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Max Verstappen

Verstappen reveals Belgian GP 'survival'

The Dutchman defeated teammate Perez by over 20 seconds.

Max Verstappen has revealed how crucial it was to 'survive' the first corner of the Belgian Grand Prix en route to victory.

The Dutchman started sixth at Spa-Francorchamps having taken a new gearbox for the event and was forced to avoid early contact between Ferrari's Carlos Sainz and McLaren's Oscar Piastri, which ultimately saw both drivers retire.

Verstappen eventually emerged victorious for the eighth race in a row, beating teammate Sergio Perez by 22.3 seconds at the end of the 44-lap event.

"It is a new spot [to win from], P6, that's for sure," said Verstappen.

"We knew we had a good car, it was just about surviving Turn 1. I could see it was all getting pretty tight - I have been in that position before so I was just like 'I am going to stay out of that'.

"From there onwards, we made the right moves. I got a bit stuck in the DRS train but once that cleared I could do my own pace."

Worst corner for a moment

Verstappen almost lost control of his RB19 as light rain fell midway through the race - his rear-end stepping out at the high-speed Eau Rouge-Raidillon complex.

"That is the worst corner to have a moment but it was tricky in those laps where it was raining," he added.

"You could see it was raining but not how much, I had a sideways moment, luckily nothing happened."

Championship leader Verstappen was again involved in a number of heated conversations with race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase, being told on numerous occasions to 'use his head'.

"I did slow down," Verstappen insisted.

"We all look at the numbers and the wear on the tyres. This track is super hard on the tyres so you don't want to do unnecessary things."

F1 2023 Belgian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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