F1 LIVE: Verstappen wins - Belgian Grand Prix result, reaction and updates from Spa

·18-min read
F1 LIVE: Verstappen wins - Belgian Grand Prix result, reaction and updates from Spa

F1 Belgian Grand Prix LIVE!

A fascinating race awaits Formula One fans today with a shaken-up grid set at Spa-Francorchamps after a glut of grid penalties knocked Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc down the order.

Verstappen was comfortably quickest in qualifying on Saturday but Carlos Sainz starts on pole position with the championship leader 14th and ahead of his F1 title rival, Leclerc, in 15th place. Sainz will have Sergio Perez for company on the front row with Fernando Alonso clocking a surprise third in his Alpine.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell endured a tough session to start only fourth and fifth, respectively, in what may go down as a huge missed opportunity for Mercedes as they target a first race win of the 2022 campaign. Catching Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship is still a possibility for the Mercs but Hamilton was despondent on their form ahead of the race. Follow all the action from Belgium below!

F1 Belgian Grand Prix updates

  • LIGHTS OUT! Hamilton out after Alonso contact

  • PITS! Sainz leads after Verstappen’s surge

  • MAX LEADS! Imperious Verstappen into first

  • CHEQUERED FLAG! Verstappen wins at Spa

Thanks for joining us!

16:10 , Marc Mayo

We’ll see you in a week’s time for the Dutch Grand Prix as Max Verstappen continues his march to the 2022 F1 world title.

Recap today’s race with our full report!

Time for champagne!

15:49 , Marc Mayo

FIA explain lack of Hamilton penalty

15:47 , Marc Mayo

“Hamilton’s front wheels were ahead of Alonso’s at the entry to the corner. Alonso moved his car off line to the inside with both right side tyres fully on the kerb and even somewhat inside the kerb.

“At no point did Alonso appear to lose control or understeer. Hamilton turned into towards the apex of the corner with Alonso still alongside and the collision occurred.

“The Stewards considered that this was a first lap incident with a lot of movement relative to other cars in the first few corners, and thus take no further action.”

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Max Verstappen reacts to his win

15:39 , Marc Mayo

“It’s been a weekend I couldn’t imagine, we want more of them so we keep on working hard. I’m gonna enjoy it today then we’ll see next week what we can do.”

15:35 , Marc Mayo

Five-second time penalty for Leclerc for speeding in the pit lane!

Alonso is promoted to fifth place.

15:33 , Marc Mayo

15:33 , Marc Mayo

After all that... Leclerc did not get the fastest lap. Unnecessary, self-inflicted trouble for Ferrari? Never!

VERSTAPPEN WINS!

15:30 , Marc Mayo

A well-earned chequered flag greets the Dutchman as Leclerc fights for fifth and a potential extra fastest lap point...

He does indeed make the move on Alonso into Les Combes.

Perez comes home second with Sainz beating Russell for third.

Final lap!

15:28 , Marc Mayo

Sainz still has over two seconds on Russell as Verstappen begins his last lap.

Just the 18 seconds in the Dutchman’s favour over Perez.

Further back, Leclerc pits for Softs with a hefty buffer on Alonso for a crack at the fastest lap. In fact, the Spaniard is right on his tail and makes the move down the Kemmel Straight!

15:24 , Marc Mayo

A bit of an error from Russell at Stavelot pushes him seven-tenths further behind Sainz, the gap to the Ferrari remaining stubbornly over two seconds.

Has he run out of tyres?

15:21 , Marc Mayo

Lap 40/44: Albon leading a hefty DRS train in tenth place all the way back to Ricciardo in 15th.

Norris is told he cannot pull out ‘Plan G’ from 12th, McLaren showing they have back-up options to the extreme, there.

15:19 , Marc Mayo

Russell only two seconds off the back of Sainz now, he is almost certain to get at least a couple of overtake chances in the final six laps.

15:15 , Marc Mayo

Lap 36/44: A very fine afternoon on the cards for Alpine as Ocon gets both Vettel and Gasly on the Kemmel Straight to go seventh, behind Alonso.

Gasly the big loser there as Vettel makes a move into Bruxelles. A smart performance from the German in his first race since announcing his upcoming retirement.

15:11 , Marc Mayo

Russell’s gap to Sainz is just four seconds now with the Spaniard telling team radio he is pushing... Ferrari may go without a podium finish for either driver today.

Meanwhile, Vettel pits for Mediums and comes out eighth behind Gasly.

