Max Verstappen can cement his place in the Formula One record books by surpassing Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton, so says Jody Scheckter.

Red Bull driver Verstappen broke another record with his victory at the Italian Grand Prix, tallying up a tenth straight race victory, overtaking Sebastian Vettel's previous best of nine.

Verstappen extended his lead in the drivers' championship standings to 145 points and looks on course to win his third title in a row - having triumphed in 2021 and 2022 - and Scheckter sees no reason why the Dutchman's run will end here.

"It really depends on the cars, to a large extent. There's no question he's good enough but has he always got the winning car," he told Stats Perform. 

"To think Lewis [Hamilton] had a dominant car for a long period of time, not to take anything away from him. I also think he's brilliant and smart. You can get in a bad car now and then, doesn't matter how good you are, you're not going to be winning.

"Right now, he's got the car to win. Granted, you can't put anything against it. If he has this dominance all the time, it could be maybe eight drivers' championships."

Verstappen became the youngest driver in F1 when he made his debut aged 17 at the 2015 Austrian Grand Prix, but Scheckter believes that the 25-year-old has had to refine his technique and tactics on the track to fulfil his championship-winning potential.

"He's obviously quick as anything, but he's aggressive. But he's also smart and comes out on the top in these different very difficult situations. At the beginning, he was too aggressive. But now he seems to get it all together and real championship material," Scheckter added.

"I think at the beginning, when you get into Formula One, you just want to prove that you're faster than everybody and so that's what you do. And then you realise you don't win championships like that.

"You tune yourself and he's a smart guy. So he's got it together now and obviously got the car at the moment to do it."

With Verstappen closing in on his third successive title, it has reignited debate surrounding the competitiveness of F1.

Prior to Verstappen's win in 2021, Hamilton had won six titles in the space of seven years, with Vettel also winning four in a row between 2010 and 2013.

According to Scheckter, who won the drivers' championship in 1979 during a nine-year career in which no F1 rival successfully defended their title, changes should be made to try and level the playing field during this era of Red Bull dominance.

He said: "One thing that frustrates me about are these penalties that they mean they have to go back on the grid, and if the gearbox goes, it just doesn't make any sense to me at all.

"It spoils the spectacle of the racing, you want to see people racing on the track. If he breaks down in practice or qualifying he can't get back up to race. Why?

"Everybody wants to see them racing side by side. Just doesn't make any sense from a spectator's point of view that I can see."

Max Verstappen drove his way into the Formula One history books by taking his 10th-consecutive victory at Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix.

Verstappen sat behind Carlos Sainz for 14 of the 51 laps at Monza’s Temple of Speed before fighting his way past the Ferrari pole-sitter at the second chicane.

From there, the commanding Dutchman never looked back to better the mark he shared with Sebastian Vettel and become the first driver in Formula One to reach double figures for straight victories.

Sergio Perez finished second in the other Red Bull, while Sainz held off team-mate Charles Leclerc in a tantalising late battle between the Ferrari drivers to take the final spot on the podium.

George Russell finished fifth with Lewis Hamilton, who served a five-second penalty for colliding with McLaren’s Oscar Piastri, sixth.

“That is history,” said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner to his superstar driver. “Unbelievable.”

Verstappen’s 12th win from the 14 rounds so far moves him 145 points clear in the championship.

Unbeaten since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on April 30, there remains an outside chance the 25-year-old could be crowned champion of the world for a third time as early as the Japanese Grand Prix in three weeks with half-a-dozen rounds still remaining.

Sainz lit up Ferrari’s home track by taking pole position and kept the dream alive of a victory in front of the Italian team’s 80,000-strong crowd by holding off Verstappen on the 500-metre drag to the opening Variante del Rettifilo.

Verstappen was the filling in a Ferrari sandwich with Leclerc maintaining third spot ahead of Mercedes’ Russell and Perez. Hamilton started eighth but dropped one position on the first lap.

Such has been the superiority of Verstappen’s Red Bull machine this year, Sainz was expected to be easy prey for the all-conquering Dutchman.

But to Verstappen’s surprise, Sainz was not prepared to make life easy for the double world champion.

On lap six, Verstappen was handed his first opportunity, drawing alongside Sainz on the 220mph run to the first chicane, only for the Spaniard to slam the door in his face.

“That was naughty,” said Verstappen. Three laps later, Verstappen was back on the intercom. “They have a lot of top speed, for f*** sake,” he said.

Further back and Russell’s mirrors were occupied by the other Red Bull of Perez. Asked to manage his rubber, the Englishman replied: “I don’t know if you can see, but I have got a car right up my a***.”

