Max Verstappen regained control of the drivers’ championship with a start-to-finish victory at the Dutch Grand Prix in front of a fervent home crowd.
The 23-year-old qualified on pole ahead of Lewis Hamilton by three hundredths of a second and translated that into a dominant race performance to put him three points in front of the seven-times world champion.
Hamilton’s decision to use a two-stop strategy forced Verstappen to respond, with the Dutchman sandwiched between the two Mercedes for a number of laps which bunched up the pack.
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However, Verstappen made quick work of passing Valtteri Bottas, who stretched out his first stint, and established a large enough advantage to take him to the end of the race despite some late Hamilton pace.
Bottas crossed the line in third to take a much-needed podium finish while Pierre Gasly completed an impressive weekend with a fourth-place finish.
DRIVER OF THE DAY - Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
This was Verstappen’s day. He was the man of the moment as he soaked in the adulation of the home crowd at Zandvoort. This was a very mature performance by Verstappen who could have allowed the occasion to get to him. Instead, the tens of thousands of Dutch fans brought out the best in him as he led from start to finish. Sergio Perez also deserves a mention for the way he battled back through the pack to finish eighth.
Max Verstappen had plenty of home support
Image credit: Getty Images
WHERE THE RACE WAS WON
1/72 - Good start by Verstappen! That couldn't have gone much better for Verstappen who made a quick move to cut off Hamilton into Turn 1 and he already has a healthy lead!
21/72 - Hamilton into the pits! Mercedes have pulled in the seven-times world champion... but it's not an especially quick pit stop! A 3.6-second stop for Hamilton and he's out into P3, crucially ahead of Gasly.
22/72 - Now Verstappen pits! Red Bull have reacted to the Mercedes strategy by pitting Verstappen and that's slightly quicker from the Dutchman - a 2.9-second pit! He's out in P2.
31/72 - Verstappen back in front! The Dutchman deploys DRS to pass Bottas down the pit straight and he's back in front again. Meanwhile, Bottas lets Hamilton past and that's a net gain for the world champion.
Verstappen wins the Dutch GP! The Dutchman takes the chequered flag and the home crowd at Zandvoort goes wild! Hamilton regains the fastest lap on the final lap, but this day belongs to Verstappen! He led from start to finish!
BEST OVERTAKE OF THE DAY
We had to wait 14 laps for the first overtake of the race at a circuit where it is notoriously difficult to overtake on, but Nicholas Latifi’s pass on Nikita Mazepin was wonderfully executed, with the Canadian going the long way around Turn One to take P16. Other drivers performed this move on the same corner, but none did it as gracefully as Latifi.
BEST PIT EXCHANGE OF THE DAY
“At this pace you will not be interacting with the leaders,” Bottas was told over the Mercedes team radio as he coasted through the first stint of the race. Of course, there is much speculation around the Finn’s future with the Silver Arrows. Some tension was evident in this exchange.
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