Verstappen delights home fans with victory at Dutch GP

Red Bull driver returns to top of drivers' standings with victory at Zandvoort

ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 05: Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing fans enjoy the atmosphere ahead of during the F1 Grand Prix of The Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort on September 05, 2021 in Zandvoort, Netherlands. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202109050328 // Usage for editorial use only //

There was delight for the home fans as F1 returned to Zandvoort with victory for Max Verstappen at the Dutch Grand Prix, moving him back to the top of the drivers’ championship.

The pole sitter never really looked under pressure at the front of the field as he came home ahead of Lewis Hamilton, with Valtteri Bottas completing the podium.

Hamilton angled his car towards Verstappen at the front of the grid, but the home favourite got off the line well to ensure he remained ahead going into the first turn.

The reigning champion was the first of the front runners to stop, with Verstappen following on the next lap. Mercedes had a slow stop though, ensuring the Red Bull driver remained comfortably ahead.

Mercedes left Bottas out longer, hoping he’s slow Verstappen’s progress and give Hamilton a chance to catch his rival, but it didn’t take the Dutchman long to pass Bottas.

Hamilton was briefly within DRS of Verstappen, but in clear air the Red Bull man was able to re-establish a gap at the front.

Mercedes tried the undercut for the British driver again at the second round of stops, hoping they’d be able to slot Hamilton back in ahead of a number of lapped cars, but the gap wasn’t there and he came out in traffic, ensuring Verstappen remained in the lead again.

Further down the order, Lando Norris tried to put a disappointing qualifying behind him as he went long on his opening stint. He was the final car to stop, and managed to move up into the points positions.

George Russell’s hopes of a third consecutive points finish were dealt a blow when he, while running 11th, was handed a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pitlane.

Reliability became a factor as the race progressed, with Nikita Mazepin forced the retire due to a hydraulic issue, while Yuki Tsunoda had to bring the car into the AlphaTauri garage after losing power.

Sergio Perez, who started in the pitlane, worked his way through the field, and went wheel to wheel with Norris as they contested the final two points paying positions. It was the Mexican who came out on top, before he edged past Esteban Ocon to move up to eighth.

There was confusion at Mercedes in the closing stages, as Bottas pitted late on but was told not to set the fastest lap. The Finn did set the quickest time anyway, but another stop for Hamilton on the penultimate lap ensured he finished with the bonus point for the fastest lap of the race.

Provisional classification:

1 Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)

4. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)

5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

6. Fernando Alonso (Alpine)

7. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)

8. Sergio Perez (Red Bull)

9. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)

10. Lando Norris (McLaren)

11. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)

12. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)

13. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin)

14. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo)

15. Robert Kubica (Alfa Romeo)

16. Nicholas Latifi (Williams)

17. George Russell (Williams)

18. Mick Schumacher (Haas)


Nikita Mazepin (Haas)

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