Up front and Verstappen sensed another chance to take the lead on lap 15.

A defensive Sainz locked up at the Variante del Rettifilo, handing Verstappen the exit speed on the 200mph charge to the Variante della Roggia.

The Red Bull and Ferrari machines were separated by mere centimetres as they went toe-to-toe into the second chicane before Verstappen, benefiting from the inside line, emerged in the lead.

Remarkably, Sainz’s 14 laps in the lead was the highest in any event this season by a non-Red Bull driver. The team from Milton Keynes could yet become the first team to go an entire campaign unbeaten with eight races to run.

On lap 16, Perez moved up to fourth with Russell – struggling for top-line speed in his Mercedes – unable to keep the Red Bull behind.

With Verstappen cruising imperiously to victory, Perez moved up third after seeing off Leclerc.

The Mexican set about passing Sainz, and, after a number of failed attempts, he finally blasted past the Ferrari with five laps remaining to ensure a one-two for Red Bull.

After emerging from his tyre stop in 10th, Hamilton moved ahead of Fernando Alonso before banging wheels with Piastri in the battle for eighth.

Hamilton was hit with a penalty for the incident at the Variante della Roggia as Piastri pitted for a new front wing.

“He just turned across me under braking,” bemoaned the Australian rookie.

Undeterred by his sanction, Hamilton then raced ahead of Lando Norris before moving past Alex Albon’s Williams to take sixth, finishing 7.4 seconds clear to ensure his penalty had no impact on his result.

Albon finished seventh ahead of Norris, with Alonso ninth.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz beat Max Verstappen to top spot in final practice for the Italian Grand Prix.

Sainz’s lap in the closing moments of the one-hour running in Monza drew a huge roar from the tifosi, providing the Ferrari faithful with hope a scarlet car might secure pole position at the team’s home event.

Sainz, who was also quickest in Friday’s second running, saw off Verstappen by 0.086 seconds. Lewis Hamilton finished third for Mercedes.

Charles Leclerc made a mistake on his speediest lap and had to settle for fourth, half-a-second slower than team-mate Sainz.

Verstappen is bidding to become the first driver to win 10 consecutive races, but Ferrari appear to have a car capable of denying the Dutchman pole.

For Hamilton, the seven-time world champion will be pleased to be back at the sharp end of the pack after he finished 17th in practice on Friday.

However, the British driver was still 0.541 seconds back from Sainz, with team-mate George Russell sixth. Fernando Alonso finished fifth for Aston Martin, with Sergio Perez 10th and McLaren’s Lando Norris 17th.

Qualifying for the 14th round of the season takes place at 4pm (3pm BST).

Max Verstappen has hit back at criticism of his dominance and set the target of remaining unbeaten for the final nine races of the season.

The all-conquering Dutchman will become the first driver in history to win 10 consecutive races if he takes the chequered flag at the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Verstappen has been in imperious form this year, winning 11 of the 13 rounds staged as he closes in on a hat-trick of World Championships.

With a lead of 183 points heading into this weekend’s race in Monza there is a chance he could even close out the title with six rounds still remaining at the Japanese Grand Prix on September 24.

However, Verstappen’s emphatic streak has led to suggestions that the sport has become boring.

But responding to the accusations in an interview with the PA news agency, Verstappen, 25, said: “They cannot appreciate dominance or just people executing their jobs.

“It is nothing really new in Formula One, and I cannot do much with those kind of comments. Does it bother me? No. It would probably be worse if they were talking about other stuff. I am enjoying what I am doing and I hope I can do it for a while.

“I don’t want it to stop. We have another good opportunity this weekend. I believe I can win every single race.”

Verstappen’s victory on his home track in Zandvoort – which drew him level with Sebastian Vettel’s record of nine straight wins – was among the very best of the 46 of his career so far.

At one stage, he was lapping four seconds faster than Sergio Perez in the other Red Bull, and two seconds quicker than anybody else.

His virtuoso display in the inclement conditions prompted double world champion Fernando Alonso to say Verstappen’s achievements are being underestimated.

“It is not about getting the recognition because I know how hard it is to do,” said Verstappen.

“If it was very easy, more drivers would have won nine in a row, and more teams would have done it, and that is not the case.

“It hasn’t been straightforward either. In Zandvoort especially, a lot of things could have gone wrong, and in the end we still handled that really well.

“I never thought I would get to nine. I remember watching Seb do it, and I was like, ‘Jesus Christ, that is extremely difficult’, and now I am here and it is amazing.”

Verstappen will share the grid with long-time rival Lewis Hamilton for at least another two seasons after the British driver signed a new £50million-a-year deal to remain with Mercedes.

