It was a tough day for Charles Leclerc in Belgium. He had been given a grid penalty for the race due to taking new engine parts, and he was forced to pit early on.
The Monegasque had made good progress along with Max Verstappen, who also had a penalty, meaning that, from 14th on the grid, he climbed up into the top 10.
However, he was forced to pit under an early Safety Car, caused by Nicholas Latifi and Valtteri Bottas, when a visor tear-off got stuck in his brake duct.
The 24-year-old initial plan was to go to the end of the race, but his team noted that tyre degradation was “higher than expected,” so there was confusion as to whether he should stop again.
Sergio Perez, who had lost the lead to the other-worldly Verstappen, pitted for fresh Mediums as he looked to see of the other Ferrari or Carlos Sainz, and he re-joined alongside Leclerc.
As they headed into Les Combes, Perez squeezed across and made sure to take up as much room as he could on the inside.
The Ferrari driver was less than impressed, affirming over the radio that the Mexican had not left him a “car’s width.”
Leclerc eventually pitted again for Mediums to go to the end of the race, before the team called him in again for a fresh set of Softs.
The aim was to take the fastest lap of the afternoon as he sought to prevent leader Verstappen from taking that point, but he earned a five-second penalty when he sped into the pit lane.
The 24-year-old would eventually get back past the double world champion on the final lap, but could not grab the fastest lap as he finished sixth.
Verstappen’s win puts him 98 points clear in the Drivers’ Standings, while Perez secured a Red Bull one-two ahead of Sainz.
Red Bull now lead Ferrari by 118 points as a result.