Max Verstappen recovered from a five-place gearbox penalty to claim his eighth successive victory in the 2023 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix, with teammate Sergio Perez adding to the celebrations for Red Bull as he completed a one-two result.
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Verstappen gradually picked off his rivals across a tense 44-lap encounter at Spa-Francorchamps, taking P1 after Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc had started the race on pole. The championship leader then kept his car on the track during a mid-race shower that threatened to – but did not quite force – a move from slick tyres to intermediates.
Perez also worked his way past Leclerc to come home in the runner-up spot, crossing the line some 20 seconds behind Verstappen and giving Red Bull their first perfect result since the Miami Grand Prix back in May.
Leclerc held on for the final podium position, denying seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton (who pitted late on to net the fastest lap), while Fernando Alonso put his Aston Martin ahead of the other Mercedes machine of George Russell to take fifth.
Lando Norris initially lost a host of positions after starting the race on medium tyres and then switching to hards, but a move to softs as spits of rain began to fall proved inspired, and he gobbled up the competition on his grippy rubber and eventually bagged seventh.
Aston Martin secured another double-point finish as Lance Stroll backed up teammate Alonso in the ninth, while Esteban Ocon and Yuki Tsunoda completed the points in the eighth and 10th, respectively, via some late scrapping.
Pierre Gasly went longer into the race than anyone else with a sizeable first stint, but a slow stop when he eventually boxed hindered his efforts and left him 11th at the chequered flag, followed by the Alfa Romeos of Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu.
Williams had mixed it in the points-paying places early on, with the FW45 showing incredible straight-line speed, but they faded as the different slick-tyre strategies played out, leaving Alex Albon 14th and Logan Sargeant 17th.
Haas duo Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg, both impacted by pre-race penalties, wound up 15th and 18th, respectively, while 16th went to the second AlphaTauri of Daniel Ricciardo, who could not match teammate Tsunoda’s points-scoring efforts.
Only 18 cars finished the race after a first-corner clash between Sprint podium finisher Oscar Piastri and Carlos Sainz led to both drivers retiring – the McLaren man clipping the inside wall at La Source and stopping at the side of the track and the Ferrari nursing damage before being called in to retire.
When the drivers returned to parc ferme, Verstappen could not hide his delight as he punched the air in celebration for the 10th time this season, moving just one win away from matching Sebastian Vettel’s successive victory record of nine races in the process.
It also means Verstappen now holds a lead of 125 points over Perez in the drivers’ standings as the Dutchman continues his push towards what would be a third world championship on the bounce.
Mario Isola, Motorsport Director, Pirelli:
Finally, on a day with reasonable weather, the rain only made an appearance briefly without having any significant impact on the way the race played out. Coming into this final part of the weekend practically in the dark increased the number of unknown factors and, along with the large number of dry weather tyres available, as they were only used for a few laps in yesterday’s qualifying, this gave the teams a wider than usual range of possible strategies. Degradation on the Soft and Medium tyres was in line with our simulations, given the relatively low track temperature. These low temperatures also meant the Hard was not very competitive, and it was only used by one driver for a few kilometres. In terms of performance, the other two compounds were up to the task, and the stint lengths varied according to whether a driver chose to push right from the start to make the most of the available grip or manage the situation to lengthen the stint as much as possible, which was the case for the three drivers who only made a single pit stop.
Finally, I would like to congratulate the fans (380,000 attendance) who put up with some very wet weather. They were rewarded with a great show, partly down to the Sprint weekend format, which meant that, right from Friday, there was plenty of excitement on the track. Formula 1 is soon going to take a short break, although we still have two more days of testing on Tuesday and Wednesday here at Spa, working with Aston Martin and McLaren. The daily work programme will depend a lot on what the weather has to offer.
How the race was won from the tyre point of view:
Medium and Soft were the most used compounds during the race, with the Hard only used by Norris for 12 laps in his second stint. 13 drivers opted to start on Softs, seven on Medium. The softest of the three compounds Pirelli brought here proved to be very competitive, also giving the teams greater flexibility in terms of strategy, with seven drivers opting to push right from the start, stopping before lap 10 (Sainz also pitted, having sustained car damage) while others extended the stint as much as possible, like Gasly for example, who pitted after 23 laps. Those who started on Mediums also adopted different strategies: Russell managed to do 22 laps, Stroll just two fewer, while Tsunoda stopped on lap 9 and Alonso on 10. This compound was the out-and-out choice for the second stint, with much more similar stint lengths, in a window between 15 and 20 laps.
