Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022

Verstappen awaits coronation as crushing Spa win makes second title a formality

2022 Belgian Grand Prix review

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Every world championship in Formula 1 is won through the combined efforts of the many races held during a season, each one equal in the points it contributes to the final total.

But while all wins are worth 25 points, not every victory is the same. For almost every championship-worthy campaign, there is always one outstanding win that sticks out in the memory, defining the brilliance that eventual champion has shown in the cockpit over the many months of the season.

Max Verstappen will surely finish his 2022 season as world champion for the second successive year. But his otherworldly performance during the Belgian Grand Prix may well prove to be the iconic drive that second title will always be remembered by.

As Formula 1 returned to Spa-Francorchamps, a spate of power unit grid penalties throughout the field promised fans would be treated to an intriguing grand prix to restart the season. They were taken by Verstappen and his closest championship rival Charles Leclerc, plus Esteban Ocon, Lando Norris, Zhou Guanyu, Mick Schumacher and Yuki Tsunoda. They were all relegated to the rear, while Valtteri Bottas changed a smaller number of parts which enabled him to sit ahead of them on the grid.

Race start, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022
Soft tyres fired Sainz into the lead as Perez fell back
Verstappen had been in a league of his own on Saturday, taking pole by six tenths of a second before handing it over to Carlos Sainz Jnr, the fastest of those unburdened by grid penalties for the weekend. Sergio Perez, who would start from the front row alongside the Ferrari, had no hesitation about giving away exactly what his tactics would be for the start of the race.

“I think certainly you don’t want to be leading into Eau Rouge if there’s a car behind, really close by,” he said after qualifying. “Hopefully we can make the most out of it, get a good start and get the lead from Carlos early on.”

With the Red Bull driver having made his plans for the start crystal clear, Ferrari decided the best form of defence was attack. When the tyre blankets were removed on the grid minutes from the formation lap, Sainz was the only driver starting from the top 10 to reveal red-marked soft tyres on his car – clearly intended to give him the best possible traction out of La Source for the 25-second full-throttle run to the braking zone of Les Combes.

When the lights went out, Perez had to immediately abandon all hopes of getting past Sainz and worry instead about being double-teamed by Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton behind. The two champions were already by Perez before they had even reached the braking zone for La Source. As he aimed for the apex, George Russell cheekily nipped up the inside for good measure, demoting Perez three places before he’d even got through the first corner.

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But while Perez lost three places off the line, Verstappen had gained three. He was already in the top 10 by the time the field bolted past the endurance race pit lane and up Eau Rouge for the first time. Sainz had eight tenths over Alonso behind, enough to keep him ahead along the Kemmel Straight. Instead, Alonso was pressured by Hamilton who was more than close enough to make a move to the outside of him at Les Combes.

Hamilton inexplicably turned in on Alonso
For a driver who so rarely makes errors, that Hamilton expected Alonso of all drivers to back out of their battle was a striking misjudgement on his part. As he cut to an apex already occupied by the Alpine, the rear of his car pitched into the air before slamming down on the asphalt with enough force to cause his Mercedes to begin instantly leaking fluid behind him.

In the melee of the pack, Verstappen was passed by Alexander Albon and briefly found Leclerc side-by-side with him heading down to Speakers’ Corner. But Verstappen stubbornly rebuked Leclerc’s advances around the outside to retain tenth.

Wounded, Hamilton fell back through the pack, his car indiscriminately spraying the field with fluid as they passed him. Verstappen got a coating exiting Stavelot and quickly took a tear off from his visor, releasing it from the right side of the cockpit where it was promptly hoovered up into the right-front brake duct of Leclerc’s chasing Ferrari – unbeknown to the driver.

At the end of the first lap, Sainz’s advantage was over two seconds from Perez with George Russell now in third thanks to Hamilton and Alonso’s fracas. But Sainz’s hopes of pulling any kind of a gap over Perez with his soft tyres were soon dashed midway through the second lap.

