Red Bull’s Max Verstappen controlled the Belgian Grand Prix, defying a five-place grid penalty to win his eighth successive race. Amid laughter and light banter with his team, Verstappen appears to be in a league of his own, with Mercedes’ Toto Wolff admitting the 25-year-old has earned the right to be “a bit cheeky.”
A Victory Earned with Ease and Confidence
Verstappen’s win at the Belgian Grand Prix seemed effortless, clinching the lead by lap 17 of 44 and remaining untouchable for the rest of the race. His 22.3-second winning margin, which is even more astounding given that his Red Bull colleague Sergio Pérez raced an identical car, attests to the Dutchman’s supremacy. His laid-back demeanour was exemplified by his casual banter with engineer Gianpiero Lambiase, displaying an extraordinary level of confidence and control.
The world champion now leads the season with an astounding 125 points ahead of Pérez. The extent of his dominance is such that other competitors seem to have lost hope of closing the gap this season. Even Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff admitted Verstappen is “just driving around in circles on everybody else on merit.”
Record-Breaking Performance and Predictability
The figures reflect the story of Verstappen’s incredible season. This is his eighth consecutive victory, putting him on track to equal Sebastian Vettel’s 2013 record of nine consecutive victories. With a total of 10 wins from 12 races this season, all claimed by Red Bull, they’ve set the record for consecutive victories in a single season.
Verstappen’s overwhelming dominance, on the other hand, brings a sense of predictability. Because of the team’s faultless execution and Verstappen’s unparalleled pace, the outcome seemed all but clear the moment he took the lead.
Verstappen’s amazing form commands respect despite the predictability. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner described it as a “magic race,” even if it lacked suspense for neutral fans. Verstappen’s performance, along with his lighthearted demeanour, shows a driver at the pinnacle of his abilities.
A Break to Regroup
As Formula One heads into the summer break, it provides much-needed relief to racers. A chance to recuperate and strategize, perhaps with the goal of introducing some surprise in the second half of the season. Meanwhile, the rest of the field, which includes Charles Leclerc, Lewis Hamilton, and Fernando Alonso, must consider how to close the growing gap and end Verstappen’s supremacy.
The Belgian Grand Prix surely made an impression, with Verstappen comfortably transforming the courses into his playground. It’s a show that, according to Horner, happens “once in a generation.” As the Formula One season comes to a close, all eyes will be on the Netherlands Grand Prix at the end of August. Will Verstappen be able to equal Vettel’s record? Only time will tell.