After a few scattered raindrops fell while the cars were getting ready on the grid, 20 minutes before the planned start time, it started raining heavily 10 minutes later.
The race commenced at 17:35 with the safety car leading the way, requiring all the cars to begin the race using fully wet tires.
They embarked on five formation tours, initially planned as four, but an additional one was included to allow the cars to run at a slower speed and clear more water.
When the action finally started, the number of laps decreased from 15 to 11. Many drivers, including Verstappen who was in pole position, noted that the conditions were suitable for intermediate tires even during the first formation lap.
After the safety car eventually retreated, numerous drivers chose to enter the pit lane.
This included Piastri from just behind Verstappen and the Australian driver was joined in making the final formation lap call by Carlos Sainz, Pierre Gasly and Lewis Hamilton – with the Alpine racer emerging behind Piastri as several teams had to hold their cars as others pitted around them.
Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, and Lando Norris all entered the pit lane for intermediate tires before completing the first lap. This was because they were following their teammates and faced the possibility of a lengthy double-stack pit stop.
Leclerc experienced a significant delay since Ferrari had to wait for multiple cars to pass through the pitlane, including Verstappen who was slightly held up waiting for Norris to go ahead.
After coming out of the pits, Piastri had quickly moved ahead of La Source and was leading by 1.5 seconds at the beginning of the second lap.
Verstappen reduced his time by half on the next lap, but then the race was paused due to a safety car period. This happened because Fernando Alonso spun off the track while following Nico Hulkenberg. The incident will be examined after the race, as it was potentially considered an “impeding” violation according to the FIA timing screens.
The race continued on lap six, with Verstappen closely following Piastri as they accelerated and quickly overtook on the Kemmel Straight after successfully navigating through the Eau Rouge/Raidillon section, where the McLaren was slightly ahead.
Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19
Photo by: Michael Potts / Motorsport Images
Verstappen then ran clear to an easy win, ending up with a 6.6s final margin of victory over Piastri.
Gasly emerged from his last pit stop for intermediate tires in front of Perez and Hamilton, with Sainz also trailing behind them.
This became their order behind Verstappen under the safety car, with Leclerc’s long stop meaning he was running adrift of Sainz at that point with Norris one place further back.
During the sixth lap restart, Verstappen overtook Piastri, with Gasly following behind at a considerable distance. Meanwhile, Perez was left behind as Hamilton closely pursued him.
Hamilton executed a remarkable maneuver during the initial segment of the Stavelot sequence, specifically at Turn 14. As they proceeded to the subsequent section, a rapid right turn, Hamilton found himself side by side with Perez.
The Mercedes seemed to veer slightly to the left and its left front side collided with Perez’s right-side sidepod, creating a hole in the process. However, the Red Bull managed to move forward.
At the beginning of the seventh lap, Hamilton skillfully overtook Perez on the outside at La Source. Sainz then impressively outpaced him at Eau Rouge, taking the lead at the left turn near the bottom of the hill.
Leclerc subsequently caught up with Perez and positioned himself next to him on the outer line while racing down the Kemmel straight. Taking advantage of Sainz’s slipstream ahead, Leclerc swiftly overtook Perez, causing the Red Bull driver to drop from fourth to seventh place within six corners. This occurred as Leclerc skillfully maneuvered around the outside of the Red Bull car at the initial section of the Les Combes chicane.
Perez encountered a mishap as the group approached Stavelot, causing him to skid into the gravel. Norris was in close pursuit at that point, and by the conclusion of the seventh lap, Perez decided to retire in the pits.
The situation involving Hamilton was promptly subjected to an investigation, and the stewards deemed him responsible, resulting in a five-second penalty for the Mercedes driver.
Hamilton was unable to overtake Gasly before the race ended, and due to the short distance of the sprint, there was limited opportunity for gaps to develop. Consequently, he dropped to seventh place, with Sainz, Leclerc, and Norris finishing ahead of him.
George Russell sealed the final point on lap 10 when he outdragged Daniel Ricciardo on the outside run to La Source having seen off the close attentions of Esteban Ocon after the restart.