The most critical moment of this phase came shortly after half-distance when, for around ten minutes, it rained slightly. Lap times rapidly increased, reaching the limit for the crossover point to intermediates, but then the rain stopped, and the track dried quickly. For the final stages, based partly on what had been learned in the first part of the race, the Soft was back in favour of the teams and drivers. Here too, the stint lengths varied: the first three finishers completed a similar distance (Verstappen 14, Perez 15 and Leclerc 16), Norris did 27, while Ocon and Zhou ran for 19 while Tsunoda and Hulkenberg did 20.
Three drivers did just one stop – Russell, Stroll and Gasly – the first two of these finishing in the points, while the Frenchman was just outside in 11th. Another trio, the two Williams drivers and Lewis Hamilton made three stops. In the case of the Williams pair, it was for strategic reasons, while the seven times world champion came in for a set of new Mediums to secure the extra point for the fastest race lap.
Now it’s time for the Formula 1 summer break. The championship will resume with the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort from 25 to 27 August, and just one week later, the action switches to the final European round of the season, from 1 to 3 September, when Monza hosts the Formula 1 Pirelli Gran Premio d’Italia 2023.
2023 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix Race Results
|1.||1||Max Verstappen||Netherlands||Red Bull Racing||1:22:30.450||25||314|
|2.||11||Sergio Perez||Mexico||Red Bull Racing||+22.305s||18||189|
|3.||16||Charles Leclerc||Monaco||Scuderia Ferrari||+32.259s||15||99|
|4.||44||Lewis Hamilton||Great Britain||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||+49.671s||13||148|
|5.||14||Fernando Alonso||Spain||Aston Martin F1 Team||+56.184s||10||149|
|6.||63||George Russell||Great Britain||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||+63.101s||8||99|
|7.||4||Lando Norris||Great Britain||Mclaren Racing||+73.719s||6||69|
|8.||31||Esteban Ocon||France||Alpine F1 Team||+74.719s||4||35|
|9.||18||Lance Stroll||Canada||Aston Martin F1 Team||+79.340s||2||47|
|10.||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Japan||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+80.221s||1||3|
|11.||10||Pierre Gasly||France||Alpine F1 Team||+83.084s||0||22|
|12.||77||Valtteri Bottas||Finland||Alfa Romeo F1 Team||+85.191s||0||5|
|13.||24||Zhou Guanyu||China||Alfa Romeo F1 Team||+95.441s||0||4|
|14.||45||Alexander Albon||Thailand||Williams Racing||+96.184s||0||11|
|15.||20||Kevin Magnussen||Denmark||Haas F1 Team||+101.754s||0||2|
|16.||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Australia||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+103.071s||0||0|
|17.||2||Logan Sargeant||USA||Williams Racing||+104.476s||0||0|
|18.||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Germany||Haas F1 Team||+110.450s||0||9|
|19.||55||Carlos Sainz||Spain||Scuderia Ferrari||DNF||0||92|
|20.||81||Oscar Piastri||Australia||McLaren Racing||DNF||0||34|
|21.||21||Nyck De Vries||Netherlands||Scuderia AlphaTauri||DNS||0||0|
2023 Constructor Standings
|1.||Red Bull Racing||860|
|2.||Mercedes-AMG F1 Team||409|
|5.||Aston Martin F1 Team||280|
|6.||Alpine F1 Team||120|
|8.||Alfa Romeo Racing||16|
|10.||Haas F1 Team||12|
Here are the team-by-team highlights:Red Bull Racing
Max Verstappen continued his march towards another world championship as he cruised to his eighth straight victory, while teammate Sergio Pérez finished in second to make it a fifth one-two of the season for Oracle Red Bull Racing at the 2023 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix.
The Dutch ace started the race from fifth after being handed a grid penalty but eased his way to the front of the pack, overtaking Pérez on lap 17 and then steadily increasing his advantage before taking the chequered flag and securing his 10th win of the season.