The contract extension will take Hamilton beyond his 40th birthday, and provides the possibility of a championship rematch with Verstappen if Mercedes can somehow close the gap to Red Bull.

Hamilton, who was denied an eighth world title after race director Michael Masi failed to follow the correct rules in Abu Dhabi in 2021, alluded to “unfinished business” after signing his latest deal.

Twenty months on from F1’s most contentious race, does Verstappen – who, on new tyres, had to pass Hamilton on the final lap to take the title – feel his maiden championship triumph was tainted?

“It was not like it was given to me,” he said. “I still had to do it.

“People always have short memories and they can forget a lot of stuff very quickly.

“It was a great year, and we had a lot of great battles with two teams going at it and that was amazing for Formula One.

“But you will always have a winner, and you will always have a loser. That is how this sport works, and I was also ready to lose.
“It was a 50-50 chance and it fell my way. But in the future I could be in a situation where it doesn’t fall my way and that is how life goes.

“I don’t really care a lot about other people’s opinions. I only care about people that are very close to me so whatever people say or write, I am like ‘whatever’.

“I grew up my whole life wanting to be a Formula One driver and I will do everything it takes to try and be successful at it.

“I make my choices and my decisions and that is why I am very relaxed about these things. I go home, I switch off from Formula One, and I am happy with my career. And when I come back to the race weekends I do my thing, and that is it.”

Fernando Alonso believes Max Verstappen’s record-equalling Formula One reign has been underestimated.

Verstappen matched Sebastian Vettel’s all-time streak of nine consecutive wins with a brilliant display in Sunday’s wet-dry-wet Dutch Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver is 138 points clear at the summit of the world championship and could close out his third title as early as next month.

Earlier this season, Lewis Hamilton described Verstappen’s Red Bull machine as the fastest car he has ever seen.

But during Verstappen’s run of nine in a row, team-mate Sergio Perez – the only other driver to win a race in 2023 – has finished off the podium five times.

And double world champion Alonso, runner-up to Verstappen in Zandvoort, said: “It is underestimated what Max is achieving. To win in such a dominant way in any professional sport is so complicated.

“Today I felt connected with the car and that I was able to give 100 per cent of my abilities but perhaps at other races in Belgium or Austria, for example, I wasn’t able to do that.

“But Max is achieving 100 per cent more often than the rest of us at the moment, and that is why he is dominating.”

Since he claimed his maiden title at the controversial season-ending Abu Dhabi race in 2021, Verstappen has won 26 of the 35 races staged. In his last 24 appearances, Verstappen has failed to win just four times. He has triumphed at 11 of the 13 rounds so far this year.

On Sunday night, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner lauded his star driver as “simply untouchable”.

Hamilton’s Mercedes team secured eight consecutive constructors’ championships before Red Bull returned to the top.

Hamilton won six titles in seven seasons, but he was never able to win more than five races in a row. Michael Schumacher managed seven straight victories for Ferrari during his stranglehold of the sport at the turn of the century.

And Verstappen, 25, said: “There have been more dominant cars in the past than we have at the moment, and they haven’t been able to win nine in a row.

“It is hard and, especially in the rain, it’s easy to make a wrong call or spin into the gravel. So, it’s never that straightforward.”

Verstappen will bid to secure his 10th consecutive win at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix in Monza.

Christian Horner has hailed “untouchable” Max Verstappen as the best driver in the world after the Red Bull star overcame a chaotic rain-hit Dutch Grand Prix to equal Sebastian Vettel’s record of nine wins in a row.

Despite two separate downpours wreaking havoc at the beginning and conclusion of Sunday’s 72-lap race in Zandvoort, Verstappen delivered in front of 105,000 expectant fans to take the chequered flag ahead of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, with Pierre Gasly completing the podium.

Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez, slapped with a five-second penalty for speeding in the pit-lane, finished fourth while Lewis Hamilton – who bemoaned his Mercedes team’s poor strategy in the inclement conditions – came home in sixth place.

Verstappen, who has won 11 of the 13 rounds so far, will head to next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix in Monza 138 points clear in the drivers’ championship.

There remains an outside chance he could complete his hat-trick of titles at the Japanese Grand Prix on September 24 with half-a-dozen rounds still to run.

“Max is in a period of his career where he is just simply untouchable,” said Red Bull team principal Horner, who oversaw Vettel’s streak of nine straight wins a decade ago.

“I don’t think there is any driver on the grid that would be able to achieve what he is doing in that car.

“To win nine races in a row is insane, and it is something that none of us would have envisaged, and I never thought we would repeat it after we managed it with Sebastian. What we are witnessing is a driver that is generational.