Down in 11th, Nicholas Latifi clipped birthday boy Valtteri Bottas after spinning on the exit of Les Combes, leaving the Alfa Romeo driver with nowhere to go but into the gravel. While Latifi was able to sheepishly carry on his way, Bottas was beached. As he climbed out to start his birthday celebrations slightly earlier than planned, the Safety Car was deployed. Hamilton had stopped his wounded W13 at Blanchimont in the meantime, which also needed to be recovered.

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With the field neutralised, Leclerc checked in on his progress up the order. “Position?” he asked.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022
It was another afternoon of misery and misfortune for Leclerc
“So at the moment you are P10,” Xavier Marcos Padros replied. “Verstappen, P8.”

“No…” Leclerc corrected his race engineer. “Verstappen is in front.”

“So you are P9, yeah…” Marcos Padros confirmed, before passing on far more pressing information to his driver. “The front-right brake temperature seems to be hot, but we are checking it.”

“I think there is some smoke from the front-right,” Leclerc reported back before being given the call to pit at the end of the lap. “Argh! I think it must be a tear-off.” Leclerc’s hunch was spot-on. It took less than four seconds for his pit crew to resolve the problem, but it came at the cost of eight positions, leaving him one place further back than where he’d started the race.

With the race set to resume at the start of lap five, Sainz tried to take advantage of the final chicane to give himself a buffer over Perez behind. That appeared to backfire when he locked up and missed the apex by a country mile, but his error also forced Perez and the pack behind him to bunch up at the final corner, ironically allowing him the breathing space he had sought by accident.

As Sainz pulled away from Perez a second time, Verstappen resumed his charge through the field. He picked off Albon around the outside of Bruxelles with almost laughable ease before diving up the inside of Daniel Ricciardo into the final chicane thanks in part to the McLaren driver’s draggy rear wing doing him no favours. The following lap, Sebastian Vettel was his next victim into the Bus Stop. He’d gained three places in two laps, before DRS had even been activated.

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Once it was, Verstappen simply breezed past Alonso and up into fourth. Completing the seventh lap, Verstappen was already just five seconds away from the race leader having started 14th. With Verstappen running a second faster than anyone else on the track, fourth-placed George Russell was barely an obstacle for the Red Bull, Verstappen dispatching the Mercedes into Les Combes as if the pair were running in two different categories.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022
Verstappen didn’t need his team’s help to get past Perez
Eventually, complaints about tyres began to fill the radio waves around the Spa circuit. Ferrari called Sainz in to pit at the end of lap 11 for the medium compound. He rejoined sandwiched between Ricciardo and Lance Stroll in sixth. That also meant that Verstappen inherited the lead when he inevitably passed Perez on the next trip through the Kemmel Straight, but Red Bull were not worried about their now-leader’s tyres after seeing virtually everyone on the mediums struggling despite their supposed longer life.

Despite being starting the race on mediums, Perez was the called into the pits before his soft-shod team mate at the end of lap 14 for a second set having fallen almost four seconds behind his team mate over three laps. He came out well behind Sainz but just ahead of Leclerc and was fortunate not to get into trouble when he squeezed the Ferrari hard in the braking zone at Les Combes.

Verstappen made his first stop a lap later, moving onto the mediums and appearing from the pit lane just in front of his team mate who had made up three seconds on him with his new rubber. However, it would be as close as Perez would get again to the back of Verstappen, who quickly began reeling in Sainz ahead of him at a menacingly fast rate. Such was Verstappen’s superior pace, his engineer Giampiero Lambiase incorrectly assumed that the seven tenths of a second Sainz lost to him in the first sector of lap 17 must have been down to a mistake by the race leader.

By the stat of the next time, what had appeared inevitable was now imminent. After just 40 minutes and 120 kilometres into the 308km grand prix, Verstappen completed his charge from 14th to first by driving clean around the Ferrari with DRS along the Kemmel Straight.

Now free with a clear track in front of him, Verstappen began to stretch his legs, quickly getting smaller in Sainz’s vision ahead. Instead, Sainz and Ferrari now had to worry about Perez behind, who was also lapping easily quicker than him. Perez surgically grafted away the gap to the Ferrari until getting within DRS range at the start of lap 20. From there, it was simply a matter of time until Perez gave Sainz the same treatment Verstappen had given him three laps prior. The race was still not half-done, yet Red Bull’s third one-two of the season now seemed all but assured.

