Belgian GP: Verstappen recovers from penalty to win

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Max Verstappen shrugged off a grid penalty to climb through the field and take a commanding win in Sunday's Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix.

Red Bull's Verstappen had set the fastest time in Saturday's qualifying session but was obliged to start 14th after taking a penalty for excessive component usage.

Undaunted, the Dutchman had risen to eighth by Lap 2, and continued to pick his way through the field to take the lead from teammate Sergio Perez on Lap 12.

Though he lost his lead on Lap 16 after his first pit stop, Verstappen regained it two laps later when he passed Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, and the Dutchman was never subsequently headed as he took his ninth win in 14 races so far in 2022.

"It was quite a hectic first lap to try to stay out of trouble, but once we settled in after the Safety Car, the car was really on rails," said Verstappen, who also took home the bonus point for Fastest Lap.

"Once we were in the lead, it was all about managing everything and this whole weekend has been incredible.

"It's been a weekend I couldn't imagine before, but we want more of them so we'll keep on working hard."

Behind Verstappen, teammate Perez made it a Red Bull 1-2, with Sainz rounding out the podium on another disappointing day for Ferrari.

George Russell finished a strong fourth for Mercedes, with Fernando Alonso taking fifth for Alpine.

Sainz's teammate Charles Leclerc salvaged sixth after starting 15th following a grid penalty, and then having to make an early unscheduled pit stop after a suspected tire problem. The Spaniard had finished fifth on the road, but dropped a place after receiving a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pits in a failed late bid to take fastest lap.

Alonso's teammate Esteban Ocon took seventh, with Sebastian Vettel eighth for Aston Martin.

Pierre Gasly took ninth for AlphaTauri's first points in six races, with Williams' Alex Albon rounding out the points positions in tenth.

Of the drivers who failed to finish, Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes suffered damage after tangling with Alonso on Lap 1, and Valtteri Bottas ended up beached in the gravel after his Alfa Romeo spun avoiding the out-of-control Williams of Nicholas Latifi.

In the Driver's Championship, Verstappen's maximum points haul sees him extend his lead and puts him on 293 points. Perez rises to second in the standings with 191 points, with Leclerc dropping to third on 191.

In the Constructors' Championship, Red Bull still lead the way on 474 points, with Ferrari second on 357 and Mercedes third on 316.

The 15th round of the 2022 F1 season is next week's Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort.

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