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Verstappen sets clear target for Belgian GP after grid penalty

Max Verstappen has targeted a podium finish from P15 on the grid in Belgium after setting the fastest time in a penalty-affected qualifying hour.

Max Verstappen has set a target of achieving a podium finish in the Belgian Grand Prix despite his back-of-the-grid penalty handed to him after qualifying. Verstappen was one of seven drivers to be given a grid penalty for taking new power unit components, and one of six to be given 'back-of-the-grid' punishments. The Red Bull driver set the fastest time in the Belgian GP qualifying hour, finishing ahead of Ferrari's Carlos Sainz and teammate Sergio Perez. As Verstappen finished fastest of the six drivers to be handed the same penalty, he will start the race from 15th on the grid. Speaking after qualifying, the Dutchman was buoyed by the pace of his RB18, which he will be hoping to utilise in a busy race ahead. "Yeah, it was a amazing qualifying, but I think for the whole weekend we've been on it," said Verstappen after qualifying. "The car has been working really well, and we've just basically been trying to fine tune it and it all came together in qualifying."

Verstappen aiming for the rostrum

The battle between Red Bull and Ferrari will be fought by their respective 'second' drivers; Perez and Sainz. Alongside Verstappen, the second Ferrari of Charles Leclerc will start P16, after being handed the same punishment as the Red Bull driver, but starts behind due to a slower qualifying result. With a performance gap between Red Bull, Ferrari and the rest of the field this weekend, Verstappen sees an opportunity to recover to a podium finish. "Looking forward to tomorrow, we're starting at the back, but I'm very happy with my lap and it's great to be here. It's an amazing track, with amazing fans around," added Verstappen. "We need to go forward. I think especially with a car like this, it would be a shame not to be on the podium."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Spanish Grand Prix