Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen Source: PlanetF1

Red Bull star Max Verstappen is the fastest racer on the grid at present who is just unbeatable for any driver without an RB19 car. His teammate Sergio Perez was able to beat him twice this year. But the Mexican has been struggling since the Miami Grand Prix. Apparently, fans hoped Checo would do well in the sprint races, but he failed miserably in the Monaco Grand Prix.

Then he had a couple of Q3 issues where he faced elimination. Clearly, the Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko was not happy with Checo’s inconsistency. But recently, Sergio Perez got a couple of podium finishes. After 11 races in 2023, unlike drivers, for instance, George Russell, Fernando Alonso, and others, there has been no grid penalty for Max Verstappen. However, it seems like the Dutchman is about to receive his first grid penalty this year.


Max Verstappen Gets His First Grid Penalty Of 2023 In Spa

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen Source: Eurosport

According to reports from De Telegraaf, the largest daily morning newspaper in Dutch, Verstappen had to change to his fifth gearbox. As a result, the Dutchman lost five spots on the grid for the GP on Sunday. However, it has not been for the first time that Verstappen got such a penalty in Belgium. For changing some parts of his engine, Max Verstappen got a grid penalty in last year’s Belgian Grand Prix. The punishment was even worse back then, as he had to start from 14th place. However, it did not make any difference as the current double-time champion won that race quite comfortably. But the difference with this year’s penalty is that Max will have to start at least from sixth place in the feature race.

On the other hand, this penalty won’t work in the sprint race. Hence, Max Verstappen can enjoy starting from the top spot in the sprint race as long as he gets the fastest time in the shootout. In the first half of the season in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Verstappen had trouble with his gearbox as it broke down. It happened during the qualifying session. Hence, his first grid penalty in 2023 reduces the risk of another gearbox failure. So Max can have something less to worry about the car. On the other hand, Sergio Perez, the other Red Bull driver, is currently sitting on his four gearboxes. Hence, he is not eligible for a grid penalty as of yet. 

Sergio Perez Might Not Be Able To Beat His Teammate Again This Season

Sergio Perez Max Verstappen
Sergio Perez with Max Verstappen

It is evident that Sergio Perez has not been able to beat Max Verstappen again after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in 2023. That’s why in the driver’s standings, even though Checo is in second place, the gap is getting bigger between the two Red Bull drivers. But why is the Dutchman so fast? For that, a lot of credit goes to Adrian Newey, the car designer, along with Honda, their engine partner. But Max Verstappen has proved time and again he is superior to the rest in terms of skillset.

Irrespective of the format or any other conditions, Max Verstappen has won races in a dominating style. It does not look like Sergio Perez is ready to beat Max again. Checo’s inconsistency made him lose his team’s reliability on him with the car. The Mexican keeps on talking about dealing with too much pressure and how tough it is to be a teammate of the Dutchman.