About half a lap behind Verstappen, the competition for the final points places was hotting up. Albon, ninth, was using his Williams’ remarkable top speed to his advantage and holding off a train of cars including Ricciardo, Stroll, Lando Norris and Zhou Guanyu. Ricciardo was well inside DRS range, but a shortage of parts at McLaren meant he was running an older, sub-optimal rear wing specification, which was doing him no favours in his bid to get past Albon.

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Following his enforced pit stop behind the Safety Car, Leclerc was now up to fifth, but his medium tyres were at the same threshold that many in the field had reached before they had taken their first stops. Looking at the queue of cars behind Albon, Ferrari saw a window to pit Leclerc and called him in for a final stop for another set of mediums.

Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022
Alonso profited from Leclerc’s penalty, taking fifth place
“Okay, if you think they will last until the end of the race,” Leclerc hesitantly agreed.

Both Sainz and Leclerc were called in one after the other – Sainz for hards, Leclerc for mediums – with Sainz back out behind Russell and Leclerc successfully avoiding being caught behind the gaggle of cars chasing Albon. Red Bull covered off Sainz by boxing Perez two laps later, then the leader at the end of lap 30. But with Perez retaining a margin of over three seconds to Sainz and quickly pulling away, it was clear there would be no further threat to the Red Bulls from the third-placed Ferrari in the final quarter of the race.

The podium positions were seemingly set with over 10 laps of the race’s 44 still to run. With Leclerc only falling further back from fourth placed Russell ahead, Ferrari looked at the timing screens to see that Alonso was nearly 19 seconds behind him. The Ferrari pit wall began to debate whether to bring in Leclerc to attempt to go for the fastest lap bonus point. The only problem was, Alonso was keeping that gap fairly static as the final laps ticked away.

“If we increase the pace by three to four tenths, to open the gap to Alonso, we can attempt the fastest lap,” Marcos Padros told Leclerc. He instantly went half a second quicker, indicating his eagerness to capitalise on the opportunity.

“So at the moment, fastest lap is Verstappen: 49.4,” Marcos Padros confirmed. “Freaking hell,” came Leclerc’s reply. As the race reached three laps to go, Ferrari became increasingly convinced that this was a worthwhile pursuit for them.

“If we stop now, we will be one second ahead of Alonso,” Marcos Padros explained. “That will be to attempt for the fastest lap. So box this lap.”

Leclerc, however, was far from convinced. “I would not risk it this time,” he warned. “Up to you if you really want to try it, but I would not risk it.”

Ferrari, however, did want to risk it. But immediately their calculations appeared to be proven incorrect as he blended out of the pit lane not one second ahead of Alonso but barely a tenth in front of him as they charged up the hill. With no DRS for Leclerc, the Alpine zoomed by the Ferrari down the Kemmel Straight. It seemed as if Leclerc’s fears had been realised.

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Leclerc was wise enough to realise the benefits of keeping behind the Alpine until the start of the final lap to benefit from the tow as they exited La Source for the final time. He executed his tactic perfectly, flying past the Alpine with 16km/h extra speed by the time he reached the braking zone for Les Combes.

However, despite setting a personal best middle sector, Leclerc’s 1’49.984 fell short of Verstappen’s overall fastest time – set earlier in the race on harder tyres with more fuel – by six tenths of a second.

Not that Verstappen himself would likely care either way as he was far more occupied with showboating his way out of the final corner with a lazy powerslide to punctuate the climax of the most dominant performance of his career. Having aimed for “at least” a podium after qualifying, that he had cut through the field so rapidly to win by close to 20 seconds made it seem almost ludicrous that anyone had ever questioned whether he would win in the first place.

“Congratulations. Awesome drive,” Lambiase told his driver so casually it could almost be mistaken for sarcasm.

“Amazing Sunday, guys,” Verstappen replied. “Car was a rocketship all weekend. Unbelievable.”

