Two-time reigning Formula One champion Max Verstappen won the rain-hit sprint race at the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday to extend his huge lead over Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez to 118 points.
It was Verstappen’s ninth straight win including the two sprint races he has won this season. He collected eight points for the victory and will look to extend his overall lead further in Sunday’s main race as he continues his march to a third straight world title.
“That was not bad,” Verstappen said with casual understatement.He finished a comfortable 6.7 seconds ahead of McLaren driver Oscar Piastri and 10.7 clear of Alpine’s Pierre Gasly.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton crossed the line in fourth but dropped down to seventh after being given a five-second time penalty for causing a collision when trying to overtake Perez, who scored no points after retiring near the end.
Hamilton’s penalty moved Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. into fourth spot ahead of his teammate Charles Leclerc.
This was the third of six scheduled sprint races this season. The sprint race was delayed by more than one hour due to heavy rain, getting underway with a rolling start procedure after several laps behind a safety car, in order to clear more water off the track for the sprint.