Max Verstappen's Belgian Dominance Extinguishes Any Remaining Hope For His Rivals

Verstappen came from P6 to win by 20 seconds at Spa
07:00, 31 Jul 2023

Max Verstappen began the Belgian Grand Prix in sixth place having received a five -place grid penalty for changing his gearbox. However, he could have started the race in Amsterdam and still won - he’s just that far clear of any other driver on the track. The two-time world champion made a mockery of the rest of the pack in double quick time at Spa. 

First, Verstappen blasted past Piastri and Sainz in the opening moments. By lap six he was past Lewis Hamilton and into the top three. On lap nine, he cruised past Charles Leclerc like he wasn’t even there. 

With three seconds between himself and his teammate, the world champion set after Sergio Perez. Even in the same car, he was able to take huge chunks of time out of Checo’s lead until, on lap 17, he took the lead of the Belgian Grand Prix. 


One fastest lap later and Verstappen’s lead was well over a second. The fastest driver in the fastest car romped through the field, to the front and from that point, the rest of the race wrote itself. Even the prospect of rain couldn’t stop Red Bull securing a one-two, and Verstappen recording his eighth victory in a row. 

He’s now just one win away from matching Sebastien Vettel’s record of nine Formula One victories in a row, and who knows where this incredible dominance will end? At the halfway stage of the season, ahead of the summer break, he’s near-certain to win his third consecutive Drivers’ Championship. 

But more than that, he may not lose another race this season based on what we saw this weekend, and what we have witnessed over the past four months. It’s a period of dominance we haven’t seen before in the sport. Even in Michael Schumacher’s heyday, he didn’t win as many races in such a short period of time. And there doesn’t seem to be anything that any other team or driver can do. 


This outrageous level of dominance has left many fans feeling slightly hollow. There’s simply no jeopardy or drama now when it comes to the race winner in Formula One, and Verstappen’s 20 second margin of victory says it all. It’s not a one off, it’s a fortnightly occurrence that is taking the excitement away from the sport. 

Behind Verstappen, and outside the top five, there is some genuinely fantastic racing to enjoy. Lando Norris, George Russel, Esteban Ocon and Yuki Tsunoda thrilled us at Spa, and the unpredictability of the final points positions is what makes the sport so watchable. But up front, it is more of the same. 

Unless after the summer break Verstappen is forced to race with three wheels, his dominance will not end this season. Mercedes are doing everything in their power to close the gap and Ferrari have improved, but neither of Red Bull’s competitors look like being able to win a race this season. In truth, they may already be planning for 2024. 

The title is Verstappen’s and they are set to break every single record along the way. The summer break is unlikely to change anything, but it will give us a three week break from this Red Bull onslaught. Formula One needs a competitive title race for the good of the sport, but it isn’t going to happen this year.

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