“Max has been in incredible form for the past three years, and the most impressive thing for me is all the pressure that he is under here.

“With the expectation of 100,000 Dutch fans, a lot would have cracked under that pressure, but he kept his composure and delivered, as he has done so many times.”

Come wind, rain or shine, 25-year-old Verstappen is the man for all occasions. On pole, he found himself down in 13th place after seven drivers – including team-mate Perez – took advantage of a sudden first-lap downpour to move on to wet tyres.

But by lap 13, Verstappen – who at one stage was lapping his home track four seconds faster than Perez and two seconds quicker than anybody else – was back in the lead.

His record-equalling feat was placed in doubt when the rain returned with vengeance with a dozen laps to go, and Zhou Guanyu crashed out, and the race was stopped.

A 43-minute delay and six-lap dash to the chequered flag followed, but Verstappen denied Alonso any hope of taking his first win in a decade with an assured drive. He finished 3.7 sec clear of the Spaniard.

As Verstappen ensured Red Bull’s unbeaten run remained, Hamilton’s afternoon was scuppered by Mercedes’ dithering following the first-lap downpour.

Hamilton was not called in for wet tyres until the end of lap three with team-mate George Russell following in on the next lap. When the dust settled, Hamilton and Russell, who started third, were 16th and 18th respectively.

From there it was a damage-limitation exercise for both men, with Hamilton driving well to take sixth place.

Russell might have finished seventh but for a late duel with countryman Lando Norris leaving him with race-ending harm to his Mercedes. Norris crossed the line in seventh place.

Max Verstappen topped a rain-interrupted final practice session for Sunday’s Dutch Grand Prix.

The concluding hour before qualifying was red-flagged on three occasions following a series of accidents in the tricky conditions at Zandvoort.

With the session a little more than 10 minutes old, Kevin Magnussen spun out in his Haas at Turn 3, before Zhou Guanyu beached his Alfa Romeo at the penultimate corner.

Liam Lawson – the New Zealander making his Formula One debut as a replacement for Daniel Ricciardo who suffered a broken wrist in practice – then performed a pirouette heading into the main straight.

Lawson, 21, grazed the tyre wall on the opposing side of the circuit which led to a third stoppage.

When the action resumed, Verstappen, who is bidding to equal Sebastian Vettel’s record of nine consecutive victories, set an impressive pace in front of his home crowd.

The Red Bull driver finished three tenths clear of George Russell, with the Mercedes driver the only man within one second of Verstappen.

Sergio Perez took third spot, one place ahead of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso with Lewis Hamilton fifth for Mercedes.

Qualifying takes place at 3pm local time (2pm BST) with the unsettled weather conditions forecast to continue throughout the day.

Max Verstappen picked up where he left off by posting the fastest time in opening practice for the Dutch Grand Prix.

Verstappen, who has won 10 of the 12 rounds so far and will match Sebastian Vettel’s record of nine consecutive victories if he triumphs again on Sunday, finished 0.278 seconds clear of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso.

Lewis Hamilton took third spot for Mercedes, three tenths adrift of Verstappen, with Sergio Perez fourth in the other Red Bull.

Verstappen dominated the opening half of the Formula One season to establish a 125-point championship lead in his pursuit of a third straight world title.

On Thursday, Hamilton raised the prospect of the Dutchman winning all of the remaining 10 rounds, and on the evidence of the first running, he will head into the weekend in front of an expectant Zandvoort crowd as the clear favourite to continue his commanding streak.

For Hamilton, the seven-time world champion said his goal for the second half of the season is to finish runner-up in the drivers’ standings.

The 38-year-old is currently fourth, 41 points behind Perez, who occupies second spot, and he will be relatively pleased with his opening salvo. Mercedes team-mate George Russell finished 11th, the best part of a second down.

Haas announced ahead of this weekend’s race that Nico Hulkenberg will be retained for a second term with the American team.

But the veteran German crashed out of practice after losing control of his machine through the penultimate corner. With his Haas beached in the gravel, the running was suspended.

Over at Ferrari, Charles Leclerc was only 16th, three spots ahead of Robert Shwartzman, a junior driver for the Italian team who stood in for Carlos Sainz for first practice.

McLaren driver Lando Norris finished sixth, one place behind Williams’ Alex Albon.

Second practice gets under way at 4pm local time (3pm BST).

Max Verstappen overcame Oscar Piastri to win Formula One’s sprint race at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Pole-sitter Verstappen fell behind Piastri after the Australian moved from wet tyres to intermediate rubber a lap earlier before blasting back into the lead at the midway stage of a frantic rain-hit dash at Spa-Francorchamps.

