F1 star Max Verstappen to be slapped with FIVE-PLACE grid penalty for Belgian Grand Prix | The Sun

MAX VERSTAPPEN is set to be slapped with a five-place grid penalty for Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix.

That is after the reigning world champion reportedly installed a fifth gearbox of the season for the upcoming race.

And that means he has exceeded the allocated limit of four per driver's car in the Formula One season and therefore cannot start any higher than sixth on the grid at Spa on Sunday afternoon.

Qualifying takes place today to determine the starting positions, with a separate sprint qualifying and sprint race tomorrow – which means Verstappen can start on pole for that.

Red Bull remain confident they can get through the season using just the four for his team-mate Sergio Perez, though.

The team suffered issues with Verstappen's gear box at the Saudi Arabian GP in Jeddah back in March.


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However, it has barely held the Dutch driver back in 2023.

Verstappen has won a staggering nine of the 11 races so far – coming second to Perez in Saudi and Azerbaijan as Red Bull extended their record winning run to 12 at the Hungarian GP last time out where the only dampener was having his trophy smashed by Lando Norris.

That sees him hold a whopping 110-point lead at the top of the drivers' standings.

There are still 11 races left in the 2023 campaign, which concludes in Abu Dhabi on November 26.

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And Verstappen will be confident he can continue his dominant stretch to wrap up a hat-trick of world titles.

But he faces an uphill task to claim the chequered flag at Spa this weekend in the final race before the summer break – although few would bet against the 25-year-old storming through the pack yet again.

Especially because Verstappen started the 2022 Belgian GP from 14th after taking the punishment for more new engine parts… and still roared to a 17.8-second victory.

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