Perez arrived across the line 18 seconds later to complete the one-two, with Sainz a further nine back. “Not easy,” Sainz summed up resignedly. “No, not easy,” Riccardo Adami agreed. “You did your best.”

Russell crossed the line in fourth, his pre-race prediction that he would spend the race in “no man’s land” having provedattempt final to snatch t accurate. But behind the Mercedes, Leclerc’s latest frustrating Sunday was about to get even more aggravating.

Not only did his fastest lap attempt fail to snatch the point away from Verstappen, but soon after taking the chequered flag it was confirmed that Leclerc would be moved behind Alonso in the classification after breaking the pit lane speed limit by 1km/h during his penultimate-lap pit stop.

“You did a good job,” Marcos Padros told his driver. But Leclerc was left lamenting his misfortune once again.

Alex Albon, Williams, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022
Albon’s superb drive was rewarded with a rare point
“Freaking tear-off,” he muttered, bitterly. “Freaking tear-off…”

Ocon claimed seventh from 16th on the grid, with Sebastian Vettel eighth in a solid result for Aston Martin and Pierre Gasly impressively delivering AlphaTauri’s first points since Baku despite starting from the pit lane.

Another striking result was achieved by Albon, who had resisted strong and sustained pressure over the second half of the race to take the final point in 10th, ahead of a train of five cars less than six seconds behind him at the flag.

“Yes! Yes boys!,” Albon roared over the finish line. “Fuck… that was one of the best races I think I’ve done. Oh my god…”

But not even Albon’s heroics could overshadow the stunning weekend that Verstappen had put together. Despite storming through the field to record statistically one of the greatest recoveries through the field the sport had ever seen, Verstappen’s demeanour was more like that of someone who had just enjoyed a pleasant afternoon stroll through the park.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022
With a 98-point title lead, Verstappen is unlikely to be beaten
“It was nice,” the race winner summed up. “I really enjoyed it, passing cars.”

“Of course, some of them are quite a lot slower than us, so it was quite easy to get them but you still need to get them as quickly as possible. So that was definitely the nice part of it.”

With his second world championship title now little more than a formality, there will still be some waiting for Verstappen to do until he will likely clinch the title with multiple rounds to spare. But with his home grand prix at Zandvoort awaiting him next weekend, the Dutch fans might as well kick off the celebrations in advance.

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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62 comments on “Verstappen awaits coronation as crushing Spa win makes second title a formality”

  1. For a driver who so rarely makes errors, that Hamilton expected Alonso of all drivers to back out of their battle was a striking misjudgement on his part.

    Definitely. Probably the biggest mistake I’ve ever seen from Lewis. Not just a misjudgement of distances, but an assumption that Alonso would give anything.

    1. Kindy reminds me Lewis’ 2011 year where he was making lots of unforced mistakes, crashing in qualy with Maldonado, in race with Kobayashi, in multiple races with Massa… It was like the old good Lewis :)

    2. He seriously, and dangerously misjudged his entry speed into Copse last year too. But we can’t mention that…

      1. You all have amnesia. Lewis has countless times avoided collision with others with his fine driving. Occasionally an incident happens. Nobody is impervious to mistake. It’s so uncommon that when it happens to him you all pick on it as if he were Maldonado. You all act in bad faith.

        1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
          29th August 2022, 12:38

          Hamilton has crashed into plenty of drivers also in more recent years, at 1 point he seemed to have a particular go at hitting Red Bull drivers preventing them from scoring their much needed podiums to keep their seat.

          In earlier years he had plenty of run ins with Massa. There was a bit of correct point in what Alonso said if you take it in general and that it is far far easier to not be involved in incidents and crashes if you start on front row and disappear in the distance than when you start in the middle of the pack and have to make your way forwards in only a little bit faster car.

          1. Just to make the picture a bit more complete: HAM avoided like 20 crash attempts of VER last year.

          2. @romtrain
            Lap 1 in Austin 2015. Remind you of anything?
            Looks a lot like Imola and Spain last year where the car behind and on the outside has to yield. The first error between them last year was Silverstone where the car behind made contact. Everything after that was all out war.