Oracle Red Bull Racing has now won all 12 races this season, with Verstappen heading into the summer break with a 125-point title lead over his teammate. He will now have the chance to equal Sebastian Vettel’s mark of nine consecutive F1 wins in front of home fans when the season gets back underway at the end of August in Zandvoort.
Max Verstappen, Driver, Red Bull Racing
I knew that the car was going to be quick today, and this is one of the best tracks to drive when you have a good car. GP and I were having a laugh today, we’re honest with each other, and that’s how we operate. There’s no need to worry. The first half of the season has been much better than anyone would have ever dreamt of. How we are performing as a Team and winning so many races in a row is incredible. We’re definitely enjoying the moment, but we also want to keep this momentum and level for a long time, so hopefully, after the summer break, we’ll be strong again in Zandvoort.
Sergio Pérez, Driver, Red Bull Racing:
Today was a good day for the team. The race started really well, and then Max came through strong, especially on the second stint, where he pulled away. After he overtook, it was all about bringing it home for the team and managing the pace until the end. That was the main objective. I ended up slipping on turn 11 due to the tricky conditions, so we wanted to then look after the car, manage the tyres and keep the position. Two podiums in a row now, and our main objective is to continue to stay on the podium. We have the summer break to make sure we stay on top of things and have some time to reset. Max did a tremendous job, and it overall was a great team result. I am looking forward to the summer break and going into the second half of the season to come back even stronger.
CHRISTIAN HORNER – CEO and Team Principal, Red Bull Racing
We could never have dreamt of getting to summer break unbeaten. That’s never been achieved before. It’s all about teamwork and everybody doing their bit, and that’s what has happened through the first 12 races of the year. For Max, it’s another masterful win. He managed the race after making his way from P6 to take the lead in the second stint. Checo also had a brilliant first lap, taking the lead of the race and, in the end bringing home our fifth 1-2 of the season. All credit to everybody back in Milton Keynes, this result is their result, and the way they’re applying themselves is the reason that we’re making the history we’re currently making. We need to keep the intensity, but for now, everyone deserves the break, and then we come back hard in Zandvoort.
Red Bull Racing Honda best pictures:
Lewis Hamilton finished fourth, and George Russell sixth in the 2023 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix. Starting third on the soft tyre, Lewis avoided contact as the field squeezed into turn one to maintain his grid position.
As the team heads into the summer break, it has extended its advantage over P3 in the Constructors’ Championship to 51 points.
It was a non-eventful race for me today, with not a huge amount going on. I was unable to keep up with the cars ahead of me and was struggling in the beginning. We know the rear end is our biggest issue, and then we had some bouncing this weekend. In the end, I was keeping the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc within a few seconds, but I couldn’t get any closer. It was nice to have the gap to the car behind and to attempt to go for the fastest lap. It was gusty out there today, and difficult to keep it on the track, but my lap was decent.
We know we have more work to do to close the gap to the front. We’ll work with all the data we’ve accumulated and try to figure out what we can do for the next race after the summer break.
I really felt that I could have been up there with Lewis fighting for a podium for the Team today. Unfortunately, I was boxed in on the opening lap behind Oscar when he picked up damage at the first corner. That cost me a couple of positions and compromised my Grand Prix. After that, it was a good race for us, and we opened the gap between the Constructors by 51 points to third place.
It has been an intense first half of the season for everyone in the Team, so we are looking forward to the break and the chance to switch off for a few weeks before we get back to racing again at Zandvoort. We know our goal is to win races, and I still believe that we can do that this season.
Toto Wolff, Team Principal & CEO
We struggled with the car at points today and experienced some bouncing. That was the main limiting factor this weekend, so we’ve got some work to do to understand that more. We’ve got the shutdown coming up, but we will get our heads down this week, review the data, and see what we can do to make progress.
Going into the summer break, I feel that we are on the right trajectory overall. There is so much hard work going on across the Team to upgrade the car and help us to make those important steps forward. I believe we are making progress, and the direction we are going in is the right one. We will go away, recharge over the summer break and come back refreshed and re-energised.
