For the second time this year a driver has won their home Grand Prix. Hamilton won at Silverstone and now Verstappen at Zandvoort.
Zandvoort had fans expecting a tight and turbulant race full of action after the numerous red flags throughout the practice and qualifying sessions.
But it was not to be. The main aim of the game at the Dutch Grand Prix was who could outsmart the other in terms of pit strategies.
Nicholas Latifi and Sergio Perez both had to start from pit lane due to modifications done to their cars whereas the rest of the grid sped off from the line.
The Dutch fans were instructed not to bring flares or light them during the race due to the issue of visibility for the drivers. But as soon as the cars lined up on the grid it was obvious the message had not been understood.
It was an exciting start with only millimeters separating some of the midfield as an array of moments that could have turned nasty quickly, were skillfully avoided.
The race got off to a smooth start but after that it was more of a train than a race. With only Perez making moves up from the back of the grid.
Giovinazzi came off worst from the start after starting a career best 7th but dropping down to 10th place after being caught out by the quicker cars.
Into lap 15 Max was already 3.5 secs ahead of Hamilton and looked comfortable in first place.
The game of “pit stop chicken” began on lap 21 as Lewis Hamilton was ordered into the pits by Mercedes with his first set of softs swapped to mediums due to excessive degradation.
Red Bull had to react to avoid the under cut. Max was immediately sent in for a new set after Mercedes and came in at the end same lap.
Verstappen came out in front of Hamilton but Bottas was left out so he moved up into 1st place.
Further down the track closing in on lap 31, Max caught Bottas after a substantial 10 second gap, coming onto the front straight. Verstappen blasted past the Mercedes with the roaring home crowd delighted at the sight.
Shortly after the Dutchman’s overtake Hamilton overtook Bottas under team orders. Then the matter of traffic was vivid as the two championship rivals had to weave their way to the end of the race.
While the leaders were blazing the trail out front, George Russell picked up a 5 second time penalty on lap 34 for speeding in the pit lane.
Sebastian Vettel was the only one to spin in the entire 72 lap race. He span his Aston Martin on lap 38 after losing control coming out of the banked corner. Valtteri Bottas just narrowly missed the German going high on the berm to avoid him.
Hamilton pitted for a second time on lap 40 trying to attempt an undercut on the 2 stop strategy ahead of Red Bull.
Red Bull immediately responded again and repeated the previous pit stop affair. Max changed over to the hard compound tyres compared to Hamilton going onto used (scrubbed) medium tyres.
The result was the same as the first pit stop undercut attempt. Mercedes seemed to catch up but Max was too consistently fast lap in, lap out and stormed home to a dominant win.
There were two retirements during the race. Mazepin’s car was retired on lap 44 and on lap 51 Tsunoda retired. It seemed that the rookies cars were facing electrical issues.
Two stand out performers were Sergio Perez who managed to climb his way into the points after starting from pit lane. As well as Pierre Gasly who finished 4th and best of the rest with one Red Bull ahead of him plus the two Mercedes.
Here are the race results: (Hamilton claimed the fastest lap).
|4||Pierre Gasly||+1 lap|
|5||Charles Leclerc||+1 lap|
|6||Fernando Alonso||+1 lap|
|7||Carlos Sainz||+1 lap|
|8||Sergio Perez||+1 lap|
|9||Esteban Ocon||+1 lap|
|10||Lando Norris||+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|
|18||Mick Schumacher||+3 laps|
Featured image source: f1.com