          3. Itsmeagain (@)
            29th August 2022, 20:30

            @romtrain, again, please stay at the facts. Otherwise please mention all those 20 times. We all know you are one of the most frustrated here (and polarized) but there is a time to stop acting like this.

          4. an orange biased facts-twister telling others to stay by the facts? come on

        2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          29th August 2022, 12:49

          @andre I think what they’re saying is that Lewis’s biggest mistake did not factor into the equation that Alonso was there and he wasn’t going to yield.

      2. G, if anything the Hamilton & Alonso collision showed that being on the outside (like Verstappen was on Hamilton at Copse) means you need to be extra careful and give the inside driver space, not try to steer into them, especially on the first lap. Max and Lewis made the same mistake and both paid the price of a DNF.

    3. Hamilton was nearly always bad at racing in the midfield when his car wasnt 2 secs faster than everyone around him.
      Pre meecedes domination years were a clear example and as Mercedes fell back this year its showing again.
      Would be really nice to see anglos finally waking up that his greatest of all time status is manufactured by media, fia and liberty:) Every one of them profits from it

      1. maybe his status comes from having the most wins and titles? but dont let facts stand in the way of your bias.

      2. Too true and astute … put him in a Williams starting in P20

    4. More anti Lewis dog whistling as usual holding him to an higher standard than any other driver.. he has been racing for 20 years and made few avoidable accidents in that time with the lowest unforced error/race ratio of any driver on the grid but you always see the same repeated posts whining about:

      Silverstone 2021
      when he made contact with albon

      odd how you dismiss the 100’s of times he has to avoid accidents or every other drivers unforced errors but they never get held to the same level of hatred and ridicule as Lewis does that has got out of control since the toxic orange army stated to visit races.

      1. I don’t criticise hamilton for a crash here and there (he indeed often avoids accidents), and certainly not for this one, where he already paid the price, but stuff like silverstone felt like taking out the opponent to recover a massive disadvantage in the championship, apart from the minimum 18 points swing in silverstone there was also the penalty effect cause of the damaged car.

      2. But really, in silverstone I would criticise more the rules, it’s not acceptable imo that you can get a tiny 10 sec penalty that still doesn’t stop you from winning after causing such a crash.

        1. But really, in silverstone I would criticise more the rules, it’s not acceptable imo that you can get a tiny 10 sec penalty that still doesn’t stop you from winning after causing such a crash.

          I find it interesting that the LH / FA incident this weekend is judged as a mistake by LH in assuming Alonso would give way and cutting in (and coming a cropper), when the Silverstone collision was the guy on the outside cutting in (and coming a cropper) and certain people want that to be judged as all the fault of the guy on the inside line.
          The main difference between the two incidents is the extra track width available at Silverstone that wasn’t used by the guy on the outside.

          1. @SteveP no, the main difference was the extra track width available on the INside. Plenty at Silverstone, none yesterday.
            Yesterday’s report specifically mentioned this fact.
            Track space not used on the outside was the case both in Silverstone and in Spa yesterday, so that cannot be the difference. As long as the car on the outside and ahead leaves enough space for the car on the inside he won’t be at fault.

          2. @Steve P
            A good reference for you would be the different lines Lewis took at Copse against both Max in 2021 and Charles this year. Against Charles he had wheels on the inside kerb like Alonso in Spa and was still close to touching Leclercs back wheel. Against Max he was nearly a car width away from the inside kerb, as if Max wasn’t going to be there. Max and Charles had near identical lines too.

          3. @SteveP:
            You remember incorrectly though. There was plenty of space.

        2. The rules are fine, and would have allowed the steward to give Hamilton anything from a 10 second stop and go penalty to a disqualification. Why those stewards chose not to, well… who knows.

    5. Coventry Climax
      29th August 2022, 18:50

      The biggest mistake is this, by Will Wood:

      Every world championship in Formula 1 is won through the combined efforts of the many races held during a season, each one equal in the points it contributes to the final total.