Rookie Piastri finished runner-up with Pierre Gasly a surprise third for Alpine. Lewis Hamilton finished fourth but was hit with a five-second penalty for colliding with Sergio Perez, dropping him to seventh.

Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc were promoted to fourth and fifth respectively for Ferrari with McLaren’s Lando Norris sixth. George Russell took the final point in eighth.

Perez was forced to retire from the race allowing Verstappen to extend his championship lead from 110 points to 118 ahead of tomorrow’s 44-lap Grand Prix.

Six minutes before the race was due to get under way, the FIA announced the start would be postponed following heavy rainfall in the area.

A 30-minute delay followed before a rainbow emerged over Spa-Francorchamps and the weather improved.

At 5:35pm local time, the Safety Car led Verstappen et al on five formation laps in an attempt to clear the spray and aid the drivers with visibility.

FIA race director Niels Wittich’s decision over when to enable the start of the race was heightened following the death of 18-year-old Dilano Van ‘t Hoff at a rain-hit Formula Regional European Championship (FRECA) race four weeks ago.

The safety car peeled in, paving the way for a rolling start and a shortened 11-lap dash to the chequered flag.

But, before a proper racing lap had even taken place, half of the 20-strong field came into the pits to change from the full wets to the intermediate tyre.

Among them was Piastri, Perez and Hamilton with Verstappen staying out on track.

Verstappen immediately knew he was on the wrong rubber, calling on his team to change him to the intermediate tyres.

In Verstappen came at the end of the opening lap, but by the time he emerged, Piastri had done enough to leapfrog him and lead a Formula One race for the first time in his career.

Gasly, Perez and Hamilton benefited from their early stops to move up the pecking order.

On lap three, the Safety Car was back out after Fernando Alonso crashed. The double world champion, who turned 42 on Saturday, lost control of his Aston Martin through the left-hander Turn 11, pirouetting through the gravel and nudging the barrier.

Piastri headed the field when the race restarted on lap six, but his defence lasted only a handful of corners.

Verstappen tracked Piastri through the fearsome Eau Rouge-Raidillon section and then blasted by on the Kemmel Straight.

Asked if it was a mistake not to stop for inters at the very start of the race, Verstappen said: “No, it was just a safer call.

“I could have come in first and be blocked by other cars in the pits. We lost one position but we knew we were quick and when we put the inter tyres on we were flying.”

Piastri, 22, said: “I feel very happy. We tried our best and led a few laps but we were no match for Max.

“I thought the safety car would play in my favour with less laps to try and hold him behind. I got a good restart but by the top of Eau Rouge he was on top of me already. I could not keep him behind on the straight.”

Further back in the battle for fourth, Hamilton attempted to muscle his way past Perez but the Mercedes man made contact with his Red Bull rival. Perez briefly remained ahead before Hamilton drove round the outside of the Mexican at La Source.

Perez sustained damage in the accident and fell down the field, sliding through the gravel and then being ordered by his Red Bull team to retire the car.

The stewards investigated the flashpoint and slapped Hamilton with a penalty, demoting him down the order.

Verstappen remained in control of the race, taking the chequered flag 6.6 sec clear of Piastri to rack up yet another win in a one-sided campaign.

Max Verstappen will start on pole position for Saturday’s sprint race after beating McLaren’s Oscar Piastri to top spot by just 0.011 seconds.

Verstappen qualified fastest here on Friday for Sunday’s Grand Prix, but he will line up in sixth after serving a grid penalty for a gearbox change.

But for the 15-lap dash in the Ardennes, the Red Bull driver begins from the front after edging out the impressive Piastri in wet-dry conditions at Spa-Francorchamps.

Carlos Sainz finished third, just 0.025sec adrift of Verstappen, with Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc fourth.

Lando Norris took fifth for McLaren, while Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, who appeared to trip over one another in the closing moments, only seventh and 10th respectively for Mercedes.

“It was difficult, but we stayed calm,” said Verstappen. “The gap to second was not as big as yesterday, but there was no need to risk it all.

“My second sector was a bit careful – turns eight and nine were very slippery so I left a bit of time on the table – but I am still on pole and that is what counts.

“Let’s see if it rains in the afternoon. I will try to have a clean start and have good vision and that is very important when it is wet.”

The start of qualifying was delayed following heavy rainfall in the area, but the sun suddenly broke through allowing the action to get under way 35 minutes later than advertised.

The final running took place on an almost dry track and the times tumbled as grip improved and the clock ticked down.

