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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Verstappen Dominates Qualifying, Leclerc Claims Pole for Belgian Grand Prix After Red Bull Penalty

Verstappen claimed pole position 0.8 seconds ahead of Leclerc before receiving a gearbox penalty

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Aditya Saikrishna
Aditya Saikrishna
I am 21 years old and an avid Motorsports enthusiast.

BELGIUM: Spa-Francorchamps witnessed a gripping qualifying session for the Belgian Grand Prix, as Max Verstappen showcased his remarkable recovery skills to secure a dominant P1 finish. However, it will be Charles Leclerc who starts in pole position on Sunday, surprising both fans and competitors alike.

Verstappen’s path to pole position was not without obstacles. In Q2, he found himself in 10th place on a rapidly improving track, leading to a heated exchange with his race engineer, Gianpiero Lambiase. 

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Nevertheless, the determined Dutch driver managed to put in an astonishing lap in Q3, going fastest by a remarkable eight-tenths of a second. Unfortunately, a confirmed five-place grid penalty by the FIA that demoted him to the sixth position on the starting grid somewhat overshadowed his impressive performance.

As the qualifying drama unfolded, Daniel Ricciardo faced disappointment when his quickest lap in Q1 was deleted due to exceeding track limits at Raidillon. 

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The setback, along with other eliminations, resulted in Nico Hulkenberg, Logan Sargeant, Zhou Guanyu, and Alex Albon also bowing out of contention.

Q2 saw the drivers’ strategic decision-making come into play, with some opting for slick tires as the track conditions improved. Verstappen, despite a non-ideal time on the track, managed to make it through to Q3, setting the stage for a thrilling showdown.

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In the battle for pole position, Charles Leclerc emerged as the surprise winner. The Ferrari driver showed impressive pace throughout the session, claiming the provisional pole after the first runs. Verstappen and Carlos Sainz closely trailed behind in second and third places, respectively.

As the drivers headed out for their final runs, anticipation filled the air. Leclerc pushed hard and managed to improve his previous best lap time by almost a second. However, Verstappen had other plans and delivered a jaw-dropping lap, setting a time eight-tenths faster than Leclerc and the rest of the field.

The incredible performance by Verstappen would have secured him pole position, but the impending grid penalty shifted the advantage to Leclerc. Sergio Perez, who impressed with a front-row qualification, will now enjoy the top spot on the starting grid alongside the Monegasque driver.

The Belgian Grand Prix qualifying session was undoubtedly one for the books, showcasing the fierce competition and unpredictability that make Formula 1 so exhilarating. 

With Verstappen eager to make up for the penalty and Leclerc aiming to convert his surprise pole into a victory, Sunday’s race promises to be a thrilling spectacle for motorsport enthusiasts worldwide.

As the tension builds and the drivers prepare for the ultimate battle, fans eagerly await the Belgian Grand Prix, hoping for an exciting race that will keep them on the edge of their seats until the checkered flag falls.

Also Read: Ralf Schumacher Urges Nico Hulkenberg to Seek F1 Future Beyond Haas


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