      We had a -thank god it was short- period with double points for the final race, and currently we have weekends where there’s more points awarded than other wekends, thnks to these silly sprint thingies.
      When I encounter BS in the first paragraph, I stop reading immediately. Same as with “in errors language being spelling language people are good not.”
      Shame, given the length of the article, he put in a lot of work.

  2. At this rate, Max could theoretically clinch the championship as early as in Singapore.
    In the following theoretical scenarios, even if Charles won all remaining races with the FLAP point, including Brazil Sprint, he’d still finish the season with fewer points if Max simultaneously finished 3rd 6x & 4th twice + 4th in the remaining Sprint.
    Relative to Checo, the equivalent pattern is 3rd 7x, 4th once, & 2nd in Sprint.
    (LEC) 98-14-14-11-11-11-11-3-11-11 = 1 behind at season’s end.
    (PER) 93-14-11-11-11-11-11-1-11-11 = 1 behind at season’s end.

    1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      29th August 2022, 9:08

      Which means Max at the earliest can be champion with 5 races remaining which both in numbers and percentage is not as dominant as Schumacher in 2002 (17 podiums out of 17 races) who won with 6 races remaining out of a 17 races season (champion after 11 races).

      If Max would be Champion after Singapore he would be the joined 2nd champion with most races left, tied with Mansell in 1992 however that was a 16 race season.

      If Max would be Champion after Japan he would be the joined 3rd champion with most races left, tied with Schumacher (2001 & 2004) and Vettel (2011).

      In terms of % Max at Singapore would be ranked 8th with champion after 78.3% of season and if at Japan he likely would not be in top 10 with being champion after 82.6% of season.
      Interesting that longer seasons make it easier to be champion with more races left but much harder to be champion with least % of season past.

      After the Belgium race with 8 races left only 7 drivers (Norris and up) and 3 teams (Mercedes and up) can still mathematically become champion. Prior to Belgium race that was 14 drivers and 6 teams.

      1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
        29th August 2022, 9:22

        Apologies correction, 2022 has 22 races not 23 races, corrected in bold below:

        In terms of % Max at Singapore would be ranked 7th with champion after 77.3% of season and if at Japan he likely would not be in top 10 with being champion after 81.8% of season.
        Interesting that longer seasons make it easier to be champion with more races left but much harder to be champion with least % of season past.

      2. @jerejj @jelle-van-der-meer
        Let’s hope that this doesn’t happen, for the sake of F1. Verstappen and Red Bull are worthy champions, but a new era of dominance is the last that F1 needs.

        1. Agree, way too many dominant seasons lately, 2009 first half brawn was dominant, 2011 and 2013 dominant red bull, in 2013 particularly the 2nd half, 2014-2016 merc to a new level, 2019-2020 again, especially so in 2020, this season so far has been quite competitive in terms of speed, but spa was worrying to see.

        2. And I think more striking is that in the last 13 years (2010-2022) only 2 teams won the title!

      3. Also interesting if we were to take 25 pts for a win (without sprint races), Max would have already been champion if it’s a 17-race season, or even champion last race if it’s a 16-race season.

        So longer seasons do provide longer championship fights, but if there’s a dominant team it could prolong the dull season more. So a double-edged sword.

  3. a new era of dominance is the last that F1 needs.

    Just don’t hold your breath waiting for Ferrari to be the challengers, the only target Ferrari seem to have firmly in their sights is their own feet.

    1. I do accept that after a big regulation change, there is always a team that found the best solution. But instead of the others playing catchup, it seems that Red Bull found even more pace than the others.

    2. Sadly, it seems the only team that can realistically challenge red bull is mercedes, ferrari doesn’t look like a serious challenger even when the car is there for a reason or another (2017, 2018, 2022).

  4. Verstappen is on a streak of 3 wins. With 8 races to go, he can beat the 9-in-a-row wins Vettel scored in 2013. Given the advantage of the RB18, it’s totally doable.

    All in all, there is little (I’m being overtly cautious here) chance for him not to be crowned champion at the end of the year. The name of the runner-up is still undecided.

