By Robert Haile
Round thirteenth completed and records tumbled as the championship changes hands again at the Dutch Grand Prix today, September 5.
In taking his seventh win of the season and seventeenth of his career Max Verstappen has now more race wins in F1 history without winning a title, something that could change this season, displacing British great Sir Stirling Moss.
Verstappen, who lead the race from start to finish said “It’s incredible to win here today on another home track and it feels great to take the lead in the Driver’s Championship again. Of course the expectations were very high coming into the weekend and it’s never easy to fulfil that but the whole crowd has been incredible and I am so happy to win here.
“It was quite a tough race, Lewis was really putting the pressure on and both Mercedes’ had really good pace but we managed to have that three second buffer when we needed it and I think that was very important. We can be really pleased with the whole Team performance; we made the right calls and we managed the race really well.
“72 laps around this track is cool, especially in front of all these fans, they were incredible throughout the whole race, I’ve never experienced anything like this before in my life. I will of course celebrate at home this evening, but Monza is just around the corner and the championship fight is tight, so I want to make sure we perform at our best.”
In a change to the grid order Williams’ Nicholas Latifi, after his crash, and Sergio Perez both started from the pit lane after both teams changed parts that would have landed them with grid place penalties.
At the start of the race all the cars got away clean with Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi applying pressure to the Ferrari’s in-front before losing places to both Alpines.
Looking to undercut Red Bull and Verstappen Mercedes brought Lewis Hamilton in on the twentieth lap with Red Bull responding the next lap leaving Valtteri Bottas out front.
Catching Bottas on lap 30 Verstappen was needing to pass the Finn quickly with Hamilton closing behind.
A mistake by the Mercedes leader let Verstappen close and pass heading into the starting straight.
Trying to force the issue Hamilton pitted again on the fortieth lap but coming back out into traffic of lapped drivers Verstappen was able to maintain the lead after pitting.
Nikita Mazepin’s Haas retired after forty four laps due to a hydraulic issue with the car, while George Russell picked up a 5 second penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
With less than ten laps left Hamilton and Mercedes called off the hunt meaning they would finish as they started with Verstappen, Hamilton, Bottas, Pierre Gasly and Charles Leclerc where they qualified.
Fernando Alonso kept the places he took on the first lap and passed Carlos Sainz on the last lap to take sixth as Perez gained twelve places to eighth with Ocon in ninth as Lando Norris led the McLaren pair home in tenth with Daniel Ricciardo in eleventh.
The Aston Martin’s of Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel came home in twelfth and thirteenth while Antonio Giovinazzi came home ahead of stand in teammate Robert Kubica.
Williams drivers Latifi and Russell finished in sixteenth and seventeenth with Mick Schumacher’s Haas bring the drivers home as last of the runners with AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda and Mazepin retiring during the race.
With teams finalising their driver pairings for the next season Bottas could be moving on from Mercedes and after setting two sections of a fastest lap, being told to abort the final section then continuing to do so forcing Hamilton to set a new fastest lap on the final lap this could be the clearest signal yet that he is not going to be in the Mercedes garage next season.
Defending champion Hamilton said “What a race and what a crowd, honestly, it’s been an amazing weekend. Max did a great job so congrats to him. I gave it everything I had out there, but they were just too quick for us this weekend.
“I think even if we’d have got everything right today with the traffic, the pit stops and the strategy, it’d still have been tough to get by them. We didn’t get those elements spot on, but either way, we pushed as much as we could and we’ll take it offline, debrief and see how we could have improved.
“We’ll be fighting right to the end. It was an incredibly difficult race out there, physically and mentally I think it was one of the toughest, but it’s an amazing track. The fastest lap at the end was one of my favourite parts of the race, it’s an incredible track to drive on low fuel, this is one of my favourite tracks now and I’ve had a great time here in Holland, so I’m looking forward to coming back next year.”
Formula 1 will head back to Italy and to the Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 10-12.
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 224.5
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 221.5
- Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 123
- Lando Norris (McLaren) – 114
- Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – 108
- Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 92
- Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) – 89.5
- Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) – 66
- Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) – 56
- Fernando Alonso (Alpine) – 46
- Esteban Ocon (Alpine) – 44
- Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) – 35
- Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) – 18
- Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) – 18
- George Russel (Williams) – 13
- Nicholas Latifi (Williams) – 7
- Kimi Räikkönen (Alfa Romeo) – 2
- Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) – 1
- Mick Schumacher (Haas) – 0
- Nikita Mazepin (Haas) – 0
- Robert Kubica (Alfa Romeo) – 0
- Mercedes – 344.5
- Red Bull – 332.5
- Ferrari – 181.5
- McLaren – 170
- Alpine – 90
- AlphaTauri – 84
- Aston Martin – 53
- Williams – 20
- Alfa Romeo – 3
- Haas – 0