No stopping Max Verstappen and Red Bull after Belgian GP win

World champion extends lead to 125 points after eighth successive victory

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen after winning the Belgian GP. AFP
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Max Verstappen completed his eighth straight win of the season at the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday with his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez in second to continue a procession of victories for his team this season.

Verstappen had earlier won Saturday's sprint race at Spa-Francorchamps to remain on track for a third Formula One world title.

"I knew we had a great car, it was just about surviving turn one," said Verstappen, who started in sixth on the grid despite topping qualifying due to a penalty for a new gearbox.

Pole-sitter Charles Leclerc took third with Lewis Hamilton in fourth.

Verstappen's latest win extended Red Bull's record this year to 15 wins from 15 races –12 grands prix and the three sprints.

He can draw level with Sebastian Vettel's 2013 record of nine straight Formula One wins in front of his home fans at the Dutch Grand Prix at the end of August.

Verstappen leads Perez by a massive 125 points in the standings – the equivalent of five victories – heading into the summer break.

The Dutch driver was up from sixth to fourth at the end of the first lap while Perez blasted past Leclerc on the Kemmel Straight to take the lead.

Oscar Piastri finished runner-up in Saturday's 11-lap sprint race, but the Australian rookie's Grand Prix lasted less than a lap after he collided with Carlos Sainz at the opening corner.

Verstappen has now won in Belgium for the last three years in a row including from 14th on the grid last year. He is heading for a third title with plenty of races to spare, the only real doubt being where he might seal it.

Perez made an aggressive start from second on the grid, tucking in behind Leclerc through the tight, opening La Source corner and then blasting past on the Kemmel straight to seize the lead.

Verstappen was already up to fourth and chasing Hamilton.

He passed the seven-times world champion on lap six at Les Combes and pulled off a similar move on Leclerc three laps later at the same place to start the chase of Perez and a private Red Bull battle.

By lap 16, after both had pitted with Verstappen's stop half a second faster, the Dutch driver was right on Perez's tail and perfectly placed to blow past the Mexican on the Kemmel straight and pull away.

Perez never got another chance after that.

Updated: July 30, 2023, 3:24 PM