Max Verstappen has taken his eighth consecutive race win in Formula 1 after taking a commanding victory at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Verstappen started the race from sixth on the grid as he took a five-place grid penalty for exceeding his season gearbox allowance this weekend.

However, on the opening lap, he moved up into fourth place while team-mate Sergio Perez overtook pole-sitter Charles Leclerc into Turn 7 on the opening lap.

At the first corner, Carlos Sainz and Oscar Piastri made contact with the latter sustaining terminal damage and retiring. 

Sainz, meanwhile, took on significant damage to his sidepod but was able to continue in the grand prix.

However, the Ferrari driver dropped through the order and was soon running out of the points as rivals overtook the damaged SF23 car. However, Ferrari’s best efforts came to nought and the car was retired later in the grand prix.

Verstappen’s quest to the front of the field continued with an overtake on ex-title rival Lewis Hamilton, making the move on lap six.

Four laps later, Verstappen found himself in front of Leclerc for second place and set off in pursuit of team-mate Perez.

The gap remained consistent for several laps, before Perez opted to make a pit stop on lap 13, swapping his Soft tyres for a fresh set of Mediums.

Verstappen then conversed with his team radio over his first stop as he was informed that there was an approaching shower. However, the Dutchman came into the pits and emerged back behind Perez.

But Verstappen wasted no time catching his team-mate and on lap 17, breezed past Perez on the Kemmel Straight for the lead of the grand prix. 

Perez had no answer for the reigning World Champion, with Verstappen cruising out a gap en route to his 10th win of the year.

However, the rain did threaten to disrupt proceedings as on lap 18, it started to fall. Although it didn’t cause any drivers to switch to Intermediates, Verstappen had a notable twitch through Eau Rouge.

The second phase of pit stops was largely uneventful, but it offered Hamilton a small sniff at third place as he attempted to undercut Leclerc.

However, the Mercedes driver couldn’t get close enough to launch an attack, and had to settle for fourth place behind Perez and Leclerc, who completed the podium.

Fernando Alonso crossed the line in fifth place, taking his best result since the Austrian Grand Prix. The Aston Martin driver was a long way off Hamilton in fourth, however, before Hamilton pitted for fresh tyres to take the fastest lap.

The second Mercedes of George Russell recovered to sixth place after a difficult qualifying on Friday, while Lando Norris crossed the line in seventh having been demoted down the order early on after taking a set of Hard tyres that failed to produce pace.

Esteban Ocon was eighth after making late moves on Lance Stroll and Yuki Tsunoda, who crossed the line in ninth and 10th respectively.

F1 will now take a break of three weeks for the summer break, with the Dutch Grand Prix from Zandvoort being the first round after the interval.

Verstappen is now 125 points ahead of Perez in the Drivers’ Championship and can match Sebastian Vettel’s consecutive win record at his home race next month.

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