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Formula 1

Max Verstappen storms to Belgian GP win but snaps at Red Bull engineer in heated exchange

THIS win was so easy for Max Verstappen that his toughest challenge came from his race engineer.

While he romped to his 10th win of the year at the Belgian Grand Prix – and his eight in a row or 10th in a row if you count the sprint races – he was enjoying a war of words with Gianpiero Lambiase.

Max Verstappen romped to victory in the Belgian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton missed out on a podium

The two had a heated exchange the previous day, with Verstappen apologising, and they were at it again.

Verstappen, who leads the championship by a whopping 125 points, was told to slow down because he was going too fast and wearing out the tyres as he powered his way back from sixth on the grid.

He said: “I knew that we had a great car and it was just about surviving turn one. I could see it getting really tight so I was just going to stay out of that and it worked out.

“From there onwards we made the right overtakes and moves. I got a bit stuck in a DRS train at the start but once that cleared I could do my own pace. Again, really enjoyable.

“I did slow down (after the radio message). We look at the numbers, we look at the wear of the tyre and this track is super hard on the tyre so you don’t want to do any unnecessary things and that’s what we did until the end.”

Lewis Hamilton was fourth but took the bonus point for setting the fastest lap right at the death.

McLaren‘s Oscar Piastri suffered a nightmare start as he was clipped by Carlos Sainz at turn one on the first lap.

The Aussie, who had done so well on Friday to qualify in fifth place, was tagged by the Ferrari man, who was defending from Hamilton.


The contact put Piastri out of the race, as he was left counting the cost of Sainz’s error, which left the Ferrari with a huge hole in his bodywork.

Sainz dropped back before retiring a few laps after Piastri had called it a day.

Charles Leclerc‘s lead lasted for just four laps as Perez passed him with ease on the opening lap.

And Verstappen wasted no time cutting his way through the field. He breezed past Hamilton on lap six.

On lap 17 he passed Perez for the lead, with the Mexican driver putting up no fight.

Things were going so well for Verstappen that he was given a nudge by his race engineer.

On lap 14, Lambiase provided one barb, telling his driver to “use your head”, with Verstappen snapping back, to which Lambiase countered: “Max, please follow my instruction and trust it.”

Lambiase then asked Verstappen his thoughts about stopping tyres, with rain on the radar.

Verstappen snapped: “I mean, I can’t see the weather radar, so I don’t know.”

The rain failed to shake things up, as it proved to be just a brief shower, as he held his lead.

But still the verbal sparring continued with Lambiase. On lap 35, he told Verstappen “I’d ask you to use your head a bit more,” with regard to preserving tyre life.

Confident Verstappen replied: “I could also push on and we do another stop? A little bit of pit stop training?”

It was tongue-in-cheek of course, but gave a glimpse into just how easy this win was as he crossed the line 22.3 seconds ahead of Perez while Leclerc took third.

Perez said: “It was a good race for the team.  We had a great start and managed to get through Charles, which was one of the targets of today.

“From then on, I was just doing my own race and Max came through in the second stint pretty fast. There was nothing I could have done there.

“Afterwards it was just about making sure we brought it home safely without too much damage to the car.

“It’s been a bit of a rough patch, but we overcame it and today we managed to score great points for the team.

“I really need the summer break. It’s been really intense for the last few races. I look forward to it and will come back very strong.”

Leclerc said: “We have had a positive weekend in terms of pace, so that is good but when you look at the Red Bull, we have a lot of work to do.”

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