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Oscar Piastri blows everyone away with 10-year F1 first at Belgian Grand Priz

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Oscar Piastri has become the first rookie driver to lead a Formula 1 Grand Prix in ten years in another spectacular day of driving that has blown the world away at the Belgian Grand Prix.

The Australian fought with world champion Max Verstappen during Sunday morning’s sprint race, but was ultimately no match for the Red Bull rocket.

Piastri finished P2 in the sprint race — and incredibly feels he could have done more after missing out on pole position for the spring race by just 0.011.

The qualifying lap marked Piastri’s true arrival as a F1 star in the making as he beat teammate Lando Norris by three positions.

He showed it was no fluke when he ceased control of the sprint race following the first flurry of pit stops.

By lap three, the Australian was eight-tenths ahead of Verstappen, his wet-set-up car resisting the Red Bull, which had superior straight-line speed.

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Verstappen had to jump Piastri on a re-start from a safety car to take the race lead before powering away to win by 6.6 seconds.

Verstappen was one of many to heap praise on Piastri after the dramatic day of results.

Aussie Daniel Ricciardo was another to shine at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps track.

Ricciardo qualified his AlphaTauri to P11 and then pushed ahead in the sprint race to finish 10th.

The position would have been enough for Ricciardo to secure his first championship points for his team if it had been a Grands Prix race and not a sprint race — with George Russell

picking up the final point by passing Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon to finish eighth.

Ricciardo continued to show he is already the top dog in the Red Bull sister team’s garage, outperforming teammate Yuki Tsunoda in qualifying and the race.

Tsunoda was eliminated in the first qualifying session and then finished the sprint race 18th.

Piastri, meanwhile, has moved into the top ten spots in the F1 championship ladder, picking up seven points for McLaren, while his teammate Lando Norris finished sixth.

It was a special day for the 22-year-old.

“Very, very happy. We tried our best,” Piastri said.

“We boxed when the safety car came in, led a few laps. I tried my best but we were no match for Max. Nice to be up there in P2.

“I think, apart from Max, our pace was really strong, so full credit to the team again.

“The last three weekends we’ve had, it’s been pretty special, compared to where we have been, so I can’t thank them enough for the car. We’ve still got a little bit of work to do — clearly — to get right to the top, but it’s a lot nicer to be up there. To lead my first laps was a day I won’t forget.”

It says a lot about Piastri that he was not completely satisfied finishing second during the qualifying session.

“It’s obviously really disappointing to miss out on pole just 11 thousandths of a second, but I am proud to be on the front row,” he said.

Verstappen said: “So far Piastri has had a great debut season. On pure pace he’s for sure good, but what I think is the most important is how consistent he is. He doesn’t make many mistakes and that’s impressive in your first season”.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner was also impressed when talking about the headache he gave Verstappen, saying: “Very strong drive again by Oscar Piastri”.

Red Bull’s double defending world champion rode his luck when Piastri snatched the lead by making an early pit-stop to switch from wet to intermediate tyres before storming back to win.

Verstappen’s win extended Red Bull’s record this year to 14 wins from 14 races — 11 grands prix and three sprints.

He said he agreed with Red Bull’s strategy decision, which cost him the early lead, but ensured he was able to go on and win.

“I think it was just a safer call,” he said. “I could come in first, but then I might be blocked by other cars. There might be a Safety Car and then you lose out massively, so I didn’t mind to stay out.

“I mean we lost one position, but we know we are quick and you could see that when we put the ‘inter’ tyres on we were flying so it was ok.”

Looking ahead to Sunday night’s Grand Prix, when he will start sixth after taking a five-place penalty, Verstappen said his chief concern was not only the possible change of conditions, but also the risk of a collision at La Source, the hairpin first corner.

“I need to pass a few cars so I think the biggest risk is just lap one, especially Turn One. It’s always very tricky there so, as long as we stay out of trouble, I think we will have a quick car.”

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc will start Sunday’s main event from pole.

Piastri came home a strong second ahead of Pierre Gasly, who gave the beleaguered Alpine team something to celebrate, with Carlos Sainz and his Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc finishing fourth and fifth.

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton came home fourth on track for Mercedes, but was demoted to seventh behind Lando Norris, in the second McLaren, after taking a five-second penalty for a clash with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.

Belgian GP Sprint Result: Top 10

1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull (8 points)

2) Oscar Piastri, McLaren (7 points)

3) Pierre Gasly, Alpine (6 points)

4) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari (5 points)

5) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari (4 points)

6) Lando Norris, McLaren (3 points)

7) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes (2 points)

8) George Russell, Mercedes (1 point)

9) Esteban Ocon, Alpine

10) Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri

Read related topics:Daniel Ricciardo

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