Lewis Hamilton reacts to his crash

15:08 , Marc Mayo

“He was in my blind spot, it was my fault today. I’m so sorry for the team. I couldn’t see him.”

15:05 , Marc Mayo

Lap 31/44: Red Bull flex their muscles with a 2.3-second stop for Verstappen, he has, oh, only a 21-second lead on Perez in second.

In Hungary he could afford to spin and still win... I think he can get out and wave to the crowd before still winning this one.

15:03 , Marc Mayo

Into the pits comes Russell and Mercedes send him away for Hards 2.5 seconds later, Perez and Sainz easing through with an outside shot of a move on the Ferrari on his agenda.

The gap is nine seconds with 14 laps to go.

15:00 , Marc Mayo

Lap 27/44: Neat from Albon as he pits just ahead of Stroll in a battle for the final points places.

Williams are a second slower than Aston Martin in the tyre changes and Albon has Stroll on his tail at the pit exit, but just holds up a touch to allow teammate Latifi to enter the scene and he overtakes Stroll up into Eau Rouge!

Further ahead, Perez pits for Hards.

14:56 , Marc Mayo

Pit stops at Ferrari!

Sainz drops in for the Hards, a quick 2.4-second stop. Moments later, Leclerc goes on the Medium. Both are back into clean air, fourth and seventh respectively.

14:51 , Marc Mayo

Lap 23/44: So, where are the key battles in the second half of this race?

Vettel is hunting Alonso for sixth while ninth place is being fought over between Albon and Ricciardo.

Stroll looks keen behind them in the final points position, Norris just under two seconds further back.

14:48 , Marc Mayo

A Red Bull one-two hones into view as half race distance approaches, Perez taking second off Sainz.

Verstappen is 6.8 seconds up the road already. Russell is fourth, Leclerc fifth and Alonso sixth. That might not change, well at all, in the coming 45 minutes.

14:44 , Marc Mayo

Lap 20/44: Ferrari tell Leclerc he can either finish fifth by stopping in a bit for Mediums or finish fifth by stopping soon for Hards. Such luxuries!

Meanwhile, Verstappen is looking good to build up a 95-point championship lead.

Verstappen leads!

14:41 , Marc Mayo

The Dutch fans who made the short hop across the border are on their feet as Verstappen closes in on Sainz and cruises past the Spaniard after setting the fastest lap of the race.

That may just be that...

14:40 , Marc Mayo

Some move that, from Russell.

Sainz leads!

14:37 , Marc Mayo

The Ferrari swoops back into the lead as Verstappen pits on a potential one-stopper.

Perez third with Leclerc now under threat from Russell... and he makes the move! That’s Russell into fourth.

14:35 , Marc Mayo

Lap 15/44: That’s curious. Perez, on more durable tyres than Verstappen, pits before his teammate and comes out behind Sainz but ahead of Leclerc and Russell after an undercut attempt by Mercedes.

Leclerc is now on the scene and lines up Perez but the Ferrari cannot make the move into Les Combes! Key moment for the Mexican.

Ferrari radio into Sainz that Plan D is now their preference...

14:31 , Marc Mayo

Ricciardo holds up Sainz briefly as Verstappen stays out.

The Aussie, from sixth, pits. A potentially very good day is on the cards for him as is the case for Vettel in fourth.

14:29 , Marc Mayo

Sainz pits as Verstappen complains of losing time stuck behind Perez. An undercut could be in play for Ferrari, here...

The next dash down the straight sees the title leader cruise into the lead for the first time today - having started 13th.

14:27 , Marc Mayo

Lap 11/44: Better from Leclerc to grab 12th but higher degradation than expected, due to a touch of heat under the Belgian sun, is making things interesting.

Verstappen, after a lap settling down his temperatures, turns the afterburners back on to catch Perez into Les Combes. No overtake this time though...

Sainz is being reeled into view for the both of them though as the Softs begin to drop off the cliff. Will he pit soon?

14:22 , Marc Mayo

Lap 8/44: Full DRS train issues for Leclerc with two AlphaTauris, an Alfa Romeo, a McLaren and many more not far in front of him, making overtakes rather tough.

Verstappen is having no such issues and swoops past Russell for third. Just four seconds ahead is Sainz- with Perez in between...

14:20 , Marc Mayo

Easy pickings for Verstappen as Vettel and Alonso fall in line, the Dutchman rising up to fourth place with just over five seconds to leader Sainz.

Leclerc meanwhile is stuck back in 16th.