Rookie Piastri, 22, looked to have done enough to take the spoils when he crossed the line fastest, only for Verstappen to steal his thunder

“There wasn’t much left in that lap,” said Piastri over the radio. “Probably 11 milliseconds.”

Verstappen is on course to gallop to his third world championship in as many years and the Dutch driver will be expected to extend his 110-point lead over team-mate Sergio Perez later on Saturday, with the Mexican only eighth on the grid.

Eight points are awarded for the winner of the 15-lap dash, with a sliding scale down to to eighth place.

The result of Saturday’s sprint, which could take place in the wet with more rain forecast, has no bearing on Sunday’s 44-lap main event.

Lance Stroll’s gamble to switch from wet rubber to slicks with a couple minutes of Q2 remaining backfired as he crashed out.

The Canadian driver lost control of his Aston Martin through the left-hand ninth corner, skidding through the gravel and into the tyre barrier.

The front of Stroll’s machine was heavily damaged in the accident and the running was suspended.

His crash meant team-mate Fernando Alonso, who turned 42 on Saturday, did not post a time, leaving him a disappointing 15th on the grid.

Saturday’s race is due to get under way at 5:05pm local time (4:05pm BST).

Max Verstappen vowed to kiss and make up with his race engineer following their X-rated row in Belgian Grand Prix qualifying.

Verstappen finished fastest in a wet-dry session at Spa-Francorchamps, but he will start Sunday’s 44-lap race from sixth following a gearbox penalty.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is promoted to pole position, with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez second. Lewis Hamilton, on pole a week ago in Hungary, will line up in third.

Verstappen made it into Q3 – the final phase of qualifying – by the skin of his teeth and vented his anger at long-serving race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase, known as GP, following the close-call.

“I should have just f****** pushed two laps in a row like I said,” said Verstappen, who sneaked through in 10th place.

“But you are through, Max,” replied Lambiase.

“I don’t give a f*** that we are P10, mate. It is just s*** execution,” came Verstappen’s fiery response.

Lambiase snapped back: “OK, and then when the track was two seconds quicker for your final lap and you didn’t have any energy left, how would that have gone down?”

A surly Lambiase added: “But you tell me what you want to do in Q3 and we’ll do it. Tyre sets, fuel, run plan.”

After returning to finish eighth tenths clear of Leclerc, Verstappen issued an apology.

“Sorry to GP for being such on the rant,” he said over the radio.

Lambiase replied: “Slowly getting used to it, Max.”

Speaking afterwards, Verstappen added: “It happens sometimes. Most of it is blocked off.

“We are mates. We can get quite emotional, quite vocal. We sort it out afterwards.”

Verstappen’s grid drop for exceeding the allocated number of four gearboxes will provide his rivals with forlorn hope they can end his seven-race winning streak.

However, the Dutchman, a winner of nine of the 11 rounds so far this season, started this race from 14th last year owing to engine penalties and still took the victory in his all-conquering Red Bull machine.

For Hamilton, the seven-time world champion faced a post-qualifying investigation from the stewards after he ran off the circuit at Eau Rouge before re-joining in front of team-mate George Russell in Q2.

Russell was forced to slow down to avoid making contact with the sister Mercedes. Race control noted the incident and confirmed they would investigate.

Hamilton finished nine tenths slower than Verstappen, with Russell even further back in eighth, 0.8sec adrift of his team-mate.

“It was definitely very hectic because it was consistently drying up,” said Hamilton after the running started on a wet track.

“It was difficult to see with the spray. I was head down, just maximining as much as I could.

“At the end, I was still a good chunk off Max. But I am really happy with the result I’ve got.”

Carlos Sainz qualified fifth for Ferrari, one spot ahead of Oscar Piastri, with Lando Norris seventh in the other McLaren.

Daniel Ricciardo finished a commendable 13th on his F1 comeback but the Australian will line up from the penultimate spot on the grid.

Ricciardo temporarily hauled his AlphaTauri through to Q2 only to see his lap time deleted for exceeding track limits.

“F***, I am sorry,” said Ricciardo when informed of the chalked-off lap. “I just lost it through Turn 3. I am sorry.”

Spa-Francorchamps is hosting the sport’s third sprint event of the year with a shortened race on Saturday to come before Sunday’s main event – the concluding round ahead of the sport’s summer shutdown.

Max Verstappen took pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix despite an X-rated radio row with his race engineer.

Verstappen was embroiled in a squabble with Gianpiero Lambiase after he only just made it through to Q3 during a wet-dry session at Spa-Francorchamps.

