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Belgian GP: Max Verstappen leads dominant Red Bull one-two at Spa after Lewis Hamilton retirement

Max Verstappen surged through the field after a penalty for taking new engine parts had seen him start 14th; Sergio Perez second to seal Red Bull one-two, with Carlos Sainz third for Ferrari; Lewis Hamilton suffers first retirement of season after first-lap crash with Fernando Alonso

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The best of the action from a dramatic Belgian Grand Prix as Max Verstappen won from 14th on the grid.

Max Verstappen tightened his grip on the Formula 1 world championship with a stunning victory from 14th on the grid, as Red Bull sealed a dominant one-two at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Despite his lowly starting position, which had been caused by a grid penalty incurred for taking new engine parts, Verstappen scythed through the field to win by 17 seconds from his team-mate Sergio Perez.

Pole-sitter Carlos Sainz held off Mercedes' George Russell to seal third, while his Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc, who started behind Verstappen after also taking a grid penalty, finished sixth after a calamitous decision to stop on the penultimate lap saw him incur a pit lane speeding penalty that dropped him below Fernando Alonso.

Lewis Hamilton made his first retirement of the season following a first-lap collision with Alonso as they fought for second place.

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Ferrari's Carlos Sainz holds the lead in the first lap as Lewis Hamilton suffers a collision with Fernando Alonso and is out of the race at the Belgian Grand Prix

Hamilton later accepted responsibility for the incident, which saw Alonso describe him as an "idiot" over team radio, as the Spaniard claimed the seven-time world champion "only knows how to drive and start in first".

Esteban Ocon was seventh in the other Alpine, while Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel, AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly and Williams' Alex Albon rounded out the top 10.

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Verstappen climbs up the leaderboard from the back of the grid at the Belgian GP

Verstappen's victory, along with an extra point for the fastest lap of the race, sees the Dutchman extend his world championship lead to 93 points, with just eight races remaining.

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Perez's second place lifts the Mexican above Leclerc into second, while Red Bull's constructors' championship advantage over Ferrari increases to 97 points.

Belgian GP Race Result: Top 10

1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
2) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
3) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
4) George Russell, Mercedes
5) Fernando Alonso, Alpine
6) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
7) Esteban Ocon, Alpine
8) Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin
9) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
10) Alex Abon, Williams

'Incredible' speed enables Verstappen to surge through field

The speed Verstappen showed in the final race before the summer break to win from 10th on the grid in Hungary had come as somewhat of a surprise, but on the season's resumption at Spa he was most people's favourite despite starting further back.

The Dutchman had showed supreme pace throughout practice and qualifying, setting the fastest time in Saturday's Q3 by a comfortable margin despite not even going for a final run.

Verstappen had been relegated to the rear of the grid for taking new engine parts earlier in the weekend, but the fact he topped the timesheet in qualifying meant the six other drivers facing the same penalty started behind him.

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Nicholas Latifi and Valtteri Bottas suffer huge spin out on lap one at the Belgian GP

He was undoubtedly aided by the opening-lap drama, which also saw Valtteri Bottas retire after he went into the gravel to avoid the spinning Williams of Nicholas Latifi, but it seemed Verstappen had the pace to win under any circumstances.

He was eighth by the time the safety car emerged with Hamilton pulled up on the side of the track, and rose to sixth with two overtakes on the first lap after the resumption.

After Sainz had pitted from the lead on lap 11, Verstappen overtook Perez to take the lead for the first time. He would briefly give it up as he pitted a few laps later, but eased past Sainz on track on lap 18 and cruised into the distance from there.

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Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Sainz took the top three spots at the Belgian Grand Prix

Verstappen became just the second driver in F1 history to win consecutive races from 10th or lower on the grid, following Bruce McLaren achieving the feat in the final race of 1959 and first of 1960.

"It was quite a hectic first lap to try to stay out of trouble...but once we settled in after the safety car, the car was really on rails," Verstappen said.

"Once we were in the lead, it was all about managing everything and this whole weekend has been incredible.

"It's been a weekend I couldn't imagine before, but we want more of them so we'll keep on working hard."

Ferrari left to rue pace deficit

Leclerc had begun the day as Verstappen's nearest title challenger, and just a place behind his rival on the grid.

However, the Monegasque immediately lost touch as a visor tear-off stuck in his brake duct forced him to pit, with his misfortune only serving to toughen the near-impossible task of keeping up with Verstappen.

Leclerc fought back admirably to climb to fifth, but then threw away a position as Ferrari made another questionable strategy call late in the race.

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Ferrari's Charles Leclerc reflects on a disappointing result at the Belgian Grand Prix after finishing sixth

In a bid to give Leclerc fresh tyres to steal the fastest lap - and one point - from Verstappen, they pitted him in the closing stages.

He emerged just in front of Alonso, but then lost the place along the straight, before regaining it on the final lap.

However, he was then given a five-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane, which saw him drop below Alonso, while he also failed to set the fastest lap.

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Sainz reviews his performance after securing a podium finish

Leclerc's struggles coupled with Sainz's lack of pace, as he was unable to compete with the Red Bulls despite making the perfect getaway from pole, combined to complete another sobering day for Ferrari.

"The pit lane is not bad luck, it's just my fault. It's a mistake and that's it," Leclerc said. "On the other hand we were just not quick enough this weekend and this is the big problem more than anything, so we need to work on that."

On the prospect of the two further back-to-back races that follow, Leclerc added: "It starts to look very difficult, especially with the pace they've shown this weekend, it's going to be very difficult."

Hamilton takes blame for Alonso crash

Despite having lacked pace on Friday and Saturday, Hamilton retained hope of adding a sixth successive podium as penalties for rivals meant he started fourth on the grid.

The Brit enhanced those hopes in the opening corners as he got past Perez and then honed in on Alonso, who had also passed the Red Bull at the start to move up to second.

Hamilton enjoyed a powerful slipstream up the Kemmel Straight and pulled alongside his former McLaren team-mate, but then failed to leave the Spaniard enough room on the inside as they made their way through Turn 5.

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Hamilton was disappointed after he collided with Alonso, putting him out of the race on the first lap at the Belgian GP

The heavy collision saw Hamilton's car momentarily fly into the air, with the Brit fortunate to come down safely, albeit sustaining damage that would prevent him from making it back to the pits.

That was of no immediate consolation to Alonso, who berated Hamilton over team radio in the heat of the moment.

The race stewards opted to take no action, but Hamilton later took responsibility for the incident, saying Alonso had been in his "blind spot", and insisted it "doesn't really matter" what the Spaniard said about him.

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Alonso reflects on his frustration after colliding with Hamilton

Speaking after the race, a more calm Alonso was far less critical of Hamilton, and said it was "very nice" of the seven-time world champion to take the blame.

"I was frustrated in that moment, for sure," Alonso said. "Every time we start on the first or second row or are fighting in the top two or three there is always something going on and I was frustrated.

"Luckily, my car was very strong and I could continue."

What's next in F1 2022?

The action continues to come thick and fast as Formula One returns next weekend for the Dutch Grand Prix.

It promises to be a thrilling weekend in Zandvoort as Max Verstappen races in front of his home fans as a world champion for the first time.

Things get under way with first practice on Friday morning at 11:30am, with Sunday's race starting at 2pm.

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