Red Bull will attack records in Belgium, Verstappen for the eighth triumph in a row

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Red Bull set records in Belgium, Verstappen wins eighth in a row

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands (pictured on July 21, 2023).

Spa Francorchamps (Belgium) – This weekend's Belgian Formula 1 Grand Prix could turn into another Red Bull team celebration before the summer break. As world championship leader Max Verstappen of the Netherlands goes for his 10th victory of the season and eighth in a row, his team can become the first in history to win the opening 12 races and twelfth in a row in a season. The program will also be livened up by the Saturday sprint, due to which the qualification for the main race will take place already on Friday.

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The 25-year-old Verstappen helped Red Bull to a record 12th consecutive win at last week's Hungarian Grand Prix, which saw the hegemon of the season surpass McLaren's feat of 1988. Boss Christian Horner's team has won all 11 races so far and followed up on last year's triumph in Abu Dhabi in the final seasons. Now he can keep pushing the record.

Verstappen is also looking to close in on Sebastian Vettel's record streak of nine triumphs from 2013 with his eighth straight victory. The native of Hasselt, Belgium leads the championship by a whopping 110 points ahead of team-mate Sergio Pérez and is unstoppably aiming for a third consecutive world title.

“Spa is my favorite track and I can't wait to race there again. I'm looking forward to the fans too. It should be a fun weekend,” Verstappen was quoted as saying by Reuters. “I hope that after a successful weekend in Hungary we will be able to achieve other goals. It is the last challenge before the summer break,” added Verstappen about the following four-week break. The next race in the Netherlands will be held on August 27.

Verstappen will defend his previous two triumphs in Belgium and attack for a hat-trick of victories. Last year he succeeded despite starting from 14th place. He was then accompanied in second place by Pérez, who will try to break his colleague's winning streak before the summer break.

The record holder for the number of wins in Belgium is Michael Schumacher with six triumphs. Among the active drivers, Briton Lewis Hamilton from Mercedes has the most wins (4), who was recently boosted by a victory in the qualification in Hungary. For the seven-time world champion, it was the first pole position since 2021. However, he finished fourth in the race. The rise of form was shown by McLaren, whose pilot Lando Norris will try to follow up on two second places in a row.

The Grand Prix will be held for the third time in the season in a modified format. As in Baku and Austria, qualifying for Sunday's race will take place on Friday instead of the second practice. On Saturday, instead of the third training session, a sprint “shootout” will take place, which will determine the order at the start of the separately scored sprint. Until the end of the season, this will be done in Texas, Qatar and Brazil. Pérez won the first sprint this year, Verstappen was more successful in the second.

“Nothing easy awaits us in Spa. The weather is always unpredictable, and in addition we have to do without some training sessions because of the sprint. We have less time for preparation ,” Pérez added.

The Belgian Grand Prix will begin with practice on Friday, followed by qualifying for Sunday's main race from 5:00 p.m. On Saturday, the sprint qualification will start at 12:00, the 100 km race itself is scheduled to start at 16:30. Sunday's Grand Prix starts at 15:00.