A word from the stewards - no action on either Bottas or Hamilton’s exits from the grand prix.

Here is a fantastic shot of that Hamilton crash...

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

14:17 , Marc Mayo

Lap 6/44: Verstappen chomps through Albon and Ricciardo to go sixth as a lonely Hamilton trudges back down the long road towards the pits.

Sainz has just over a second on Perez with DRS activating shortly.

Green light!

14:15 , Marc Mayo

The safety car comes in and a lock-up from Sainz backs up the pack, pushing Perez into Russell!

The Red Bull survives La Source and Alonso is on Russell’s back down the straight... but the Brit holds on.

14:13 , Marc Mayo

Lap 4/44: Leclerc in for a pit stop with the Mediums going on for the Ferrari, a two-stopper should still be in reach.

A helmet tear-off had lodged itself in the brake duct, affecting his cooling.

Vettel into fifth after a top start, Ricciardo and Albon follow before Verstappen already into eighth. Stroll and Magnussen complete the top ten.

Safety car

14:10 , Marc Mayo

And breathe...

Replays show Hamilton cut Alonso too tight at Les Combes in that incident.

“What an idiot!” shouted the Spaniard over team radio.

BOTTAS OUT!

14:08 , Marc Mayo

Latifi hits the gravel and spins around, almost tagging Bottas and sending the birhtday boy into the gravel... he’s out!

That is a safety car.

Hamilton OUT!

14:07 , Marc Mayo

Mercedes tell Hamilton to pull over in sector three after that issue and Alonso is back into fourth after Perez made hay on the contact to fly back into second.

BIG CONTACT FOR HAMILTON!

14:05 , Marc Mayo

The Brit scuffles with Alonso at the top of the straight and he flies into the air... but carries on!

LIGHTS OUT!

14:05 , Marc Mayo

Sainz leads as Perez drops back!

Alonso into second ahead of Hamilton and Russell!

14:01 , Marc Mayo

Carlos Sainz on the Soft tyres with the following ten cars on the Mediums as the Ferrari pole-sitter looking for a quick getaway.

Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc are on Softs ahead of their early push through the midfield.

Mediums generally the order of the day but Yuki Tsunoda is on the Hards from his pit-lane start.

Formation lap!

14:00 , Marc Mayo

The 18 cars on the grid set off around Spa ahead of the start, with Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly starting from the pit lane.

Tyre strategy

13:53 , Marc Mayo

Plenty of options for the grid today with every compound in the mix.

13:49 , Marc Mayo

National anthem time

13:45 , Marc Mayo

And that means just 15 minutes until lights out!

13:42 , Marc Mayo

Christian Horner has laid out his challenge to Kevin De Bruyne if he wants a go in the Red Bull F1 car...

“Sign for Coventry City,” he tells Sky Sports while chatting to the Belgium star on the grid.

Stranger things have happened..?

Ricciardo out to impress potential new teams

13:37 , Marc Mayo

A rare elevation to the top ten via grid penalties could give Daniel Ricciardo the chance to shine today.

Martin Brundle feels the Aussie is not himself these days with McLaren announcing his early exit at the end of the season.

“He's lost his mojo,” he said. “When I see Daniel starting outside the top 10 and running outside the top 10 all afternoon, that's not him and that's not where he's at.

“We know he's better than that and I find that painful to watch. I can't imagine how painful it's been for Daniel to be in that car falling backwards through the field.

“Maybe it's all a bit of blessed relief all around and it'll come back around and show his mettle.”

Any improvement to come from Mercedes?

13:32 , Marc Mayo

Toto Wolff was furious with a low-point qualifying session for Mercedes on Saturday.

You can’t be on pole three weeks before, albeit for very different conditions, different track, and then be 1.8 seconds off the pace at the next one,” Wolff told reporters.

“So there’s something we totally don’t understand, or seem to get right.

“Clearly, Red Bull are here in a league of their own, as the next Ferrari is eight tenths off. But that’s no consolation.

“It’s for me the worst qualifying session I had in 10 years. And irrespective of what positions we will start in tomorrow, being on pole the previous weekend and three weeks later being nowhere, it’s just not acceptable for ourselves.”

One of our hosts’ most famous faces in the Red Bull garage today

13:27 , Marc Mayo

Green light!

13:21 , Marc Mayo

The pit lane is open and the drivers begin their first run around the track today, ahead of forming up on the grid.

Piastri feud rumbles on

13:17 , Marc Mayo

Monday will see Alpine and McLaren make their case to F1’s resolutions panel as their tug-of-war over Oscar Piastri continues.

