Verstappen equals world record with win at the Dutch Grand Prix 2023

Dutch Grand Prix 2023: Verstappen equals world record with win

August 28, 2023

Max Verstappen continued his dominance in the ongoing 2023 Formula One Championship as he took a record ninth win in a row at his home Grand Prix.

Verstappen’s win now equals him with another Red Bull great — Sebastian Vettel. The reigning World Champion’s dominance now has him just a couple of wins away from securing his third World Title. 

Under a gloomy sky, the race got underway as Verstappen kept his lead heading into the first corner. Barely as the cars had made it past the opening lap, however, rain came down, and Verstappen’s teammate, Sergio Pérez, was the first to pit. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc also came in, with Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso following suit.

Most of the drivers were into the pits by Lap 2, as was race leader Verstappen, leaving Lando Norris to fight George Russell for the lead. The rain resulted in absolute chaos, as Leclerc went onto the gravel in Lap 3, while Zhou Guanyu went up to third.

As the rain stopped by Lap 5, Pérez led from Zhou, with Pierre Gasly in P3 and Verstappen P4. Verstappen quickly picked Gasly for P3 after a precise aggressive move—typical of the Dutchman—that sent the crowd into massive cheers. Verstappen took another lap to take P2 from Zhou and was chasing down Pérez, while Ferrari’s talisman Leclerc was struggling with his damaged front wing.

Verstappen came in for his second stop on Lap 11, with Gasly, his former teammate, following suit. Both of them came out on the soft tyres. Race leader Pérez came in for his stop on Lap 13, which saw Verstappen re-take the lead.

The first incident happened on Lap 15, as Logan Sargeant went into the barriers to bring out the Safety Car. Racing resumed on Lap 21, with Verstappen leading and Pérez, Alonso, Gasly and Carlos Sainz making the rest of the top five. 

It was Verstappen in cruise control up front, while chaos reigned behind him as Ferrari called in Leclerc on Lap 42 to retire him after a tough afternoon that had seen him fall back through the field following his early front-wing damage. Alonso came in for his stop on Lap 49, but a slow stop hampered the veteran Spaniard’s progress. Alonso wasn’t going to let a slow pit-stop affect him, however, as he came out flying and picked Yuki Tsunoda and Gasly to move back up into the top four. He then showed Sainz why he’s still the best Spanish driver on the grid on Lap 52 as he breezed past him, while Tsunoda lost places further down with Alex Albon making up places and moving up to P7.

By Lap 60, it was Verstappen leading from Pérez and Alonso, with Albon up to P6 after picking up the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. 

Rain came back on Lap 61 and, one by one, the entire grid headed into the pits. Pérez came out following his stop but spun out on the gravel on Lap 63. The following lap, Zhou spun off and smashed into the barriers, bringing out the full red flag. After a lengthy delay, racing resumed with Verstappen leading Alonso and Pérez in third place, behind the Safety Car.

While Verstappen kept his lead with ease, Sainz and Hamilton battled for P5. Verstappen breezed to another comfortable win, while Alonso took P2 from Gasly after Pérez got a late penalty due to speeding in the pit-lane. 

Verstappen’s win now puts him 138 points clear of Pérez in the Drivers’ Standings, while Alonso’s second-place finish helps him keep Hamilton at bay.

Red Bull, meanwhile, have opened up a 285-point lead to Mercedes in the Constructors’ Standings, with Aston Martin’s podium putting them only 40 points behind the Silver Arrows.

Racing is back next week as we head to Monza for the iconic Italian Grand Prix.

Aditya Chaudhuri

Hailing from the City of Joy, the things that bring me joy are cricket, a good non-tilt CS:GO session, F1 and movies.

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