FORMULA 1

How World Champion Max Verstappen differed from Max Verstappen at the 2022 Belgian GP

Max Verstappen Belgian GP, Six Sports

Max Verstappen showcased a dominating performance to secure his 9th win of the season at the 2022 Belgian GP coming from P14.

AFTER SECURING HIS MAIDEN WORLD TITLE LAST YEAR, Belgian GP once again proved how much Max Verstappen has developed. The Dutch showed pure dominance, aggressiveness, and a mix of maturity and patience.

Max Verstappen started 14th at the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix thanks to a grid penalty the Dutchman received due to new power unit components. However, the grid penalty was not enough to stop the charging of Dutch Loin.

Max Verstappen gained six places and reached P8 on the opening lap itself.

His charge would further continue after an early safety car helped the 24-year-old gain more easy places. The Dutch was flying through the field coming home to secure his 9th victory of the season.

Max Verstappen avoiding the first lap chaos

Max Verstappen showcased immense maturity and patience driving through the carnage of the opening lap. The opening lap saw a collision between Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, with few drivers going off-track. Hamilton slowed and retired the same lap only.

Starting at the back of the grid, a driver must navigate carefully to avoid any unnecessary contact that can ruin their race. That’s what Verstappen did perfectly at the 2022 Belgian GP.

Nevertheless, how much has Verstappen changed? What did World Champion Max Verstappen do differently from Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen?

If we compare the 2019 Belgian GP alongside the 2022 Belgian GP, we can clearly see how much Max Verstappen has matured as a driver.

In 2019, at turn 1 on the opening lap, Max Verstappen made contact with Kimi Raikkonen trying to cover a poor start.

The Dutch tried to lunge on Raikkonen through a closing gap, sending Raikkonen flying and damaging his own Red Bull. Verstappen then crashed into the barriers down Eau Rouge on the run-up to Kennel straight ending his race on the opening lap itself.

However, we saw a complete opposite Max this time on the opening lap carefully maneuvering through the midfield.

The Dutchman jumped Valtteri Bottas and Nicholas Latifi after a good start. He then dived down the inside of Kevin Magnussen at the first corner.

There is a fine line between overly aggressive and too much cautious, Max Verstappen rode on that line in the opening lap.

A pleased Horner praised Max for his ‘masterclass’

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was definitely a happy man after the race. Both Red Bull drivers came home to score the maximum points for the team.

Horner took his time to appreciate Max Verstappen for his mega drive at the Belgian GP:

“You’re witnessing a driver that is completely at one with the car and is in an absolute purple patch of his career,”

said Horner.

“Max since winning that championship last year has taken another step. It’s in many ways released him and he’s driving at an incredible level.

“Max was quite simply in a league of his own and not just [Sunday], all weekend.

“He has excelled here in the past and he has basically smashed it out of the park.

“It has been a huge performance by him this weekend.”

Verstappen is driving on another level this season. The Dutchman is always out there trying to get the maximum possible points while avoiding unnecessary aggressiveness.

Red Bull leads the constructors standings by 118 points. On the other hand, Max Verstappen now leads World Drivers Championship by a whopping 93 points ahead of his teammate Sergio Perez.

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