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F1 defending champion Max Verstappen wins Belgian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen wins 2023 Belgian Grand Prix
Max Verstappen wins 2023 Belgian Grand Prix Copyright Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with AP
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Despite a five-place grid penalty, making him start in 6th place, the Dutchman went on to win Sunday's race, finishing 22.3 seconds ahead of teammate and fellow redbull driver, Sergio Perez.

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It was a great day of racing for defending Formula One World Champion, Max Verstappen, who saw himself at the top of the podium on Sunday for the 8th consecutive time this season.

Redbull dominance

The 26-year-old Redbull driver enters the mid-season break in unstoppable form after winning the Belgian Grand Prix for the 10th overall victory of a crushingly dominant season.

Despite starting from sixth place he finished 22.3 seconds ahead of teammate Sergio Perez to give Red Bull an easy 1-2. It moved Verstappen ominously closer to a third straight world title and his own F1 record of 15 wins from last year.

Verstappen is 125 points ahead of Perez after just 12 races, and his next target is matching Sebastian Vettel’s F1 record of nine straight wins with a victory at the Dutch GP when the lopsided season resumes on August 27th.

“I just want to have a nice time now. I want to have a bit of time with family and friends,” Verstappen said.

Battle of the Drivers

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc finished in third spot for a third podium of the season, with Lewis Hamilton in fourth for Mercedes ahead of Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso.

Leclerc started on pole ahead of Perez, with Hamilton and Ferrari's Carlos Sainz Jr. behind them. McLaren rookie Oscar Piastri was on the next row alongside Verstappen — who was fastest in Friday's qualifying but took a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change and had to avoid early traffic.

“It was just about surviving turn one. I could see it was all getting really tight,” Verstappen said. “I’ve been in that position before myself so I am just going to stay out of that and it worked out. From there onwards I made the right overtakes.”

Hamilton came in on the penultimate lap for a tire change and the move paid off as he took the bonus point for fastest lap from Verstappen — a very minor blip for the dominant Dutchman.

After the F1 break, there will be 10 races left in the season, but most of the competition for places will be behind Verstappen.

Alonso is one point ahead of Hamilton in third overall, with Leclerc and Russell level and Sainz seven points behind them.

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