F1 LIVE: Max Verstappen leads Belgian Grand Prix from 14th on grid with Lewis Hamilton OUT of race

Daniel Ricciardo reacts to ‘bittersweet’ exit from McLaren

Carlos Sainz will start today’s Belgian Grand Prix on pole, with qualifying leader Max Verstappen serving an engine penalty and starting at the back of the grid.

Sergio Perez will start alongside Ferrari on the front row having come third, while Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton will occupy the second row in third and fourth respectively, with George Russell and the impressive Alex Albon behind. Hamilton in particular couldn’t believe the 1.8 second gap in qualifying to Verstappen in the first.

Verstappen will start from 15th as one of six drivers taking penalties, with Charles Leclerc 16th, Esteban Ocon 17th and Lando Norris 18th. Daniel Ricciardo will start the race in 7th despite not pushing his McLaren into Q3 on Saturday – with Pierre Gasly 8th, Zhou Guanyu 9th and Lance Stroll 10th.

Round 14 of the 2022 Formula 1 season takes place at 2pm (BST) today with a dramatic race around Spa-Francorchamps – we’ll have full coverage here on The independent.

Follow all the action as it happens with The Independent:

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F1 Belgian Grand Prix: Round 43/44 – Verstappen, Perez, Sainz

You can’t make that up in Ferrari – the Scuderia’s Leclerc pit as they go for fastest lap… but lose fifth place to Fernando Alonso who brings Leclerc down at turn five!

Can the Monegasque catch up – and set the fastest lap?

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F1 Belgian Grand Prix: Lap 42/44 – Verstappen, Perez, Sainz

Three laps into Spa-Francorchamps and Russell can’t seem to get close enough to Sainz – the gap is two seconds.

Albon is holding off Stroll in 10th for now, which would be a huge point for bottom of the table Williams!

By the way, Lewis Hamilton has been cautioned for not going to the medical center after his collision with Alonso…

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F1 Belgian Grand Prix: Lap 40/44 – Verstappen, Perez, Sainz

Russell went off the side at Turn 14 and is losing a lot of time to Sainz – the gap is now 2.5 seconds and with five laps to go, is that enough for the Ferrari to claim the podium?

Verstappen, 17 seconds ahead of Perez, dominates the front. So dominant. If the title wasn’t closed already, it certainly is now!

The Dutch fans in the stands in Belgium are excited. It’s also the Dutch GP next week…

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F1 Belgian Grand Prix: Lap 38/44 – Verstappen, Perez, Sainz

Russell is now closing that gap on Sainz even further, to less than two seconds! It should be in the DRS window soon…

Otherwise, there’s a good battle for the final points spot in 10th – Albon takes it now, with Stroll, Norris and Zhou hot on a DRS train. Can Williams’ man last?

1-10: Verstappen, Perez, Sainz, Russell, Leclerc, Alonso, Ocon, Vettel, Gasly, Albon.

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F1 Belgian Grand Prix: Lap 35/44 – Verstappen, Perez, Sainz

Russell (in fourth) beat Sainz – the gap is now four seconds with less than 10 laps to go at Spa-Francorchamps! Can the Mercedes man salvage an unlikely podium finish?

Verstappen’s lead over Perez: 13 seconds. Meanwhile, Esteban Ocon pulls off an amazing move to pass Gasly and Vettel at turn five! He is up to seventh in his Alpine.

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F1 Belgian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton, speaking to Sky Sports:

“He was in my blind spot and I didn’t give him enough space, so it’s my fault. I apologize to the team.”

“It doesn’t matter what it is [Alonso] he said. It’s my fault. It was right in my blind spot.”

Glad to see Hamilton admit his mistake.

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F1 Belgian Grand Prix: Lap 31/44 – Verstappen, Perez, Sainz

George Russell is now on the tires and with 14 laps to go, could that extra tire life help the Mercedes man claim the podium?

Verstappen, meanwhile, has a 26.7 second lead over his teammate – simply stunning! The leader pitches again – since he has the gap to do so – and now he’s in a new set of media.

His gap to Perez is now eight seconds – followed by Sainz, Russell and Vettel.

6-10: Leclerc, Ocon, Alonso, Ricciardo, Tsunoda

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F1 Belgian Grand Prix: Lap 28/44 – Verstappen, Russell, Perez

Sergio Perez now enters the pits – he had to pit again to change the tire composition – and is out on the hard.

The Mexican is ahead of Carlos Sainz but behind George Russell (who also has to pit again). Verstappen doesn’t need to pit, he started on the softs and now he’s on the mediums – should we give him first place already?!

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F1 Belgian Grand Prix: Lap 26/44 – Verstappen, Perez, Russell

Carlos Sainz pitting – change from medium to hard! And his Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc pitches too, but remains in the mediums!

Sainz exits behind Russell in fourth and ahead of Vettel. Leclerc takes seventh place, just ahead of Alex Albon.

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F1 Belgian Grand Prix: ‘What an idiot!’ – Lewis Hamilton savaged by Fernando Alonso after collision at Belgian Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso has called Lewis Hamilton an “idiot” who “only knows how to drive and start first” after the pair collided on the opening lap of the Belgian Grand Prix, forcing the Mercedes driver out of the race.

Hamilton, who started the race at Spa behind Alonso and fourth on the grid, attempted a move on the outside of the Spaniard early in the race. But there was contact as Alonso held the inside line, with Hamilton sent airborne in a dramatic incident.

The damage suffered by Hamilton forced the seven-time champion to retire from the race – ending his streak of being the only driver to finish every race this season.

And to make matters worse, Hamilton was then savaged by Alonso as his former McLaren teammate made it clear who he believed was to blame for the crash.

“What a fool! Closing the door from the outside,” Alonso said on his team radio. “We had a great start, but this guy only knows how to drive and start first.”

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