Max Verstappen launched himself back into the lead in the championship standings after claiming a dominating win in the Dutch Grand Prix at Circuit Zandvoort on Sunday, September 5, and to the delight of his home crowd.
Verstappen, who started on pole position and who won last weekend’s bizarre, rain-shortened Belgium Grand Prix at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, led all 72 scheduled laps and crossed the finish line by nearly 21 seconds ahead of Sir Lewis Hamilton to grab his seventh Grand Prix victory of the season and the 17th of his career at his home track, which sent the crowd overjoyed and lighting up orange smoke to celebrate with the Dutchman.
The 2021 Dutch Grand Prix was a first for the event since 1985, which was last won by the late three-time F1 champion Niki Lauda. Verstappen’s victory all but elevated him back to the lead in the drivers’ standings over Hamilton as he continues his pursuit for his first F1 championship.
“Incredible feeling, of course,” Verstappen said. “I know the fans expect a lot going into the weekend, but it’s never easy to fulfill that. This weekend has been great. Also the race, Lewis was putting on the pressure a lot. It was basically 72 laps of pushing to try and stay ahead. It was a good one with all the people and fans here supporting you. It was just an incredible sight.”
Hamilton, who pitted late for fresh tires, settled in second place for his ninth top-two result of this season as he claimed the fastest lap of the race followed by teammate Valtteri Bottas, who did not pursue the fastest lap on soft tyres in the final laps but moved up to third place in the drivers’ standings.
“Today was [a] killer,” Hamilton said. “[Verstappen and Red Bull] were so fast today. That’s the quickest, I think, they’ve been all year. But I gave it everything, anyways. I think today, being that we weren’t quick enough, we needed everything to really work out for us like traffic, which didn’t. We needed pit stops to be perfect, which wasn’t. We needed strategy to be on point, and it wasn’t quite perfect. Even then, if all that was perfect, it would’ve still been hard to get by [Verstappen]. We gave it everything. Long way to go.”
“I committed to one stop [pit stop] quite early on in the race,” Bottas said. “It meant I definitely had to more [tyre] management that Lewis and Max were doing. I think one stop was quite a way off of two stop today. The tyre wear and the vibrations were quite tricky. In the end, I still stopped just for safety. It was like a mix of one or two stop for me, not early.”
Pierre Gasly came home in a strong fourth place followed by Charles Leclerc. Fernando Alonso overtook fellow Spaniard Carlos Sainz on the final lap to place in sixth followed by Sergio “Checo” Perez. Esteban Ocon, winner of the Hungarian Grand Prix in early August, finished ninth while Lando Norris claimed the 10th and final points-paying result.
Daniel Ricciardo was the first competitor to finish outside of the points in 11th followed by Lance Stroll, Sebastian Vettel, Antonio Giovinazzi and Robert Kubica, who returned to F1 since 2019 and filled in for Kimi Räikkönen after the Finnish competitor tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the weekend.
Nicholas Latifi finished 16th while George Russell, who is coming off his maiden podium result at Spa, retired in 17th. Rookie Mick Schumacher concluded his race in 18th followed by Yuki Tsunoda and Nikita Mazepin, both of whom retired in 19th and 20th.
1. Max Verstappen, 25 points, 72 laps led
2. Lewis Hamilton, 19 points
3. Valtteri Bottas, 15 points
4. Pierre Gasly, 12 points, +1 lap
5. Charles Leclerc, 10 points, +1 lap
6. Fernando Alonso, eight points, +1 lap
7. Carlos Sainz, six points, +1 lap
8. Sergio Perez, four points, +1 lap
9. Esteban Ocon, two points, +1 lap
10. Lando Norris, one point, +1 lap
11. Daniel Ricciardo, +1 lap
12. Lance Stroll, +2 laps
13. Sebastian Vettel, +2 laps
14. Antonio Giovinazzi, +2 laps
15. Robert Kubica, +2 laps
16. Nicholas Latifi, +2 laps
17. George Russell – Retired
18. Mick Schumacher, +3 laps
19. Yuki Tsunoda – Retired
20. Nikita Mazepin – Retire
Verstappen leads the drivers’ standings by three points over Hamilton. Meanwhile, Mercedes leads the constructors’ standings by 12 points over Red Bull while Ferrari trails by 163 points.
Next on the 2021 Formula One schedule is Monza Circuit for the Italian Grand Prix, which will occur on Sunday, September 12.