Max Verstappen set to serve five-place grid penalty at Belgian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen will not start Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix from pole position with the world champion set to serve a five-place grid penalty.

Verstappen, 110 points clear at the top of the standings, is due to take on his fifth gearbox, one more than he is permitted.

It means the 25-year-old will begin the grand prix on Sunday no higher than sixth in something of a boost to his forlorn rivals.

However, the Dutchman started the race from 14th last year owing to engine penalties and still took the win in his dominant Red Bull machine.

Verstappen has won the last seven races, nine of the 11 rounds staged so far this season, and is on course to wrap up a hat-trick of titles.

At last weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, Verstappen’s Red Bull team set a new F1 record of 12 consecutive wins.

Qualifying for Sunday’s race is due to take place at 5pm local time (4pm BST) on Friday. A sprint race will be staged at Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday, but Verstappen’s penalty will apply only to the main event.

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