Max Verstappen targeting Belgian Grand Prix win with a ‘little bit of luck’ from P15

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, gives a thumbs up. Belgium, F1 August 2022.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, gives a thumbs up after setting the fastest qualifying time. Belgium, August 2022.

If the cards fall his way, Max Verstappen believes he can come through the pack to win the Belgian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver went into qualifying knowing he could not take pole position, due to being among a group of drivers carrying ‘back of the grid’ penalties following a power-unit change.

But while pole was not possible, Verstappen made sure to establish himself as the clear fastest driver in qualifying.

Come the end of Q3, the Dutchman had set a best time of a 1:43.665 – that trumping the next best effort, delivered by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz who starts from pole, by more than six tenths of a second.

 

 

That led Mercedes’ George Russell to tip Verstappen for the win at Spa, even though he will have to fight back from P15 on the grid.

Verstappen then gave his own expectation for the race, which is to finish on the podium at the very least.

And without any unwelcome occurrences, he will take to the track with the goal of victory.

“I’m just targetting a podium, and with a little bit of luck I’m targeting a win,” he told Sky Sports F1.

Verstappen admitted he was not expecting such an extreme advantage over Ferrari, but come the race he predicts the gap will shrink.

His closest title rival, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, will start one place behind him in P16.

“I’m surprised at the gap. I don’t expect it to be that big tomorrow in the race,” said Verstappen.

“But it’s very positive, especially when you have to start from the back. If you have a competitive car, that can of course help a lot to move forward again.”

A lap of Spa-Francorchamps is one of the most special experiences anywhere on the Formula 1 calendar.

Verstappen explained that when driving that in a car as well balanced as the RB18, things step up another notch.

“It’s always really hard to expect how you will rock up here,” Verstappen stated. “But I think we prepared really well already before we got here, and as soon as we put the car on the track it’s been really enjoyable to drive.

“It’s been about just fine-tuning a bit the balance, and that’s what we did also before qualifying. I think we found even a little bit more before we got into qualifying, so very nice.

“And when you have a balance like that around here, a qualifying lap is amazing.”

While Verstappen looks to make swift progress, Sergio Perez will lead Red Bull’s charge on Sunday from P2 on the grid.