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
With the ever-changing weather and a sprint race thrown into the mix, it’s been a challenging weekend in Spa. At times, our pace has been good. However, on the slicks today, we needed another tenth to be able to challenge for a podium. On the run to Eau Rouge at the beginning of the race, George, unfortunately, got boxed in behind Piastri’s damaged McLaren. That meant that he was stuck in a pack for the first stint. Once he was clear, we made good progress, but we lost too much time to be able to challenge Alonso at the end. Lewis also couldn’t get close enough to place Leclerc under pressure, so our options were limited.
It was good to bring home a point for the fastest lap, but we need to focus on bringing more performance. The first half of the season has been tough, and everyone in Brackley and Brixworth has been working incredibly hard. We’re looking forward to the break and will be back in Zandvoort, ready to take on the final 10 races of the season.
Mercedes-AMG F1 Team best pictures:Aston Martin Formula One Team
At Spa-Francorchamps, Fernando and Lance ensure Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team enter the summer break third in the Constructors’ Championship.
Fernando and Lance finished P5 and P9, respectively, in Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix to overcome a difficult Sprint and enter the summer break on a high.
I was lucky at the start: I made up a few places into Eau Rouge, but then I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to hold onto those positions through the first stint. We were fast – we kept one Mercedes and one McLaren behind us – so we were in the mix. That’s good news for the whole team as we head into the summer break.
The car felt great today – and really gave me confidence. This is a high-efficiency circuit – and after the British Grand Prix, we were a little concerned about our performance coming here. The team changed a few characteristics of the car, and it really paid off.
It’s been an incredible first half to the season: we are third in the Constructors’ Championship and third in the Drivers’ Championship. It was impossible to think of achieving this before the start of the season
It was good to pick up a couple of points today, especially at a circuit where we haven’t been particularly strong this weekend. We made the decision to go for a long first stint on the Medium tyres because we could see some rain coming on the radar. The rain did come in some areas of the track. It was drivable without needing Intermediates, so we boxed for the Soft tyre. It was a bit of a gamble – if the rain had been heavy enough, we could have saved ourselves the extra stop – but in hindsight, two stops were probably the better strategy. The last stages of the race became about managing the Soft tyre, so I didn’t really have the grip to defend when Esteban [Ocon] was closing in.
We’ve had a mixed start to the season, and I think we know there’s some work to do as we head into the second half. That being said, it’s been a huge step up from last year, and I know the team is motivated to keep pushing for more.
The whole team did an incredible job today. Now, it’s time to recharge our batteries over the summer break and come back stronger.
Mike Krack, Team Principal:
We delivered a more competitive performance today, with both drivers racing well and managing different strategies. Lance was one of three drivers to make only one stop – and that required some excellent tyre management across both stints. With the threat of rain in the middle part of the race, we kept his options open as long as we could and really stretched out the final stint on the Softs.
Fernando’s race was a bit more straightforward, and with clean air for much of the race, he was able to show good pace to bring home fifth place.
The 12 points scored today ensure we maintain third place in the Constructors’ Championship. This was an important confidence boost for everyone in the team before the well-earned summer break.
Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team best pictures:
Scuderia Ferrari goes into the summer break with the satisfaction of scoring its third podium finish of the season, courtesy of Charles Leclerc. He drove a solid race, and his pace was strong and consistent from start to finish. Carlos Sainz was very unlucky, involved in a racing incident with Oscar Piastri at the first corner, which led to him retiring at half-distance because of the damage to his SF-23.
Straightforward race. Charles got away well from the pole but was powerless against the two Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, who soon headed the field. The Monegasque kept pushing, which meant he was able to keep ahead of Lewis Hamilton comfortably. Charles shadowed his rival at both pit stops, coming in one lap later, defending against the undercut. He also took on the same tyres as Hamilton, first the Medium and then the Soft. This was Charles’ 27th Formula 1 podium, Ferrari’s 801st.
Confidence boost. The team now heads into the obligatory summer break knowing there is still much to do to close up on Red Bull, but with the satisfaction of having done a good job in Belgium, the podium finish is well deserved. Without the incident, Carlos would also have been near the front, capable of bringing home a good points tally. The season resumes at the end of August, the 27th to be precise, with the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort.