Alpine want hefty compensation after their young driver insisted he will not replace Fernando Alonso for 2023, despite an announcement saying he will.

“I just wish Oscar would have remembered what he signed in November and what he signed up to,” said team principal Otmar Szafnauer.

But McLaren boss Zak Brown has hit back at his counterpart.

“Judging by recent times,” he said. “The way Fernando has departed and caught Otmar by surprise, and not too long ago he is the recipient of a €400,000 fine and 15 points [deduction], I’m not sure he comes with the highest level of credibility and making accusations around ethics.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali on Spa’s future past 2023

13:07 , Marc Mayo

“We will see, we will do it step by step. We have to congratulate them on the job they did.”

Breaking news!

13:01 , Marc Mayo

Spa-Francorchamps confirmed for 2023 calendar!

Albon not expecting major points haul

12:56 , Marc Mayo

Despite starting sixth after making Q3 for the first time in a Williams, Alex Albon is realistic of his chances today.

Attention turns to 2023 after tough Saturday for Hamilton

12:49 , Marc Mayo

Lewis Hamilton was left disappointed by only putting his Mercedes fourth on the grid, following a poor qualifying run that was aided by grid penalties for others.

“I mean, obviously everyone is working for improvements. And we came here very, very optimistic that we are going to be able to be close [the gap to Red Bull and Ferrari],” said Hamilton.

“Half a second, who knows, but to be 1.8s behind is a real kick in the teeth. But it is what it is. It’s a car that we continue to struggle with and I definitely won’t miss it at the end of the year.

“For me, it’s just about focusing on how we build and design next year’s car. The other two teams ahead of us are in another league, but our car looks so much different to theirs. So, we will do the best we can for the rest of the season.”

12:42 , Marc Mayo

Carlos Sainz just telling Sky Sports that he “doesn’t care” if Sergio Perez overtakes him off the line.

“I’m not going to be too disappointed if he goes through because there will still be a long way ahead,” he says.

That long Spa straight out of Eau Rouge will be one major overtaking spot later on...

Out on the track parade in Belgium

12:35 , Marc Mayo

Gasly shrugs off Alpine talk

12:26 , Marc Mayo

Pierre Gasly has insisted he is not thinking about rumours of a potential move to Alpine, to complete an all-French line-up under the Gallic marque.

“Well, I don't really have anything to comment for now,” he said after qualifying yesterday.

“You know, I am focused on doing the best job I can this weekend.

“I’ve got a contract and from everything that I know and everybody knows you know we've announced me to AlphaTauri driving for AlphaTauri next year.”

In fact, it’s a bit of a landmark day for Gasly...

Qualifying recap

12:19 , Marc Mayo

One of the strangest Formula One qualifying sessions in years produced a pole position for Carlos Sainz in the Belgian Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen was quickest by over half a second in Q3 at Spa-Francorchamps yet will start 14th on the grid as one of several drivers taking engine penalties for the first race back from the summer break.

Sainz put himself on pole as the best of the rest behind the Red Bull despite a scruffy final lap, kicking up gravel as he failed to improve on the time of his first run, although it mattered little as Sergio Perez still finished over a tenth behind.

Read the full story!

 (Pool via REUTERS)
(Pool via REUTERS)

Starting grid

12:10 , Marc Mayo

A late grid penalty for Yuki Tsunoda changes engine components knocks him into the pit lane for the start.

Weather update

12:01 , Marc Mayo

Anyone who visited Spa last year will be glad to know we are in for a dry race today.

It won’t be the hottest, however, with temperatures knocking towards 20°C at most. Light winds will also prevail with a decent amount of cloud cover.

A welcome reprive for drivers punished in the searing heat of some recent races!

How to watch

11:55 , Marc Mayo

TV channel: The race will be shown live on Sky Sports F1 with coverage starting at 12.30pm.

Live stream: Sky Sports subscribers can also tune in online via the Sky Go app.

Free highlights: Channel 4 will be airing full free-to-air race highlights at 6.30pm on Sunday evening.

Live blog: You can keep up to date with the race as it happens right here, with Standard Sport’s live blog!

Hello and welcome...

11:48 , Marc Mayo

To Standard Sport’s coverage of the Belgian Grand Prix!

Carlos Sainz starts on pole with a heavily mixed-up grid that has even featured more grid penalties dished out this morning.

Lights out is at 2pm BST and you can follow all the build-up, track action and reaction via our live blog!

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)