Max Verstappen enjoyed the best weekend of his F1 career to date, showing Michael Schumacher levels of invincibility.
Whether he started from 14th, 20th or the pit lane, everyone reckoned Verstappen was going to win with ease, and he did.
His qualifying lap was scintillating, defeating his nearest challenger – Carlos Sainz – by over 0.7s.
On race day, within just eight laps, Verstappen was into fourth and the win was therefore a near-certainty.
Verstappen is in the form of his life.
Of course, he has the quickest car but great champions before him had the same.
Like in the days of Schumacher in the early 2000s, his rivals were just resigned to the fact that he was going to win – the same is the case with Verstappen
Esteban Ocon and Alpine
Alpine moved 20 points clear of McLaren in the constructors’ championship with a 16-point points haul at Spa.
Fernando Alonso finished fifth, while Esteban Ocon recovered from 16th on the grid to finish seventh.
The Frenchman out-qualified his teammate (without a tow) but dropped to the back of the grid due to engine penalties.
No doubt, Ocon was the quicker of the two Alpines this weekend and his recovery was exemplary.
Good timing considering many are questioning whether Alpine will cope without Alonso in 2023.
Sebastian Vettel is showing no signs of slowing down with another impressive race day performance for Aston Martin.
Even though the four-time champion announced his retirement from F1 ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, the German has been performing spectacularly this season.
He put a brave move on his teammate on the opening lap before pushing the Alpine of Alonso hard during the middle of the race.
Another fine drive and well-deserved haul of points for Vettel at Spa.
Alex Albon continues to flourish since taking over from George Russell at the start of 2021.
The low downforce track characteristics of Spa played into Williams’ hands but Albon made the most of it.
While Albon qualified inside the top 10 on merit, it clearly didn’t have the pace to remain there in the race.
Albon hung onto 10th, benefitting from Williams’ straight-line speed advantage to finish in the points for just the third time this year.
It was another bad day for Ferrari and this time it wasn’t just down to strategy.
Ferrari simply didn’t have the pace to compete with Red Bull all weekend.
Even though Sainz started on pole (inherited thanks to Verstappen’s penalties), he lost the lead within 18 laps.
The Spaniard was even put under pressure by George Russell in the latter stages, highlighting just how much Ferrari were struggling.
Charles Leclerc’s race wasn’t straightforward after being forced to stop under the Safety Car after a tear-off from Verstappen’s helmet got stuck in his front brake duct.
Leclerc then lost out on fifth-place following his failed attempt at the fastest lap for speeding in the pit lane.
Another disastrous day.
A rare misjudgement from Lewis Hamilton on the opening lap at Spa-Francorchamps forced him into an early retirement.
Hamilton collided with former McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso at Les Combes, with the contact sending his Mercedes W13 airborne.
Given that Russell nearly finished on the podium, there’s no doubt that Hamilton would have had a great chance of doing so had he made it through Lap 1 unschathed.
McLaren endured an awful weekend at Spa with both Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo finishing outside of the points.
Norris’ engine penalties put him to the back of the grid, while on the other side of the garage, despite his good grid position, Ricciardo struggled for pace as he dropped behind Albon in the early phase of the race.
Ricciardo’s inability to re-pass Albon combined with a poor strategy from McLaren cost him a shot at the points.
With Alpine scoring points regularly now, it’s hard to see McLaren finishing fourth in the constructors’ championship this year.
Alfa Romeo & Haas (again)
Once again, Alfa Romeo and Haas complete our winners and losers.
Think back to the early part of the season, Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas finished fifth and sixth respectively in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.
Haas had the slowest car on race day, with Magnussen and Schumacher finishing ahead of only Nicholas Latifi.
For Alfa Romeo, Bottas was caught out by a spinning Latifi, while Zhou Guanyu fought hard but couldn’t make much progress as he finished 13th.