    1. Runner up is first loser. In 5 years no one will remember.

      1. I remember a lot of runner ups with close battles, dq aside who doesn’t remember schumacher vs villeneuve battle in 1997, or schumacher-hill in 1994-1995, villeneuve-hill in 1996, schumacher-alonso in 2006, hakkinen-irvine in 1999, schumacher-hakkinen in 1998-2000?

        In fact this year I would look closely at the runner up battle, also in the constructor, since there’s nothing to see about 1st place.

  5. Everyone noticing the pattern that nearly always when FIA tries to mess with Red Bull and try to slow them down, for the last 10 or more years, they always come back with wven bigger advantage. Is this some kind of Newey determination or just the fact that other teams get slowed down even more by the rules?

    1. nope, the regulations changes were originally decided upon in 2018 , long before Red Bull had any kind of advantage over Mercedes…

  6. Suffering Williams Fan
    29th August 2022, 11:31

    I feel like the quality of Verstappen’s race is being overstated a bit here – qualifying was outstanding sure, but to me the race was a bit of a formality given Red Bull’s pace advantage at Spa. His penalties left him not at the very back of the grid, but a net 13th, and was in the top 10 almost immediately at the start, and after that a safety car reduced the gap to the front from not very much to basically nothing. He then largely drove past a car a lap to be in the lead well before half distance – I don’t think he actually fought anyone.

    It was a solid drive in an utterly dominant car, getting the job done (so a mature champion’s drive in that sense) with the fastest lap (which Leclerc couldn’t even match with a slipstream after boxing for softs for a final lap effort), but if this race is remembered as an outstanding one for the championship I think it will be for the dominance of the car, not for the brilliance of the drive (Verstappen has had more impressive races already this season).

    1. Yes, it was a foregone conclusion, like hamilton in brazil 2021, only really verstappen opposed him that race.

    2. The most tricky part was probably surviving lap 1. Stroll went off track in Les Combes and came back right in front of him which he had to avoid, which then allowed Albon to go around him and nearly clip him, then he was on the outside of Stroll around Bruxelles who closed the door and allowed Leclerc briefly past. He then put a rather feisty move on Leclerc to get past him again.

      After that it was pretty much smooth sailing but he had to use his racing brain for that sequence.

    3. I agree, MV obviously did a good and clean job but nothing earthshaking. He avoided the usual midfield mess and then overtook everyone with insulting superiority, there never was a proper fight.

  7. A lot of people were chafing at the bit to have these new chassis regs brought in claiming they would end one-team dominance and promote closer racing.
    While others like me would have preferred the chassis rules had not changed relying on evolution to bring the teams closer together in terms of competitiveness. Cars can certainly follow closer without issue now.
    I have not kept count of the number of overtakes so I can’t say that there is more per race or not. It is obvious that the main case for the new regs has not worked, RB with Verstappen has won the WDC easily. On the bright side, the mid-field has closed up and provides brilliant racing.

    1. I wouldn’t go by one race at Spa alone and say RedBull are dominant all of a sudden. I hope the Ferrari is able to match them again in Zandvoort.
      These set of rules will be great, in my opinion, once the other teams iron out their issues and find the right development paths.
      RedBull aren’t out of reach, they don’t have a rocket engine or anything that the others are restricted with matching.

    2. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      29th August 2022, 12:46

      There is much more close racing between cars, more battle up and down the paddock.

      Going into the summer break with a 80 point lead had little to do with Red Bull car but much more with the failures of Ferrari and Leclerc, overall over the first 13 races Ferrari had the slightly faster car but wasted too many points. We should have gone into the summer break with Leclerc and Max very close in the championship standings.

      In none of the first 13 races Max had more than a few tenths advantage and often a few tenth disadvantage but Max and Red Bull made far fewer errors and executed what was needed to near perfection.
      Except for his 2 DNF, when Max had an issue/error he lost little points while when Leclerc didn’t win he often lost big amount of points.

    3. Those (unwanted , not needed) chassis rules only come into force next year.

    4. @johnrkh The technical regulation changes didn’t set out to avoid dominance, but to create raceable cars. Cars that can follow closely, less sensitive to dirty air (and creating less of it).

      I would say they have largely succeed in that goal.

