Lewis Hamilton was right about Max Verstappen

Charles Leclerc may have secured pole position at the Belgian Grand Prix, but it proved meaningless, as he had to succumb to the surging Red Bulls.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc inherited pole position due to Max Verstappen’s grid penalty for exceeding his gearbox allocation, but Leclerc knew he’d face a daunting and near impossible task at holding them back.

After being the second fastest driver in Friday’s qualifying at Spa-Francorchamps, Leclerc moved up to the top spot on the grid following Verstappen’s penalty, which saw him start 6th on the grid.

Despite benefiting from Verstappen’s misfortune, Leclerc had to accept a P3 finish behind the Dutchman and his Mexican teammate. 

“It’s great to be starting first, and I think it gives us a good chance to have a great result,” Leclerc said before the race. 

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“But to say that we’ll target the win, I think is probably a bit too optimistic. 

“I believe it’s going to be difficult to try to keep those guys behind.”

And Leclerc would prove to be right, taking a key podium for Ferrari but failing to secure an ever illusive win for the team.

Sergio Perez, Verstappen’s teammate, started from the second position, while Lewis Hamilton lined up in third place. 

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Despite his hopes of fighting Leclerc and Perez, Hamilton was aware pre-race he’d be in for a tough battle.

Hamilton explained, “Our pace has generally been decent…At some point, Max will come sailing by, and I’ll just try to keep the McLarens behind.”

Hamilton was right, as Verstappen ultimately finished nearly 50 seconds ahead of the British driver.

Verstappen has previously showcased his remarkable ability to make impressive progress at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. 

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In the previous season, he demonstrated his skills by racing from 14th on the grid to victory.

This year, from sixth, the Dutchman swiftly soared into the lead, taking an 8th straight win and 25 points in the title battle.

“The car is better,” Verstappen emphasised, discussing his rivals.