Max Verstappen made light work of his grid penalties to win the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix from P14 on the grid in a Red Bull one-two backed up by Sergio Perez, while pole-sitter Carlos Sainz finished P3 for Ferrari.
Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso tangled at Les Combes on Lap 1, leaving the Mercedes driver out of the race before Valtteri Bottas spun out in avoidance of Nicholas Latifi and brought out a Safety Car on Lap 2.
The restart saw Verstappen line up eighth while Sainz led Perez – Leclerc having had to pit for mediums with a tear-off in his brake duct. Verstappen made quick work of the cars ahead, sweeping into P3 by Lap 8 with only Perez and Sainz to beat.
Sainz pitted from softs to mediums on Lap 12, when Perez allowed Verstappen past and into the lead. The Dutchman extended his lead until Lap 15 and clawed back the deficit to Sainz, taking the lead on Lap 19 – taking another free pit stop on Lap 31 – before going on to win over Perez by over 18 seconds in a dominant display, with fastest lap to boot.
Sainz completed the podium ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell, who had previously passed Charles Leclerc but lost out on the final podium place by just over two seconds.
The two-time champion was re-passed by the Ferrari on the final lap but finished ahead of team mate Esteban Ocon, who overhauled Sebastian Vettel (P8) and Pierre Gasly (P9) late in the race. Alex Albon rounded out the top 10 for Williams, fending off Lance Stroll for the final point.
Lando Norris caught up to a battling Albon and Stroll by the end of the race but the McLaren driver missed out and finished 12th, ahead of Yuki Tsunoda, who won a late-race battle against Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu.
That left Daniel Ricciardo in P15 ahead of the Haas pair – Kevin Magnussen 16th and Mick Schumacher 17th – while Nicholas Latifi finished 18th after taking three pit stops.
FORMULA 1 ROLEX BELGIAN GRAND PRIX 2022
|1 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing||1:25:52.894||26|
|2 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing||+17.841s||18|
|3 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari||+26.886s||15|
|4 George RUSSELL Mercedes||+29.140s||12|
|5 Fernando ALONSO Alpine||+73.256s||10|