Starting from the third row, Verstappen managed to reach the front position by lap 16. This was achieved despite a grid penalty for a new gearbox. He overtook his teammate Sergio Perez (Red Bull) who had been leading the race since overtaking Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) on the first lap.
2023 F1 Belgian GP results
|Cla||Nº||Driver||Car / Engine||Laps||Time|
|1||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda RBPT||44||–|
|2||11||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull/Honda RBPT||44||-22.305|
|5||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin/Mercedes||44||-56.184|
|9||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin/Mercedes||44||–|
|10||22||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri/Honda RBPT||44||–|
|12||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||44||–|
|13||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||44||–|
|16||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AlphaTauri/Honda RBPT||44||–|
|–||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Ferrari||23||–|
How the 2023 F1 Belgian GP unfolded
Leclerc maintained his position at the front of the pack as they approached Turn 1, with Perez and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) close behind. Unfortunately, Oscar Piastri collided with Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari and the wall at the La Source hairpin, causing damage to his McLaren and forcing him to retire on the first lap.
Perez swiftly overtook Leclerc to take the lead on the Kemmel Straight. Verstappen made a rapid jump from sixth to fourth position following the collision between Sainz and Piastri.
Perez quickly moved ahead by a margin of 3 seconds, while Verstappen encountered a DRS train behind Leclerc and Hamilton. On lap four, Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) successfully overtook a struggling Sainz, who had a damaged sidepod, at Les Combes. However, Sainz’s Ferrari faced further difficulties and eventually retired shortly after reaching the halfway point.
On lap six, Verstappen overtook Hamilton from the inside at Les Combes and then, three laps later, successfully maneuvered around Leclerc from the outside. This impressive driving allowed Verstappen to secure second place within the first quarter of the race.
Hamilton was the first of the leaders to stop on lap 14, before leader Perez and Leclerc stopped a lap later and Verstappen a tour after that.
Verstappen gradually reduced Perez’s advantage and caught up to him by the 16th lap. Utilizing DRS, he overtook Perez on the next lap and took the lead well before reaching the halfway point.
George Russell, driving for Mercedes, made a successful move on lap 17 to overtake Lance Stroll of Aston Martin and secure sixth place. Stroll, unfortunately, lost positions to Pierre Gasly of Alpine and Yuki Tsunoda of AlphaTauri before making a pit stop for new soft tires. Following the pit stop, Tsunoda managed to surpass Gasly.
From lap 18, a light rain started to descend, causing Verstappen to almost lose control of his car right after Eau Rouge as the rain grew stronger. However, it turned out to be a brief rainfall, so the intermediate tires were not needed and stayed in the garages.
Hamilton made a pit stop for soft tires with 16 laps remaining, prompting Leclerc to do the same a lap later. However, Hamilton’s attempt to gain an advantage by pitting early was disrupted as he had to overtake Alonso.
The Red Bulls smoothly completed their last pitstops without any issues. Verstappen rejoined the race with a 9-second lead, which he further increased to 22 seconds by the end.
Behind Perez, Leclerc held off Hamilton’s challenge, ahead of Alonso, Russell and Norris. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) passed Tsunoda for ninth with a smart move at Les Combes with five laps to go and then got Stroll at the same place for eighth two laps later.
Hamilton made a pit stop towards the end to replace his tires with new medium ones, and on the last lap, he managed to achieve the fastest lap, taking it away from Verstappen.
2023 F1 Belgian GP fastest laps
|Cla||Nº||Driver||Car / Engine||Time||Delay||Kp/h|
|2||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda RBPT||1’48.922||1.617||231.490|
|5||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1’50.188||2.883||228.830|
|6||11||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull/Honda RBPT||1’50.308||3.003||228.581|
|10||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1’50.515||3.210||228.153|
|13||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin/Mercedes||1’50.938||3.633||227.283|
|15||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AlphaTauri/Honda RBPT||1’50.994||3.689||227.169|
|16||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin/Mercedes||1’51.297||3.992||226.550|
|17||22||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri/Honda RBPT||1’51.394||4.089||226.353|
|19||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Ferrari||1’53.138||5.833||222.864|