Sainz puts Ferrari first at the start in Belgium after Verstappen penalty

Ferrari’s (NYSE: RACE ) Carlos Sainz will start Sunday first on the starting grid at the Belgian Grand Prix after penalties reshuffled the grid and sent the race leader championship, Max Verstappen, of Red Bull, to the 15th position.

The Dutchman, one of seven drivers with engine- and gearbox-related grid losses, set a fastest time of one minute 43.665 seconds to beat Spaniard Sainz by a comfortable 0.632 seconds.

Verstappen will start ahead of Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, his closest rival for the title, who was fourth fastest but dropped to 16th.

Mexican Sergio Pérez was third fastest for Red Bull and will move to the front row alongside Sainz, with Alpine’s Fernando Alonso on the second row.

“We have to move forward, especially with a car like this it would be a shame not to be on the podium,” said Verstappen, who has looked dominant all weekend.

The 24-year-old is 80 points ahead of Leclerc with nine races to go.

Starting from pole for the second time in his Formula 1 career, Sainz was keen to seize the opportunity for a second win but was wary of Red Bull’s speed.

“Happy to start on pole but obviously not so happy to see the difference to Max this weekend and the difference Red Bull has to us,” said the Spaniard, adding that he hopes Verstappen is in contention for victory. .

Trailing the top three, seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton set the seventh fastest time and will start fourth ahead of his Mercedes teammate George Russell in fifth.

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