Carlos Sainz #55
Not the way I wanted to finish the first part of the season. Hamilton stayed behind Perez, and I attacked him on the inside. Then came the contact with Oscar, and that was it, a racing incident, but in my opinion, Oscar was way too optimistic as he was never side by side with me and making that move from behind has never really worked here in Spa. I’m disappointed, but it’s also part of racing.
On a positive note, it looked like the pace was good today, so congrats to the team and Charles on an encouraging result. We need to keep pushing hard to make sure we come back strong after the break and have a good second half of the season.
Charles Leclerc #16
Third was the best result we could have achieved today. We knew that the Red Bulls would be quicker than us, so our target was to maximise points with the package we have, and we did that. We had to base our strategy on Lewis (Hamilton). He had a good pace, and we had to make sure we kept him behind us. The Red Bulls in front then had to react to our moves, so we were all on the same strategy. In terms of tyre management, we didn’t have too much degradation, and we have been doing a good job in that area for the past few races.
The team has done an amazing job of bringing updates ahead of schedule and letting us take steps forward faster than we thought we would. It’s good to finish this first half with a podium, and hopefully, we can maximise our package at the upcoming races after the break too.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
We are happy with Charles’ podium, it was well deserved, and it’s a nice way to head into the summer break. Apart from that, I’d say the weekend in Belgium had several other positives. The pace was good all weekend on rain tyres and slicks, both Medium and Soft. We made the right strategy calls, and all the pit stops went well. Overall, therefore, I think we have made a step forward, and we must start off from this point when we are back on track because only with this attitude can we aim to beat our closest rivals.
It’s a shame for Carlos because he, too, could have got a good result given that his pace was similar to Charles’ all weekend. The first corner here is often tricky, and racing incidents after the start are always a possibility, and that’s what happened. We opted to keep him out on track until the rain shower in the hope there might be a red flag which would have given us a chance to fix the car, but then it became clear that wouldn’t happen, so we decided to retire him.
This first half of the season has seen many highs and lows, but today it was clear we have reacted well after recent races that had not gone the way we wanted. The team all deserve the break, having worked so hard at the track and back in Maranello over the past months, and when we come back, I want to see that same sense of determination.
Scuderia Ferrari best pictures:McLaren Racing
Hear from McLaren Formula 1 driver Lando Norris, Oscar Piastri, and Team Principal Andrea Stella after the 2023 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix.
Oscar is squeezed off track at the first corner on the opening lap resulting in race-ending damage. Lando, struggling on the tyres he began the race with, drops to P10 and pits for Hards. Following a number of pit stops, Lando battles Ricciardo and Zhou for P15. Lando pits again for a fresh set of Soft tyres, emerging from the pit lane at the back of the field. Lando makes his way past Sainz before a brilliant move to overtake Sargeant for P16 at the halfway stage. Another overtaking manoeuvre from Lando to get past Zhou, and he is now up to P13. Lando manages his Soft tyres brilliantly while other cars pit and is able to bring his MCL60 home in P7
A good result. I think we can be pleased with that after the start of the race was frustrating for us. We were just very poor on pace and struggled too much to overtake and defend in the straights. So, we were going backwards and backwards in the opening laps. We tried many things with the strategy, and the only thing to work in the end was to put a Soft tyre on, and the whole race transformed after that. We ended up finishing P7, which was, I think, as good as the race could have gone today. Tough for the team, but we scored some good points, and we have to take that going into the break.
A disappointing end to the weekend. I had my nose in there at Turn One and got a bit caught out with Carlos darting to the inside. My nose was in there. I couldn’t get out of that one, so a shame to have my race over so early. It’s still been a positive weekend, though, and all in all. I think we’ve had some good learning on track, so we can still be confident for the rest of the year.
After a positive Sprint event on Saturday, today in the race, we have had some more difficulties. With Oscar, unfortunately, there was an incident in corner one, Oscar ran out of space, and he touched the wall, breaking the steering system, and he needed to retire the car.
On Lando’s side, we tried our best to stay in the points. We knew we were vulnerable in terms of top speed on the straights, and this was an issue in the race. However, thanks to the strategy and thanks to Lando driving exceptionally well while there was some rain on new Softs, we could find some free air, exploit the pace of the car, and this led us to a good P7 finish.
