap 18 was beyond our predictions.”
Verstappen himself said it was probably the most complete ride of his career.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz started the day on Pole but was helpless to stop Verstappen in Belgium
“If you look at the whole weekend, yes,” he said. “This track just seemed perfect for the car.”
As for Ferrari’s challenge, what a comedy. Charles Leclerc finished fifth, one place behind Russell, but was relegated to sixth for speeding in the pit lane while being fooled into chasing the fastest lap. He falls 98 points adrift.
So when will Verstappen win title no. 2? In Singapore on October 2, with five rounds to go? He will do it if he has a 138 point lead at the end of that race. In this form it is quite possible.
Verstappen admitted it was the most complete drive of his career to date before admitting the track was ‘perfect’ for the car