Verstappen reigns in front of his home crowd

Verstappen reigns supreme in front of home crowd

September 4, 2022

Max Verstappen won in front of his home crowd, taking home the second consecutive win after the summer break.

Behind Verstappen, George Russell was second ahead of Charles Leclerc, Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Pérez, Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris.

Carlos Sainz’s time penalty saw him finish eighth ahead of Esteban Ocon and Lance Stroll, who rounded up the points scoring positions. 

Verstappen’s win now puts him 109 points ahead of Sergio Pérez and Charles Leclerc, both of whom are now tied on 201 points. Red Bull have also built their Constructors’ lead over Ferrari by 135 points, while Mercedes have closed the gap to Ferrari by 30 points. Alpine’s strong show means they continue to drift away from McLaren for that fourth-place finish.

Verstappen started off well, covering off Leclerc, but behind them Sainz and Hamilton went wheel-to-wheel as Hamilton tried to pinch the third place from the Ferrari driver. While Verstappen started to pull away from Leclerc, the Haas of Kevin Magnussen went wide on Turn 2 and hit the barrier. The Dane, though, managed to get back on the track without damaging his car.

By Lap 6, Verstappen was more than a second ahead of Leclerc, while Sainz in third place was being pressured by Hamilton, who seemed to have more pace than him. Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, who started a disappointing P14, was up to P12 by Lap 10 after passing Pierre Gasly on the main straight.

Gasly became the first to pit in the following lap, and that saw a host of cars following the AlphaTauri driver into the pits. Among the front-runners, Carlos Sainz came into the pits on Lap 15, which meant Hamilton moved up into the podium places. Sainz’s pit-stop was an absolute disaster, however, which saw the pit crew hold Sainz up for more than 12 seconds.

Leclerc came in for his first stop on Lap 18; thankfully, the Monégasque had a quick pit-stop and re-joined in P4. Race-leader Verstappen came in on Lap 19 and re-joined in third, ahead of Leclerc. Verstappen coming in meant Lewis Hamilton took the lead of the race with his teammate George Russell in P2, though Verstappen re-took the second spot from Russell on Lap 28 as he roared past him in an attempt to re-take the lead of the race. 

Verstappen’s job was made easier as Hamilton came into the pits on Lap 30, re-joining in P5 behind Sergio Pérez. Hamilton’s teammate Russell came in on Lap 32, being the last driver on the grid to pit, and rejoined in P5 ahead of Carlos Sainz.

Verstappen built his lead to more than eight seconds as he sped away from Leclerc and Pérez, the latter being under pressure from Hamilton who was right on his tail. Hamilton eventually managed to get past Pérez on Lap 36 on the main straight, going on the outside of the Mexican to take P3. The Mexican was later also passed by Russell on Lap 37.

Pérez came in for his second stop on Lap 41 and re-joined in seventh place behind Lando Norris. The race saw its first yellow flag on Lap 45 as AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, who had just come out of the pit-stop, had to stop on the track as his tyres weren’t fitted in properly. Tsunoda, though, managed to limp back to the pits. Racing resumed the next lap as Leclerc came in for his second stop on Lap 46 and re-joined in P4. 

Tsunoda, who came into the pits to fix his issue, stopped on his outlap, bringing out the Virtual Safety Car. Behind the Virtual Safety Car, the likes of Norris and Alonso got a cheap pit-stop, as did the race-leader Verstappen, for whom the timing of the Virtual Safety Car couldn’t have come at a better time, especially given that Leclerc had to put just one lap before the VSC. The Mercedes pair of Hamilton and Russell also got two free pit-stops, with Hamilton showing some solid race pace, but the VSC meant that Verstappen didn’t need to come in for a normal stop and come out behind Hamilton. Racing eventually resumed on Lap 50, with Verstappen leading from Hamilton, Russell, Leclerc ,Pérez and Esteban Ocon, who was until then on a one-stop. 

Valtteri Bottas stopped on the main straight on Lap 55. His issue saw the Safety Car be deployed, which saw Verstappen come into the pits once again as he switched his hard tyres for the soft ones for the last 15 laps. His pit-stop under the Safety Car saw Hamilton take the lead of the race, with Russell in P2.

The Safety Car was deployed through the pit lane as well on Lap 58, which saw all cars come into the pits, with Hamilton switching to a fresh set of medium tyres, but this also saw Verstappen take P2 from Russell due to a double stack at the Mercedes garage. Carlos Sainz, meanwhile, was handed a five-second time penalty due to an unsafe release during the Safety Car period.

Racing resumed on Lap 61, with Hamilton leading from Verstappen, while Bottas became the race’s second retiree after Yuki Tsunoda. Verstappen, however, immediately took the lead of the race from Hamilton on the main straight. Within a lap’s time, the Dutchman was almost two seconds ahead of Hamilton, who was followed closely by Russell.

Russell eventually took P2 from Hamilton on Lap 64, with Mercedes prioritising Russell on the soft tyres more than Hamilton on the mediums ones. Hamilton had further pressure from Leclerc behind him, and the Ferrari man ultimately took the position from the veteran Brit on Lap 66.

Up front, there was no stopping Verstappen as he took home his second Dutch Grand Prix victory. George Russell finished second ahead of Leclerc in third, with Hamilton losing out the final podium. 

Verstappen’s win now has the Championship title all but confirmed as we head to Monza next week for the third and final race of the triple-header. 

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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