But the championship leader regained his composure at the business end of qualifying to demolish the opposition, finishing eight tenths clear of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc with Sergio Perez third in the other Red Bull. Lewis Hamilton qualified fourth.

However, Verstappen will only start Sunday’s race from sixth position as he serves a five-place grid drop for exceeding his gearbox allocation.

Verstappen made it into the final phase by the skin of his teeth in 10th place and then vented his anger at his long-serving engineer.

Verstappen accused his team of “s*** execution”, claiming he should have pushed harder on an earlier lap after the field switched from wet to dry rubber.

“I don’t give a f*** that we are P10, mate”, he yelled over the radio.

Lambiase snapped back: “OK, and then when the track was two seconds quicker for your final lap and you didn’t have any energy left, how would that have gone down?”

A surly Lambiase added: “But you tell me what you want to do in Q3 and we’ll do it. Tyre sets, fuel, run plan.”

But after taking pole, Verstappen, 110 points clear at the standings and on a run of seven-consecutive wins in his all-conquering Red Bull machine, said over the radio: “Sorry to GP for being such on the rant.”

Lambiase replied: “Slowly getting used to it, Max.”

Hamilton secured pole a week ago in Hungary, but he is facing an investigation from the stewards after he ran off the circuit at Eau Rouge before re-joining in front of team-mate George Russell in Q2.

Russell was forced to slow down to avoid making contact with the sister Mercedes. Race control noted the incident before confirming they would investigate.

It was an underwhelming afternoon for the Silver Arrows with Hamilton nine tenths slower than Verstappen, and Russell ever further back in eighth, 0.8sec adrift of his team-mate. Lando Norris finished seventh, a spot behind Oscar Piastri in the other McLaren.

Daniel Ricciardo qualified a commendable 13th on his return a week ago, but the Australia will line up from the penultimate spot on the grid on Sunday.

Ricciardo temporarily hauled his AlphaTauri through to Q2 only to see his lap time deleted for exceeding track limits.

“F***, I am sorry,” said Ricciardo when informed of the bad news. “I just lost it through Turn 3. I am sorry.”

Max Verstappen handed his rivals the slimmest of hopes that he could be beaten at Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix after he finished only 11th in practice.

The dominant Dutchman, who has won eight of the 10 rounds so far and six in succession to establish a 99-point lead in the standings, has mastered all conditions this season.

But Verstappen unusually ended the sole dry running here six tenths back from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with McLaren’s Lando Norris – fresh from his impressive second place at the British Grand Prix – 0.015 seconds adrift of the scarlet car.

Lewis Hamilton was 16th with Mercedes team-mate George Russell 20th and last on a topsy-turvy day at the Hungaroring.

Despite Verstappen being off the pace, times in practice must be treated with a degree of caution as different setup and fuel loads are trialled.

It is also worth noting that a number of the top teams will have held back fresh rubber following the reduction of tyre allocation from 13 sets to 11 here.

Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez took two wins from the opening four, but the Mexican has been on a torrid run since, and his bad form continued when he crashed out of first practice.

The opening one-hour running of the weekend was dry and barely a few minutes old when Perez – on his first lap – lost control of his Red Bull and ended up in the wall.

The Mexican put two wheels on the grass under braking for the fifth corner, sending him into a pirouette and into the tyre barrier.

Perez was unharmed in the accident but he sustained significant damage to the front of his machine. It also denied the rest of the field any dry running as the heavens opened with the red flags deployed to recover Perez’s wounded machine.

The 33-year-old is under increasing pressure at Red Bull following five-consecutive qualifying sessions in which he has failed to make it into Q3. On each of those occasions, Verstappen has scored pole position in the other Red Bull.

Daniel Ricciardo’s comeback at Red Bull’s junior team AlphaTauri is also likely to be playing on Perez’s mind, with the Australian admitting he is daring to dream about the possibility of a return to the grid’s all-conquering team.

Perez was able to take part in the day’s concluding action but he locked up and flat-spotted his front-right tyre and could manage only 18th, 1.3 sec slower than Leclerc.

Ricciardo, back in the saddle in place of the sacked Nyck De Vries, has a dozen races to prove he still possesses the prowess which carried him to eight wins.

He finished 14th in his first outing since last year’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, seven tenths back and 10 places behind his new team-mate Yuki Tsunoda.

Max Verstappen delivered another crushing performance to win the British Grand Prix as Lando Norris held off Lewis Hamilton in a brilliant fight for second place.

A late safety car put Norris’ runner-up spot in doubt after McLaren elected to put the British driver on the harder, more durable tyre, rather than the speedier soft compound.

But Norris, 23, managed to keep Hamilton, 38, at bay in a tantalising battle between the two home favourites at a sold-out Silverstone.

