In an effort to lessen spray after a sudden rainstorm, five initial laps were conducted behind the safety car, preceding a rolling start.
Despite racers stating that conditions were suitable for intermediate tyres, half the pack decided to stay an extra lap on full wets. This choice was made to bypass a potential delay from a double-stack pitstop in a crowded pitlane.
Verstappen, who had the pole position, chose to stay on track while Oscar Piastri, who started second, made a pit stop. Red Bull brought in Verstappen a lap later, but decided to hold the two-time world champion for a lengthier 3.2 seconds to prevent a crash with Lando Norris from McLaren.
This decision put Verstappen 1.7 seconds behind Piastri upon resumption. However, he managed to regain the lead on the sixth lap down the Kemmel Straight following another safety car phase.
Verstappen justified the strategy as preferring to be safe rather than sorry. He said, “I believe it was a safer decision.
“I had the option to pit first, but that could’ve resulted in me getting blocked by other cars; a safety car might have also emerged and that would’ve been a huge setback. Therefore, I didn’t mind staying out.
“We lost a spot, but we knew we were fast, and I think that showed when we switched to the inter tyres – we were incredibly fast. So, everything was fine.”
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23
Photo by: Michael Potts / F1 Flow Images
Verstappen went on to win the race, finishing 6.6 seconds ahead of Piastri. However, he did express some difficulties with “waking up” his brakes in the cooler temperatures towards the end.
Elaborating on his radio call, Verstappen stated: “We were aiming to get an even brake balance, but everything was under control.
“The car was speedy; the tyres were stable – we just had minor issues.”
While Verstappen also set the fastest lap in the full Sunday GP qualifiers, finishing 0.82s ahead of Charles Leclerc, he will start in sixth due to a five-place grid penalty following a gearbox change.
Verstappen believes the critical point of his race will be the first turn on lap one, provided he stays clear of any incidents.
“I have to overtake a few cars,” said Verstappen. “So, I believe the greatest risk is the first lap, the first turn – those sorts of things.
“It’s always quite tricky there. But as long as we avoid any trouble, I’m confident we’ll have a fast car.”
Verstappen was victorious in the 2022 Belgian GP, starting 14th due to power unit component changes. The Dutch driver managed to make a recovery, reaching first place by lap 12 of 44.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Verstappen’s Strategy in Spa F1 Sprint
What strategy did Verstappen defend during the Spa F1 Sprint?
Verstappen defended his team’s decision to take a “safer” strategy by holding him in the pit for a longer duration of 3.2 seconds to avoid a collision. This decision initially put him 1.7s behind Piastri, but he managed to regain the lead later in the race.
What was the outcome of Verstappen’s race in the Spa F1 Sprint?
Verstappen claimed victory in the race, finishing 6.6 seconds ahead of Oscar Piastri. He credited the win to his speed and successful switch to intermediate tyres after staying out longer on full wets.
What were Verstappen’s challenges during the race?
Verstappen expressed some difficulties with “waking up” his brakes in the cooler temperatures towards the end of the race. However, he confirmed everything was under control.
What is Verstappen’s starting position for the full Sunday GP following the Spa F1 Sprint?
Due to a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, Verstappen will start in the sixth position in the full Sunday Grand Prix. Despite this, he anticipates a strong race as long as he avoids any incidents, especially at the first turn on lap one.
What was Verstappen’s accomplishment in the 2022 Belgian GP?
In the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix, Verstappen started from the 14th position due to power unit component changes. Despite this setback, he made a remarkable recovery, reaching first place by the 12th lap out of 44.