“We are happy that we scored a good chunk of points over the weekend. It has been a very strong stint before the break. I would like to again thank the whole team for the exceptional work that led us to be competitive and score so many points in the last four races, and we can look positively at the races post-shutdown.
McLaren Racing best pictures:Alpine F1 Team
BWT Alpine F1 Team collected four points from the 2023 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix, with Esteban Ocon climbing from fourteenth on the grid to eighth place at the chequered flag at Spa-Francorchamps. Pierre Gasly was unfortunate not to capitalise on a strong getaway from twelfth on the grid as he fell narrowly short of the points in eleventh.
Esteban’s eighth place sees him score his first points since the Canadian Grand Prix to move back into the top ten in the Drivers’ Championship ahead of the summer break. He converted a two-stop Soft-Medium-Soft strategy coupled with a number of fine overtakes to cruise his way into the points.
Pierre made a strong start from the twelfth but was left with nowhere to go on the run-up Eau Rouge on the opening lap after becoming stuck behind the slow-moving McLaren of Oscar Piastri. That allowed a number of cars to jump Pierre who changed the plan to a one-stop Soft-Medium plan while keeping an eye on possible rain, which failed to materialise into a position where Intermediate tyres were necessary. Despite a charging late effort, he finished three seconds away from the final point.
The team looks ahead to the summer shutdown before Formula 1 returns in Zandvoort in August.
It feels good to be back in the points here in Spa after a few tough weeks where we’ve finished outside the points due to circumstances out of our control. Overall, it was a good recovery drive and a well-executed race from the team today. Eighth place is a very good result after starting from fourteenth on the grid. There were some fun overtakes along the way too, especially on Yuki [Tsunoda] and Alex [Albon]. I think it’s a good way to end a busy weekend for us and a nice way to go into the summer break, where we’ll look to rest and recharge before attacking the second part of the season. Finally, I’d like to wish Otmar, Alan and Pat all the best in the future, and I know we all thank them for their important contributions to the team.
It’s been a frustrating afternoon where we did not score points. I made a pretty good start into Turn 1 and then on the run into Turn 2, gaining a couple of positions. I was very unlucky with Oscar [Piastri], who had damage and was slow up Eau Rouge, and I ended up being stuck behind him with a number of cars able to overtake. That made things difficult for us, left us playing catch-up and then we had to see if we could extend our first stint on Softs with the chance of rain. It did not rain hard enough, so we converted to a one-stop and, in the end, fell just short of the points. Some of the racing was fun out there, but we’re still lacking some power which we need to find. Now we have the summer break, where all of us will take some time to rest and recover, ready to take on the second part of the season. Finally, I wish Otmar, Alan and Pat the very best for their future and a big thanks for all the moments with them during this season.
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal
The team leaves the Belgian Grand Prix weekend with ten points scored, which is a vast improvement after the last two races, where we left without scoring points due to factors beyond our control. We could probably count ourselves unfortunate not to have both cars in the points today, with Pierre just shy of the top ten after his race was compromised on lap one after being caught in traffic in Eau Rouge. Esteban did a very good job of rising from fourteenth to eighth with a well-managed two-stop strategy, including a string of clean and decisive overtakes. Credit to both drivers for their performance this weekend: Esteban today is back in the top ten, and Pierre yesterday for finishing third in the Sprint. Today marks my final race with the team. I’d like to thank the efforts of all those at the track and at our factories in Viry and Enstone during my time here, and I wish them all the best for the future.
Alpine F1 Team best pictures:Williams Racing
I had a good start today; however, I was almost surprised I fell out of the points in the mid-stint, but I was struggling so much with degradation. The whole weekend was tricky, and the race was just the same. We’re running low downforce, which is fun, but going through sector two degrades the tyres so much. The amount of deg was a bit of a wakeup call, particularly on that medium tyre. I had to over-push the tyre to stay in front in sector two, and as soon as I tried to manage the tyre, I was immediately under fire from cars behind, so it was a vicious cycle. I think we need to go away and work out why we struggled so much this weekend, as at the end of the day, this downforce is going to be similar to Monza, and that’s our next occasion to score points likely. We’ll need to make sure we learn from this weekend so that when we come back to tracks that suit us, we don’t have this problem again.
