Max Verstappen wins the Dutch Grand Prix at home ahead of Lewis Hamilton


Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen of Red Bull took the dominant victory over Mercedes Lewis Hamilton at the Dutch Grand Prix to take the championship again.

Verstappen, supported by 65,000 enthusiastic home fans, led all the way from the pole position, comfortably keeping Hamilton at a distance.

The Dutchman leads Hamilton with three points after the seventh victory in 2021.

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas was third, ahead of Pierre Gasly of Alfa Tauri and Charles Leclerc of Ferrari.

Mercedes tried everything it could to challenge Verstappen, putting Hamilton on a two-stop strategy, then trying to use Bottas to keep him, but Red Bull always seemed to have control.

There seemed to be some disagreement between Hamilton and the team over the strategy applied, but their conversations were in the function of the fact that Verstappen had only a little extra pace to be able to respond to everything Mercedes had thrown at him.

“They were too fast today,” Hamilton said over the radio on the slowdown.

Fans of the Grand Prix of the Netherlands
Verstappen’s orange army guaranteed a unique atmosphere

How did it play out?

After leading from the start, Verstappen was 3.5 seconds ahead of Hamilton when Mercedes pulled the seven-time champion into a pit stop in lap 20, too early for the scheduled one-place race.

Red Bull responded the round later with Verstappen, but Mercedes left out Bottas and the Finn took the lead.

As Verstappen and Hamilton shut down, Finn was told he had to defend if he wanted to try to win the race.

But as soon as Verstappen caught him, Bottas went too deep into the chicane, allowing Red Bull to close immediately and rush straight down the pit.

Bottas’ hopes were fulfilled, and Hamilton’s were the same, even if the Briton continued to try to fight.

After the first stop in boxing, Hamilton was less than two seconds behind for 16 laps, which is close enough to try an undercut strategy – dig first and try to use the grip of fresher tires to win a seat.

But Mercedes missed the opportunity and, in three laps from lap 36 to lap 39, Verstappen pulled out another clearing, when Mercedes knocked out Hamilton.

Red Bull responded in the next round – placing hard tires instead of the media Hamilton took at his second stop – and Verstappen retained the lead.

Hamilton complained that Mercedes stopped him too soon and then that his tires would not go all the way.

When Mercedes suggested he drive them, he asked them if they were asking him not to race because he was trying to close the gap, after which they told him to continue.

Hamilton closed again just over a second behind Verstappen as they skipped other cars, but they came back again when they got back on a clear road.

Hamilton’s consolation was a late stop in the fight to win the fastest lap.

There was an interesting twist when Mercedes pulled Bottas to a late pit stop and ordered him not to go to the fastest lap – just to have the Finn ignore the request.

Before the end of the lap, radio director James Vowles came to the radio and asked him to “stop the fastest attempt at the lap”, but despite that Bottas set the fastest time – which many will see as an indication that George Russell will be announced as his replacement in Mercedes in the next few days.

Bottas later claimed he “didn’t go for it” – and gave up in the last sector, apparently to make it easier for Hamilton to return.

It didn’t matter – Hamilton broke through in the next round and returned the point to his teammate.

Max Verstappen
The trail is located next to the beach, which many fans reached by bike

Gasly stars again

Gasly compared his extremely impressive fourth place in the table to a comfortable ride to finish in the same place, ahead of Leclerc.

Fernando Alonso drove a great, measured, controlled race to pass Carlos Sainz’s second Ferrari for sixth place in the final lap.

Sergio Perez of Red Bull recovered from the pit lane and began to finish eighth, ahead of second-placed Alpine Esteban Ocon and McLaren’s Land Norris.

Driver of the day

Fernando Alonso
Playoffs between Gasly and Alonso. Gasly did what Alpha Tauri sometimes failed to do and turned a great qualifying round into a solid race result. But Alonso showed all his experience and racing management skills in early pace control so much that Ocon complained that he was slow, before retiring significantly and then drove a great second measure to catch and pass a faster Ferrari from Sainz. Alonso only overshadows him because he took three places in his net position and beat an evidently faster car in Ferrari

What happens next?

Italy Grand Prix in a week. Hamilton’s engineer said he would return to superfast Monza, but Verstappen is currently having a hard time winning.

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