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Belgian Grand Prix 2023

Winners and Losers from 2023 F1 Belgian Grand Prix Qualifying

Check out the Winners and Losers from 2023 F1 Belgian Grand Prix Qualifying from Spa-Francorchamps.

Leclerc Quali Friday
To news overview © XPBimages

In the end, none of the contingency plans in place were required after the threat of heavy rain for Formula 1 Qualifying at the Belgian Grand Prix.

The FIA had told teams that times from FP1 would not be used to set the grid in case of a Qualifying washout, which was a possibility after heavy showers throughout the day up until just before the session when a break in the weather allowed events to play without a hitch.

In the end, a blistering lap from Max Verstappen won him Qualifying, but owing to his five-place grid drop for a gearbox change, it is Charles Leclerc who starts on pole position for Sunday's race.

And that is where our round-up of Winners and Losers begins.

Winner - Charles Leclerc

Perhaps, this result was always destined for Leclerc.

The only time he has been on the front-row this year was in Azerbaijan and Austria - both Sprint weekends.

And what is Belgium?

Beyond that, the fact that Leclerc managed to stick the Ferrari on the front-row on merit at a high-speed track which has been a major weakness all season was an outstanding effort.

The race pace problems will remain for Sunday but a podium is the minimum he must leave and head on holiday with.

What did Leclerc say?

"We went a bit too early for that last run, but pole was definitely not for us today, as Max was too quick. We could have been a bit closer, but having said that, we have a great starting position for Sunday, so let's see how it goes.

			© RN365/Michael Potts
	© RN365/Michael Potts

Loser - Daniel Ricciardo

The barest of margins knocked Daniel Ricciardo out in Q1 - and he only has himself to blame.

He ran wide at the top of Raidillon, cutting the inside of the corner.

Cue a time good enough for P6 in Q1 being deleted, dropping him down to 19th and an early bath.

A few feet to the right, and he'd be the hero with a likely Q3 berth, but as it is, it's a long day he faces on Sunday, but he remained upbeat at the pace that was in the car.

A considerable upside there but the end product was just lacking.

What did Ricciardo say?

"I tried to take Eau Rouge flat, I thought it was possible, but I was drifting off the good line and had to lift to try to stay on track. As soon as I got over the Turn 4 kerb, I knew I was probably over."

			© Red Bull Content Pool
	© Red Bull Content Pool

Winner - Sergio Perez

Remarkably, this is the first time Sergio Perez has qualified where a Red Bull RB19 should since pole position in Miami.

Since then, he suffered repeated failures to reach Q3 with ninth on the grid in Hungary his best showing.

If we are being picky, could he have found the extra 0.057s Leclerc had on him to earn pole position? Probably but this is another brick in the wall of rebuilding his shattered confidence.

What did Perez say?

"It is a bit of a shame I didn't get Charles there, but in these conditions, it was good that we had a good [result]."

			© Red Bull Content Pool
	© Red Bull Content Pool

Loser - Esteban Ocon

On a day of upheaval for the team off the track, Esteban Ocon crashed in Qualifying, leaving him 15th fastest but 14th on the grid thanks to Kevin Magnussen's penalty.

He was among the first to take the decision to switch to slicks in Q2 but a moment at Turn 9 saw him destroy an advertising hoarding and his front-wing in the closing minutes.

There was simply not enough time for Alpine to fit a new wing and get Ocon back out, and so his fastest Q2 time was set on Intermediate tyres.

He could have nabbed a Q3 slot, but the way things are going for Alpine at the moment, as someone once said, thems the breaks.

What did Ocon say?

"It’s not been an easy day on track today and I’m disappointed not to get into Q3. The weather conditions made the session tricky for everyone and but we did a good job to get through to Q2."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Winner - Oscar Piastri

A blooming reputation continues to grow.

Oscar Piastri was a standout performer in Qualifying, even if his sixth-fastest time was perhaps a little below what was expected, the fact is he still out-qualified Lando Norris and look the more comfortable of the McLaren drivers.

He does need to work on tyre conservation over multiple stints but that will come with experience. The important thing is that he is showing increasing flashes of pace that led to the tug of war over his services this time last year.

Stay ahead of Norris in Sunday's race and that is a very solid first half-season of Grand Prix racing with the team having been a back-marker, midfield runner and podium contender.

What did Piastri say?

"There was maybe a bit more left in Q3, we were really quick until that point. I think in the last session it really dried up a lot, and that was my first dry lap of Spa in an F1 car. I was kind of hoping it would stay a bit wetter but overall, still not too bad."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Loser - Lando Norris

You skate off through the gravel and chances are you will damage your car - and in this era of F1 where the floor is ever so crucial to performance, you will take a hit.

Enter Norris.

His Q1 off was a lairy moment that had repercussions that followed him throughout the session.

It could have happened to anyone, but only happened to Norris for which full responsibility must lie with him.

Given the tendency of the McLaren to fire up its tyres almost instantly, this was a missed chance for perhaps a second-row slot given the damage he was carrying.

What did Norris say?

"I'm frustrated, I went off in Q1 and completely destroyed the floor.

"If we had a car that was together, if I didn't make the mistake in Q1, we could have had a slightly better day. We weren't miles off the guys ahead."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

F1 2023 Belgian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier


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