Norris’ McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri finished fourth, one spot ahead of George Russell, with three British drivers finishing in the top five.

Verstappen’s sixth consecutive victory sees the Dutch driver move 99 points clear at the summit of the standings.

“We had a terrible start so we need to look into that,” said Verstappen. “Lando and McLaren were super-quick. It took a few laps to past them and then everything was okay.

“I am very happy that we won again and 11 wins in a row for the team is incredible but it was not straightforward today.”

McLaren have been desperately short of form this season but a major upgrade at the British team’s home race worked wonders.

Indeed, Norris briefly led Sunday’s 52-lap race after he gazumped pole-sitter Verstappen following a supreme start in his McLaren to cheers from the British grandstands.

It marked the first time a McLaren car has led the British Grand Prix since Hamilton led here for the Woking team in 2012.

However, Norris’ time at the top lasted only four-and-a-half laps after Verstappen, in his superior Red Bull machine, drew alongside the Briton on the Wellington Straight before making the move stick into Brooklands.

Piastri was running in third with Russell trying, but failing, to find a way past Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

Hamilton started seventh but dropped to eighth at the end of the first lap before regaining the position when he nailed Fernando Alonso on lap seven.

A tedious race came alive on lap 33 when Kevin Magnussen spluttered to a halt in his Haas. Flames briefly engulfed the rear of his machine before turning to smoke.

With Magnussen’s Haas in a precarious position at the start of the Wellington Straight a full safety car was deployed and Hamilton, who had yet to pit, was the main beneficiary, turning a net seventh into third when the order shuffled out.

Verstappen and Hamilton bolted on the soft rubber, but Norris, despite pleading with his McLaren team to follow suit, was given the hard compound.

When the safety car peeled in at the end of lap 38, Norris’ mirrors were suddenly occupied with Hamilton’s black Mercedes.

Hamilton sensed his opportunity racing around the outside of Norris through Brooklands and then Luffield, only for the McLaren man to hold position.

A third chance arose for Hamilton on the run down Copse but Norris expertly defended the position, leaving Hamilton with nowhere to go.

Hamilton backed out and tried again on the following lap but Norris kept his elbows out and the elder Briton was unable to find a way past.

From there, Norris was able to keep Hamilton at arm’s length, crossing the line 2.9 sec clear of the Mercedes car.

“That McLaren is a rocket ship,” said Hamilton as he crossed the line.

Piastri finished fourth on a fine afternoon for McLaren, one place ahead of Russell, with Sergio Perez sixth after he started a lowly 15th.

Alonso took the flag in seventh with Alex Albon enhancing his reputation with a fine eighth for Williams.

Verstappen crossed the line 3.7 sec clear of Norris to maintain Red Bull’s unbeaten streak this season.

Max Verstappen is in the form of his career, but Williams team principal James Vowles is confident other teams are closing in on Red Bull.

Verstappen is well clear in the drivers' championship, having won seven races already in 2023. 

Red Bull, with their other driver Sergio Perez occupying second place, are also the runaway leaders in the constructors' championship.

Vowles, though, does think the gap is gradually beginning to close.

Asked how teams can stop the Verstappen-Red Bull juggernaut, he told Stats Perform: "It's a meritocracy. They've done the best job with the same finances available, not the same equipment, the same finances available as everyone else. 

"He's on fire at the moment. There's just every race where you think he might struggle. He still pulls one out of the bag and does well. 

"I think what you are seeing is people catching up. That's the slight difference. There is a closing of the gap relative to what happened before. It's just going to take time for that to fully kick in."

Before taking charge of Williams, Vowles was the motorsport strategy director at Mercedes, who have endured a difficult time since the start of the 2022 season.

"I think Mercedes lost a year's worth of development simply because the direction they went down was quite different to really the rest of the field," he said.

"And sometimes you have to believe in what you're doing at one point, which is what they've done now, you have to realise that is the wrong direction.

"But that year hasn't been undone. You can't just undo it in the space of one week.

"So what you'll see from this is that now we're going to slowly start, I'm sure, to learn what the package is and how to develop it because they are an incredible organisation and will get back to the front, but it's going to take them I think from here another six months, 12 months to be able to do that."

Asked if F1 was becoming too predictable, Vowles replied: "I think there always is a risk of that. That's like any sport, when you can predict the result, it's less interesting.

"The only thing is I'd go back and say, actually, Austria was one of the most interesting races we've had so far this year, so the gems are still there and this won't last forever.

"[Verstappen] will come back towards everyone else and it just takes a little bit more time than we're expecting. But he will do."

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