It was a really good first four or five laps. I think we left that first stop too late and pretty much got undercut from where we were to the back, so that was a bit disappointing. Once we were on the medium tyre, we really struggled with degradation, and I don’t think it helped where we came out, as we came straight out into a fight. It was a tough day for both of us, so we need to go away and look at why this happened. This weekend obviously hasn’t panned out how we expected, so it’s disappointing, but we’ll regroup, take this break and come back refreshed and ready for more.
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance
Another tricky day, which started very well, with Alex executing some very good overtakes and making strong progress. He was able to back this up during the 2nd stint and seemed to have things under control. The third stint was much more difficult, with higher tyre degradation than expected, partly due to racing hard with the quicker Alpines. We opted to make a third stop, which led to some more overtaking but a frustrating result. Logan’s pace and tyre management compared very well to Alex’s, but he wasn’t quite able to make the same progress on track in the opening stint, which made the subsequent stints more difficult. There were some good aspects to today, but the race also highlighted some weaknesses of the car, which we are working on.
Williams F1 Team best pictures:Haas F1 Team
MoneyGram Haas F1 Team drivers Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg finished 15th and 18th, respectively, at Round 13 of the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, the Belgian Grand Prix, held Sunday at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.
MoneyGram Haas F1 Team enters the summer recess holding eighth position in the Constructors’ Championship on 11 points.
I felt there was a little more to fight for this race. I had a bit more competitiveness. We still have way more degradation than everyone else, which I think is the main differentiator today. Pace-wise, at the beginning of the stints, it felt like we could fight for the top 10 but didn’t have the degradation to keep fighting to the end. I think we’re getting a good understanding of what we need to do, and I’m looking forward to the second half of the year, looking forward to some upgrades and making some changes to the car. Hopefully, we can get back in the game, we’re still P8 in the Constructors’ Championship, and that’s our aim as a team to gain another position from last year. We’ve got everything to play for.
I think tire degradation was high, and also, the car pace wasn’t good enough to challenge for points. We’ll reset, regroup and we have three weeks to refresh and hopefully come back stronger in Zandvoort. I’m disappointed after a day like today, but I’m, first and foremost, still very happy to be back, enjoying myself and having a good time in the car. Working and pushing the team and having battles on track, the positives still outweigh a difficult Sunday, but we need and want some performance in the car.
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal:
The team got the best out of what was possible from our car, and both fought hard. In the end, we came short on our issue of tire life, so we fell back in the middle of the race. We couldn’t fight with the others, and if we go into overtime with our tires, we get slower, and that’s what happened again. We know our deficit, we’re working on it, and hopefully, we can resolve it fast, but all in all, the team did a good job. For Nico to change his car around, it was all executed very well. Now we go on summer break and hopefully come back stronger.
Haas F1 Team best pictures:
Alfa Romeo F1 Team KICK executed a solid recovery race at the 2023 Formula Belgian Grand Prix, with Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu making up places to finish just outside the points-scoring positions, in 12th and 13th, respectively. Both drivers had a busy afternoon as they were enmeshed in battles and end-to-end action, in which their C43s demonstrated good pace and were able to fight on an equal footing with their rivals.
With the summer break now looming, the team will regroup to analyse the weekend’s racing before recharging the batteries ahead of the final European back-to-back races, the Dutch and Italian Grands Prix.
Valtteri Bottas (car number 77):
We can say today has been a solid race. I was happy with our pace and with the strategy we chose. Overall, it has been pretty much a straightforward one, with nothing much happening after the start, when I went slightly off on the grass to avoid Yuki [Tsunoda], who was heading right. Of course, with the pace being very similar for so many cars in the field, it was going to be a bit difficult to make progress, especially taking into consideration how this track hasn’t suited our car best and our starting positions. There are still a few areas on which to improve, it hasn’t been the smoothest of weekends in terms of handling tricky weather conditions, but we did make some progress. Now, we are all going on a well-deserved summer break in order to reset and come prepared to tackle the second half of the season.
