Dramatic spectacle in Zandvoort! Formula 1 had the Grand Prix of the Netherlands on Sunday, September 4, and therefore the home race of reigning champion Verstappen. The fifteenth event of this season was affected by the safety cars, but the Dutch pilot managed to take another victory! Another mistake was made by Ferrari, Hamilton lost the podium in the end.
Max Verstappen started from pole position in the Formula 1 Heineken Dutch Grand Prix, as it is the official name of the Grand Prix of the Netherlands. He drove his home race at the circuit in Zandvoort and in Saturday’s qualifying beat the time of the second Charles Leclerc by only 21 thousandths of a second.
Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton drove from the second row to the fifteenth event of the season, you can see the complete results of Saturday’s qualifying in the Twitter post attached below.
Verstappen retained first place
After all five lights went out, Verstappen kept his first place and did not let Leclerc in the Ferrari in front of him. In the fight for third place between Sainz and Hamilton there was contact, but there was no dangerous situation.
One position at the start was earned by Lando Norris on McLaren, who got ahead of George Russell, but lost this position again in the following laps.
The fans witnessed a dramatic moment in the second circuit, when Kevin Magnussen crashed into the barrier. Fortunately for him, however, he was able to continue the race.
Verstappen, Leclerc, Sainz, Hamilton, Pérez, Russell, Norris, Stroll, Ocon, Schumacher – this is how the elite ten ranked after 7 rounds of the Dutch Grand Prix.
Fernando Alonso gradually had a great pace, overtaking twelfth Pierre Galsy on the AlphaTauri in the tenth lap. He later overtook his teammate Júki Cunoda and Alonso was already eleventh. In the thirteenth circuit, the pilots started pitting to change tires.
First pit stops, another incomprehensible mistake by Ferrari
One of the first drivers to go to their mechanics was Sainz and Sergio Pérez. And it was then that the Italian team made another mistake when they did not properly prepare for Sainz’s pit stop. The Ferrari mechanics did not have a fresh set of tires ready for Sainz and so his stop took a very long time.
Sainz thus dropped to sixth place, Pérez also ran over Ferrari’s gun and the Italian team thus claimed another setback this season. However, Haas also committed an incorrect pit stop, as a result of which Mick Schumacher lost valuable positions and dropped out of the top ten.
Leclerc, Verstappen, Norris, Stroll, Ocon or Alonso also stopped in the following laps. However, Norris and the two Alpin drivers ran on a hard set of tires compared to the other drivers, which worked very well at Zandvoort.
After all, the Mercedes pilots also switched to this tire specification. Russell and Hamilton lasted 29 and 30 laps respectively on the middle set of tires. Thanks to this move and a very interesting strategy, their cars then started to perform brilliantly, and in the following laps they were immediately a whole second faster than their nearest rivals.
As a result of the pit stop, of course, the leader Verstappen fell a few positions down, but during the next laps, he regained these positions and got to the front.
Half the race, virtual safety car
This is how the standings looked after 33 rounds. On the 37th lap, Hamilton then got in front of third-placed Pérez, but Sebastian Vettel, who was driving the lap, spoke into this fight. Despite the award of blue flags, the German competitor initially did not let the two pilots fighting for the order in front of him.
The Mexican Pérez later also gained another position when Hamilton’s teammate Russell got ahead of him. Due to the poor pace of the Red Bull racer, his team called him to the pits on lap 41 to switch to the hardest set of tires.
Pérez subsequently fell to seventh place behind Brit Norris. On the 45th lap there was a moment which caused the virtual safety car status to be activated three laps later. Tsunoda first stopped his AlphaTauri due to the feeling that the Japanese racer did not have one of his wheels 100% tightened after his pit stop.
However, his team subsequently informed him that all wheels were properly tightened and he should continue the race. In the meantime, however, Cunoda unbuckled his seat belts, after which he then drove into the pits, where the mechanics refastened his belts. After exiting the pits, however, he stopped his single-seater, due to an obvious problem with the differential.
The drivers then used the virtual safety car to stop in the pits. Verstappen switched to a hard set of tyres, Hamilton with Russell to medium and Norris with Alonso to the softest red.
Both Ferrari drivers, namely Leclerc and Sainz, were also wearing the hardest specification white tires at the time.
Verstappen, Hamilton, Russell, Leclerc, Pérez, Ocon, Sainz, Norris, Alonso, Stroll – this is how the ranking of the top ten looked after the 54th round of the Dutch Grand Prix.
More drama and chaos, the exit of the safety car
However, one lap later Valtteri Bottas retired his Alfa Romeo at the end of the home stretch due to a power unit failure. The race management subsequently called the safety car to the track and the next drama was taken care of.
The exit of the safety car was thus used by a number of pilots for further pit stops, with the exception of Pérez and Hamilton, who completed their pit stops only recently and switched to the medium compound, practically all pilots switched to the softest red set of tires.
A restart and a great finish
At the end of the 60th lap, the safety car returned to the pits and the drivers were able to race again. So the order of the top ten with 12 laps to go was as follows: Hamilton, Verstappen, Russell, Leclerc, Pérez, Sainz, Alonso, Norris, Ocon and Stroll.
After the restart and thanks to the faster specification of the tires, Verstappen took first place ahead of Hamilton, which he did not relinquish until the end of the Dutch Grand Prix. In the 64th lap, there was still a duel between teammates, when Russell overtook Hamilton and took his second place. The seven-time world champion also came to the podium when Leclerc in a Ferrari overtook him.
Apart from these battles, the standings did not change until the end of the race. It should be noted that Sainz received a five-second penalty from race management for a dangerous pit stop. This means a drop to eighth position in the results list.
So Verstappen, like last year, dominated the Grand Prix of the Netherlands and the defense of the championship is really close at hand.
You can see the final standings of the Dutch Grand Prix in the attached twitter post above. In addition, Verstappen not only set the fastest lap of the race, but was also named the best driver of the day.