December 5, 2023

There was a particular whiff of deja vu within the Ardennes air on Friday as Max Verstappen annihilated the sector in qualifying for Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix – however solely after a foul-mouthed tirade at his race engineer for which he later apologised.

Verstappen, who has received seven races in a row and 9 of the final 11, was livid after he practically exited in Q2, solely simply squeaking by way of in tenth place, and was shortly on the radio to accuse his group of “s— execution”.

It hardly mattered. In the long run, Verstappen not solely made it by way of, he totally dominated Q3, going an enormous 0.8sec quicker than Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, though he should begin in sixth on Sunday after copping a five-place penalty for a change of gearbox.

That won’t fear Crimson Bull an excessive amount of. Verstappen got here by way of from 14th on the grid to win in Spa final 12 months and they are going to be assured of repeating the trick from a lot nearer to the entrance this time given their superiority. In truth, that was why Crimson Bull elected to take the penalty right here, at a monitor the place overtaking is comparatively easy. “I believe it’s the very best place to do it,” Verstappen admitted afterwards. “I believe Sunday seems to be an increasing number of dry. That’s why we went for it right here mainly.”

The second Crimson Bull of Sergio Perez will line up alongside Leclerc on the entrance row, adopted by the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton who declared himself “very pleased” with third on the grid.

Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell may solely go eighth quickest, although, behind the 2 McLarens of Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris, who will probably be separated by Verstappen. And that was regardless of Norris having to drive with harm from going off monitor in Q1.