Dutch GP: Max Verstappen solidifies grip on F1 title with win on home soil

Verstappen stormed past Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages after safety car drama to send the 100,000 Dutch fans into a frenzy at Zandvoort.

The 24-year-old was greeted by orange bell bottoms and a sea of ​​orange shirts as he crossed the finish line to claim his second consecutive Dutch Grand Prix victory.

Mercedes’ George Russell achieved his best result in F1 with a distant second place and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was third, leaving Hamilton in a disappointing fourth place after looking for a while as if he would challenge Verstappen for victory.

“It wasn’t an easy race, but we had to push,” Verstappen said after the race on Sky Sports. “Making the right decisions with the safety car, virtual safety car, of course.

“It’s always something special to win your home grand prix. This year I had to work even harder for it. An incredible weekend and I’m really happy that we won the Dutch Grand Prix. I’m proud to be Dutch.”

Safety Car Confusion

After a relatively uneventful start to the race, a bizarre series of events began to unfold on Lap 45 when Yuki Tsunoda brought his car to a halt at the side of the track, seemingly concerned that one of his tires was loose.

With a safety car imminent, Tsunoda was told by his team that his tires were fine and the Japanese driver continued his race only to slowly enter the pit lane. The AlphaTauri pit crew checked Tsunoda’s wheels and seat belt before deciding everything was fine and sent her man back to the race.

Almost immediately, however, Tsunoda again felt something was wrong with his car and was eventually told by his team to stop on the track.

The virtual safety allowed Red Bull, AlphaTauri’s mother team, to shave precious seconds while Verstappen pitted for a fresh set of tires, allowing the Dutchman to still come out on top and ahead of Hamilton and Russell.

That wasn’t the end of the drama, however, as Valtteri Bottas had to stall his Alfa Romeo on the main straight with an engine failure, prompting the safety car to be deployed.

Mercedes initially kept both Hamilton and Russell on track, while Red Bull brought Verstappen into the pits for another set of new tyres, dropping him to third place.

But Russell pitted after requesting fresh tires, allowing Verstappen a free run at Hamilton and an easy pass once the safety car returned and the race resumed.

After seeing his teammate pass him moments later, an enraged Hamilton berated his team over the radio. “I can’t believe how much you fuck me,” he said.

“Sorry Lewis,” Hamilton’s race engineer Pete Bonnington told his driver after the race, per Sky Sports. “It looked good but we will sit down and review the decisions we made there.”

That’s no consolation, however, as Hamilton is still awaiting his first race win of the season.

With the win, Verstappen extends his lead at the top of the drivers’ standings to 109 points. With seven races remaining this season, it would take something remarkable to stop him from winning his second consecutive F1 title.