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‘Unexpected & nice’ weekend for Max Verstappen

‘The car has been incredible from first practice. I don’t think we expected it to be like this but sometimes it’s nice when things positively surprise you’
Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen
File Photo

Reuters   |   Published 30.08.22, 03:52 AM

Formula One championship leader Max Verstappen hailed the Belgian Grand Prix weekend as his most dominant yet in the sport. The Red Bull driver ended on Friday practice nearly a second clear of his rivals, was comfortably quickest in Saturday’s qualifying and overcame engine and gearbox-related penalties to win from 14th on the grid on Sunday.

“I think if you look at the whole weekend, yes,” said the Dutch 24-year-old when asked if this had been his most dominant display. “The car has been incredible from first practice. I don’t think we expected it to be like this but sometimes it’s nice when things positively surprise you.”

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Team boss Christian Horner told Verstappen he was in a class of his own. Mexican teammate Sergio Perez who finished 17.8 seconds behind Verstappen in second place despite having started on the front row said he was “untouchable”. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who started one place behind Verstappen after collecting similar engine and gearbox penalties but finished fifth, described Red Bull and his rival as being “on another planet completely”.

Verstappen said he had not even thought on Saturday that he might be leading the race as soon as the 12th of 44 laps around the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. “I just wanted to have a good race and I knew that as soon as I was out of trouble after Lap One, we could have a good race but I never really think about what lap I’m going to lead,” he said. “It’s impossible to imagine.”

Verstappen, who also set the fastest lap and was voted ‘Driver of the Day’ by fans, recognised his imperious display in the country of his birth was special. “It was just that this track seemed to be perfect for the car,” he said.

Visor problem

Charles Leclerc’s pit lane speeding penalty on Sunday was due to a sensor failure caused by a tear-off visor strip discarded by Red Bull rival Max Verstappen, Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto said. The 24-year-old Monegasque had started 15th, one place behind Verstappen, after both were hit with engine and gearbox-related penalties.

Leclerc pitted on lap three after complaining of overheating problems, with Ferrari then finding a tear-off strip lodged in his front right brake duct.



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