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Verstappen and Leclerc gain a place on Belgian GP grid

Championship leader Max Verstappen and closest rival Charles Leclerc both moved up a place on the starting grid for Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix after AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda was penalised for an illegal power unit change, meaning he will now start from the pit lane.

Tsunoda is the eighth driver, including Red Bull’s Verstappen and Leclerc of Ferrari, who have been relegated to the back of the grid for changing engines. 

Leclerc’s team-mate Carlos Sainz will start on pole for the race — which gets going at 15.00) — with Verstappen’s fellow Red Bull driver Sergio Perez second on the grid.

Tsunoda was set to start from 13th place on the grid, having originally qualified in 19th, but the announcement on Sunday that he had taken fresh power unit components and a new exhaust means he will now start from the pit lane.

Tsunoda’s sanction allows the seven drivers behind him to move up a place. 

Hence Verstappen will now start from 14th, with Leclerc, who is the Dutchman’s closest challenger 80 points behind, one place behind. 

The two leaders had both already been sanctioned and demoted on the grid for engine and gearbox changes beyond the authorised quota per season.

Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo), Esteban Ocon (Alpine), Lando Norris (McLaren), Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo) and Mick Schumacher (Haas), all sanctioned for the same reasons, also gain a place.

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