Zhou Guanyu (car number 24):
We had a good pace today, which allowed us to get in the mix and climb up a few positions. I reckon our car has been much more competitive in dry conditions, and we’ll be working on making it better in all circumstances ahead of the second part of the season. Considering our starting positions, it was going to be difficult to make up ground, but in general, I was especially satisfied with my last stint, when we were able to come up from the back of the pack up to 13th place. Now, I am very excited to go home for the summer break to switch off and recharge the batteries ahead of the second half of the season. We will be starting from Zandvoort, which is a high-downforce track I am looking forward to racing on again: hopefully, we will be able to regain our momentum there and get back into the fight for points.
Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative:
Both drivers and the team executed a solid race today: we were able to recover some positions on the track, finishing close to the top ten and, most importantly, matching the pace of our competitors. As a positive to take from this weekend, we reckon we have made a decent step forward in these weather conditions and on this type of track, comparing our weekend performance to previous ones on similar layouts. Of course, we were aware that from our starting positions today, scoring points was going to be a tough job without anything happening on track; nevertheless, both drivers had good pace today, and in terms of top speed, have been able to both defend their positions and attack to move forward through the field. Now, one final effort awaits us before a well-deserved break: we will analyse this first half of our season, aiming to make a significant step forward in terms of performance. We will be recharging our batteries over the next few weeks, getting ready for the second half of the season, which will for sure be tougher and tighter: we will come back to Zandvoort fully focused and motivated to get back to scoring points in each event.
Alfa Romeo F1 Team best pictures:Scuderia AlphaTauri
Scuderia AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda delivered a much-improved performance as he finished in 10th, securing points for the first time in eight races, while Australian teammate Daniel Ricciardo finished in 16th place in just his second race with the team.
Honestly, it was tough in traffic. Maybe a race with more clear air could’ve been better, but in general, I’m not convinced we had a great pace today. It felt like we never got the peak out of the tyres, and we couldn’t generate enough grip in the second sector. When we were in clear air later in the race, I felt we were more competitive, but in traffic, it was definitely hard. The reality is, these were my first dry laps in this car on this track, and I don’t know this car that well yet, so I still felt there was a little missing, but we’ll figure it out. Many are now looking forward to a well-deserved holiday, but the situation is slightly different for me, as the break is a good chance for me to keep working behind the scenes. After a few days off, I’ll spend time in the gym and use my days training to be able to improve my race fitness further.
The team did a fantastic job today; the car was flying, and I’m happy to finish the points before the summer break. A huge well done to the entire team: the mechanics, people in Bicester and Faenza, and trackside engineers. It’s been a long time since I scored points, and I’ve been struggling in the last few races, so I’m very happy now. We were slightly lucky with a couple of cars retiring in front of us, but I felt really comfortable during the race. The car went naturally forward, and I was managing my tyres. At one point there was some rain, but fortunately, it stopped quite quickly, and I could keep up the pace and drive consistently. After the horrible day I had yesterday, I didn’t want to take that feeling into the summer break, so I’m happy I could extract and maximise the car’s performance. I feel I could give back to the team, apologise to them, and give them a little bit of positive energy going into the break. Now I’ll rest as much as I can and prepare for the second half of the season.
Franz Tost – Team Principal
We started the race with Yuki in P11 and Daniel in P19, so we decided to split the strategy between the two cars: Yuki started on the medium compound and Daniel on the soft tyre. Yuki managed a fantastic start and ended up in P8, keeping his position for a very long time. I think some cars were staying out, postponing their pitstop, just waiting for more rain to come later in the race. Yuki was in P6 at one point, but of course, certain other cars were faster and could overtake us. In the end, Yuki finished P10 and scored one point for the team, which is very important. What is even more relevant is that the aero development is going in the right direction, and this is evidence of the fact that people in Bicester are doing a good job. As for Daniel, he started towards the back of the grid today as his lap time got deleted in qualifying on Friday because of violating track limits in Turn 4. It’s a shame, as he showed great performance yesterday, being close to scoring a point in the Sprint race. Starting further back today was really difficult because it’s really hard to overtake. We still miss some load on the car, but I’m convinced that when Daniel is more familiar with the car and tyres, he’ll do a really good job. In general, the team did a very good job. We haven’t scored a point in a long time, so we’re very pleased and are looking forward to the second half of the season because I think we can still improve our performance.