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Max Verstappen to take five-place Belgian GP grid penalty after Red Bull driver exceeds gearbox allowance

Max Verstappen has won the last seven races to open up a 110-point world championship lead; Red Bull are on a record 12-race winning streak; It's a Sprint weekend! Watch Belgian GP Qualifying at 4pm on Friday live on Sky Sports F1

Max Verstappen
Image: Max Verstappen is set to receive a five-place grid penalty for Sunday's Belgian GP

World Championship leader Max Verstappen will receive a five-place grid penalty for Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix after exceeding his gearbox allowance for the 2023 Formula 1 season.

While the FIA has yet to officially confirm the gearbox change and resulting penalty, Sky Sports News has learned Red Bull have taken the decision

The penalty will apply to Sunday's race, for which Qualifying is taking place on Friday as Spa-Francorchamps hosts the third Sprint weekend of the season.

It means Verstappen will line up no higher than sixth on the grid for the Grand Prix.

Each F1 car is limited to four gearboxes over the season, and Verstappen is the first driver to require a fifth assembly this year.

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Verstappen says he has good memories at his second home circuit of Spa and hopes Red Bull can find the compromise for both dry and wet conditions

Verstappen's stunning run of seven successive victories has enabled him to open a 110-point world championship lead, and the overtaking opportunities at Spa should provide him with a chance to extend that run despite the grid penalty.

Last year the Dutchman lined up 14th on the grid in Belgium due to engine penalties but came through the field to claim a commanding victory.

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Speaking on the Sky Sports F1 Podcast, Nico Rosberg believes Verstappen will be keen to break further records this season, ensuring his legacy in the sport stands the test of time

Rain is forecast to affect Friday's qualifying session, which takes place at 4pm, as well as possibly Sunday's race which gives Verstappen an additional challenge as he seeks to negate the impact of his demotion.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1's Ted Kravitz on Thursday, Verstappen said: "The weather looks quite interesting with a lot of rain around.

"From our side we know that the car is quick and hopefully we can find a good compromise between possible rain or dry on Sunday."

Verstappen recorded the biggest victory margin of the 2023 season last time out in Hungary as he finished 33 seconds ahead of Lando Norris' McLaren.

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Verstappen wins in Hungary, making it a record 12th win in a row for Red Bull

Sky Sports F1's live Belgian GP schedule

Friday July 28
8.55am: Formula 3 Practice
10am: Formula 2 Practice
12pm: Belgian GP Practice One (session starts 12.30pm)
1.55pm: Formula 3 Qualifying
2.50pm: Formula 2 Qualifying
3.35pm: Belgian GP Qualifying build-up
4pm: Belgian GP Qualifying
6pm: Ted's Qualifying Notebook

Saturday July 29
8.55am: Formula 3 Sprint Race
10.30am: Belgian GP Sprint Shootout build-up
11am: Belgian GP Sprint Shootout
12.40pm: Formula 2 Sprint Race
2.30pm: Belgian GP Sprint build-up
5pm: Ted's Sprint Notebook

Sunday July 30
7.25am: Formula 3 Feature Race
8.55am: Formula 2 Feature Race
12.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday - Belgian GP build-up
4pm: Chequered Flag - Belgian GP reaction
5pm: Ted's Notebook

Next up is the Belgian GP, the final race before F1's summer break - watch all sessions of the Sprint weekend live on Sky Sports F1 from July 28-30. Stream the Belgian GP and more with NOW.

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