      It’s the budget cap that aims to close up the field. And to rule the effectiveness of the cap, we will have to wait longer. The teams have been able to throw money at 2022 cars before the cap came into effect, so it’s normal we still see big differences.
      In theory we should see the gaps close up in the coming years.


    5. @johnrkh
      I agree it is a good thing to have a steady set of rules so performance can converge over time. But I still prefer them to do that with a chassis that allows close following. The previous chassis was exceptionally bad at it so I feel it was a good move. …would be better even if they could ditch DRS though

  8. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    29th August 2022, 12:45

    The good news is that now that Max wins this one, the FIA can take away last year’s and give it back to Lewis with an apology for stealing it.

    It’s part of the revived “You can be a Champion” program where the FIA assists a driver to win the championship.

    1. It’s more Mercedes who should apologize to Lewis since the team had a free pit stop after the safety car was deployed: VER was 12s behind HAM just before the SC, but when HAM was at pit entry, VER was 18s late, and the pit stop duration would be 14s, as judged by the FIA.
      As usual Mercedes fans prefer to ignore thee shortcomings of Mercedes about strategies under stress.

      1. While I see your point, watching that race it felt like there was little time to do what you suggest, there was the VSC opportunity earlier but hamilton’s car advantage was sufficient to still be able to hold verstappen at some distance, so it felt unnecessary to pit him, I always thought he would come out behind verstappen if he had stopped with the final SC, was quite a gamble either way, he had more to lose than verstappen in that situation.

      2. Nope, if merc would have pitted then HAM would have lost track position and the race would have ended behind SC. It was obvious in the final 4-5 races, that FIA preferred a new champion, if possible within the rules (even going as far as eventually breaking them, to achieve it).

      3. Don’t forget that nearly everyone expected a normal restart before the delay in clearing up the crash which piled the pressure on. I’d say Merc thought their blushes were going to be saved by the delay at the time as they didn’t put.

    2. And hamilton can apologise for silverstone and bottas for hungary and give it back to verstappen!

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        29th August 2022, 14:25

        I believe Pirelli have already apologised to max and confirmed he can have his 25 points back for Baku. Starting to look like a bit of a dominant win….

      2. Brazil, Jeddah, Monza. Many apologies in the other direction…

        1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
          29th August 2022, 15:42

          Yeah Max was a bit naughty touching/breaking Lewis rear wing in Brazil.

    3. Lewis made more errors last season. So wouldn’t be a deserving Championship.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        29th August 2022, 19:27

        Errors have nothing to do with being a deserving Champion. If Lewis could have overtaken cars before the corner like Max’s could, he would probably not have made mistakes. Mistakes are usually the result of pressure and they were made early in the season which goes to show that Mercedes was under pressure from the get-go.

        If we’re going to look at errors, we’ll all agree that in any other year Max would have been disqualified from the championship based on his errors on track.

        The Red Bull seemed superior to Lewis and me and it was clearly superior as Lewis could barely overtake other cars spending lap after lap after lap trying to get a slight mistake from the driver in front so he could get close to them. To me, that’s what made the season interesting – Lewis’ relentless perseverance to try and pass a car that was really unpassable for anyone else.

        On the other hand, the Red Bull car with the slower driver was chewing up the field like Pacman asking who’s next on the menu and holding up Lewis to the tune of 10 seconds – that’s how much better the Red Bull was.

    4. @freelittlebirds ok, so do we then finally void Singapore 2008’s race result as well?

      The premise that Baku happened because of pressure, or that Lewis seemingly didn’t turn up in Monaco because of pressure, come on then. If he had done better he would’ve won regardless of AD. Conversely if Hungary or Baku wouldn’t have happened, Max would’ve been champion regardless of AD.

      Max is a deserving champion. As per Toto’s own words. No matter how long frustrated fans will go on about it, like they pretty much try to invalidate all championships wins of other drivers. Just look at any online comments section beneath articles that mention Rosberg.

      1. @mattds
        O no not tHe MaLaSiAn EnGiNe again

  9. The title of this article is very misleading, is this not the first title that Verstappen may or will win

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