After the masquerade that was the Belgian Grand Prix, Formula 1 had to make up for it in the eyes of the fans. And what better way to do so than with a small historical event for this Formula 1 weekend: the return of the discipline to the mythical circuit of Zandvoort for the Dutch Grand Prix, more than 35 years after the last edition won by the late Niki Lauda in 1985. A circuit so special and unique thanks to its banked corners, it was the first time since the 2007 U.S. Grand Prix in Indianapolis that Formula 1 cars drove on such corners. And when, in addition, this season one of the great favourites for the world title is a 23 year old Dutchman, it was obvious that the atmosphere would be there!
Max Verstappen did not tremble
He was expected to win and he clearly did. Max Verstappen won the thirteenth round of the championship by dominating the debates outrageously. The Dutchman, who started on pole position, did not let himself be intimidated by his rival Lewis Hamilton, taking a hot start that allowed him to get away from the Mercedes of the Briton and the Finn Valtteri Bottas.
With no help from team-mate Sergio Pérez, who left from the pit lane, the Red Bull Racing driver took charge and made the two Mercedes drivers bite the dust, determined to take advantage of their numerical advantage. But nothing could be done, not even Lewis Hamilton's two undercut attempts on laps 20 and 39. Max Verstappen took his seventh win of the season, his 17th in his career and the first on home soil, something his father driver Jos Verstappen was unable to achieve. This victory allows him to regain the first place in the drivers' standings, Mad Max now having a three points lead over Lewis Hamilton, to the great pleasure of the fans, who came in large numbers to encourage their champion.
Failed race for Mercedes
Of course, a second place is far from being a bad result for many drivers, but for Lewis Hamilton, this second place has a very bitter taste. The Briton has only victory in his sights and the fact that he was so easily dominated by his championship rival was difficult to accept.
The Black Arrows played their chances well, but never really worried the opposing team and its star driver, Max Verstappen, who was once again in Olympic form.
Neither Lewis Hamilton's very offensive strategy, nor the two undercut attempts on laps 20 and 39 allowed him to make Verstappen doubt, who perfectly covered the German team's strategy. A "bluff" carried out too early according to the Briton, who did not fail to express his dissatisfaction on numerous occasions to his engineer on the radio.
Resigned, it remained for Hamilton to defend his point of the best lap in the race, very valuable in the fight for the world title. But again, not everything went according to plan for LH44! Indeed, his future ex-teammate Valtteri Bottas, who has just been officially announced by Alfa Romeo to replace his compatriot and soon to be retired Kimi Räikköne, decided to play it alone by stealing the best lap point from him with only two loops to go! And this, despite the instructions given by his team not to attempt to take the best lap from his teammate. Another stressful moment for Mercedes and Hamilton, who made an extra stop and recovered this precious point on the last lap of this Dutch Grand Prix.
The French respond!
Pierre Gasly started in fourth position, his best result in qualifying, and managed his race magnificently. Not knowing he was not fast enough to compete with the Mercedes and the Red Bull of winner Max Verstappen, the Norman finished in fourth place after 72 laps of the race. But this final position was not easy to keep! Gasly defended his position perfectly and firmly against the Ferraris and in particular against his friend Charles Leclerc, but he was also the author of the most beautiful overtaking of this Grand Prix, made on the double world champion Fernando Alonso. With this fourth place, Pierre Gasly achieved his second best result of the season after finishing on the third step of the podium in Azerbaijan, while finishing for the third time in a row in the points.
His compatriot Esteban Ocon had a more complicated Grand Prix. The Frenchman started eighth, just ahead of his Spanish teammate Fernando Alonso, but had to fight hard to finish in the points. The recent winner of the Hungarian Grand Prix was one of the victims of Sergio Pérez's crazy comeback, and finished the race in ninth place.
Top 10 of the Dutch Grand Prix
Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)
Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
Fernando Alonso (Alpine)
Carlos Sainz Jr. (Ferrari)
Sergio Pérez (Red Bull)
Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
Lando Norris (McLaren)
Top 5 in the drivers' and constructors' rankings
Thanks to this victory, Max Verstappen regains the lead in the drivers' standings and is now three points ahead of his rival Lewis Hamilton. His teammate Valtteri Bottas took advantage of Lando Norris' poor result to move ahead of him and take third place. Sergio Pérez remains in fifth place, but is still being followed by Charles Leclerc.
On the manufacturers' side, Mercedes retains its first place, followed closely by Red Bull Racing. The good operation is signed by Ferrari which steals the third place from McLaren, while Alpine remains solid fifth.
Max Verstappen (Red Bull) : 224,5 points
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) : 221,5 points
Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) : 123 points
Lando Norris (McLaren) : 114 points
Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) : 108 points
Mercedes : 344,5 points
Red Bull Racing : 332,5 points
Ferrari : 181,5 points
McLaren : 170 points
Alpine : 90 points
The next Grand Prix
As soon as the Dutch Grand Prix is over, the twenty drivers of this Formula 1 world championship will have just enough time to rest because they will already have to concentrate on the next Grand Prix which will take place... next weekend! On the menu, an Italian Grand Prix a little bit particular! Indeed, the International Automobile Federation will test for the second time a new system of qualification: the sprint qualifications! Already used for the first time during the British Grand Prix, this modified weekend will take place as follows:
Friday: first free practice session and qualifying in its usual format (Q1, Q2, Q3) for the sprint race;
Saturday: second free practice session and 100 km sprint race, the result of which will determine the starting grid for the Grand Prix and the first three will score points;
Sunday: no change.
The sprint qualifying system will be tested for a third and final time this season at an as yet undetermined Grand Prix. If this system is accepted, it could well replace the current system for good.
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