Max Verstappen wins home Grand Prix in the Netherlands

Max-Verstappen

Max Verstappen took victory at the Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix in Zandvoort in the Netherlands, the home country of the Red Bull driver. 

Formula 1 had not raced in Zandvoort since 1985, and many of the drivers had fun competing on the track's banked corners. That's despite the corners shortening the life of the F1 car's tires, which caused frequent pit stops.

The ecstatic spectators saw Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton by more than 20 seconds, after the Mercedes driver made a late pit stop to salvage the point for fastest lap. Third place went to Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes.

At the start of Dutch Grand Prix, Verstappen made a superb getaway to take the lead, an advantage of his qualifying in first. Hamilton also made a good start, but as he and Bottas jostled for position through the first two corners, Verstappen was allowed to power ahead. 

Behind the top three, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly got away well to hold fourth place ahead of the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. At the back of the field, Sergio Pérez in the second Red Bull was forced to start from the pit lane after an overnight engine change. 

Zandvoort-Circuit-Formula-1-Dutch-GPThe front the order was stable, with Verstappen holding a 3.5-second lead over Hamilton. Bottas began to drift off the front pair, however, and by lap 18 he was more than seven seconds off of his teammate.

Then, at the end of lap 20, Hamilton dove for the pits and made the switch to medium tires. Red Bull responded by pitting Verstappen on the next lap and he saw off the undercut to rejoin two seconds ahead of Hamilton.

Pérez, meanwhile, was making stealthy progress through the pack and by lap 25 he was up to 14th place. His progress picked up two laps later when Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, Williams’ George Russell and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi pitted ahead of him.

As the race passed half distance, Verstappen was once again told by his team to drive faster, as it became clear that Mercedes were plotting a second attempt at undercutting the Dutchman. Hamilton pitted at the end of lap 39 for a set of medium tires, but thanks to a set of potent laps, Verstappen had time for a pit stop for hard tires at lap 40, and retain his lead. 

In those closing stages, Hamilton closed to within 1.5 seconds of the lead RBR16B, but with his tires fading and Max expertly managing the gap, the Mercedes driver eventually abandoned his pursuit of victory and pitted for soft tires.

Zandvoort-Circuit-Formula-1-Dutch-GP-2

Hamilton took the fastest lap point on the final lap at Zandvoort, but Verstappen’s seventh win of the season puts him back on top of the Drivers’ Championship standings with 224.5 points to Hamilton’s 221.5. In the Constructors’ Championship Mercedes still top the standings with 244.5 points, 12 ahead of Red Bull Racing.

With Bottas third at the flag, fourth place went to AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, ahead of the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc and the Alpine of Fernando Alonso. Seventh place went to Carlos Sainz in the second Ferrari and with Checo in P8. The final two points places went to Ocon and Norris.

Photos from FIA, Formula 1

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