Verstappen takes home Dutch GP win to take lead in title fight

Max Verstappen WINS the Dutch Grand Prix after being roared to victory on home soil by a raucous crowd… with second-placed Lewis Hamilton slipping behind his fierce rival in race for the title

  • Max Verstappen took victory at his home race to take the championship lead 
  • Verstappen fended off the Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas
  • Mercedes told Bottas not to set the fastest lap but the Finnish driver did so
  • This forced Hamilton into a late pit stop to re-take the point for fastest lap   
  • Pierre Gasly, Charles LeClerc and Fernando Alonso rounded out the top six
  • Verstappen now has a three point lead over Hamilton in the fight for the title 

Usual thing. Lewis Hamilton wins, Mercedes are the greatest team ever. Lewis Hamilton loses, Mercedes are a heap of rubbish.

You can say this makes him the ferocious competitor he is, or you can call him a whinger. The verdict on that one is split, though both assessments have a ring of truth to them.

Sunday’s Dutch Grand Prix – a fine, friendly, boisterous event – won by Max Verstappen to paroxysms of delight among his adoring home public was a case in point of the Briton’s relentless nature struggling to accept second place.

Max Verstappen took the championship lead by winning his home Grand Prix at Zandvoort

Lewis Hamilton did his best to keep up with Verstappen but did not have the pace to win

As it happened, he finished precisely there through a combination of Verstappen’s own unerring driving and the pace of his Red Bull being too extravagant for Mercedes to stop even though they tried to throw every sling and arrow of strategy at the opposition. Hamilton drove very well himself but ended the day with a three-point deficit in the championship, a swing of six.

Twice Mercedes tried to undercut the Dutchman, twice they failed. A sticky front right tyre on the first occasion did not help, but Hamilton was particularly furious that his second stop did not bring about the desired result. Cue the radio. ‘We called our bluff too soon,’ he complained, perhaps meaning they had played their hand too soon. ‘I had so much life left in that tyre. I don’t know why we rushed it.’

Actually, so far as I could see Mercedes delayed the call too long. Verstappen, who started on pole, was opening his lead to more than three seconds and showed no signs of abating. The advantage was slamming the window down on any chance of an undercut working.

Verstappen draped himself in the Dutch flag during the post-race podium ceremony

Verstappen won in front of a partisan Dutch crowd who roared when he crossed the line

Warned by his race engineer, Peter ‘Bono’ Bonnington, that his new tyres might run out of life, Hamilton snapped back: ‘I am pushing to close this gap, man. Come on.’

He later added: ‘Today we needed everything to be perfect to have the slightest chance. Pit stops needed to be on point, strategy needed to be on point, and (release into) traffic, too. But none of those three was ideal.’

Hamilton was not entirely wrong in criticising Mercedes, mind. Competition is revealing cracks in even their polished operation.

Rosberg, champion with the team in 2016, was withering, said: ‘Today it was Max’s race but it could have been a closer fight. The way they did it there was just no chance. It was a bit strange to see.

Verstappen kept the lead at the start of the race and battled hard to keep his lead throughout

Valtteri Bottas briefly took the lead after making one less stop but finished well back in third

‘They have had a couple of shaky moments recently. It’s not been their usual high level of strategy so something has gone on.

‘I think this evening there will be some big discussions. Lewis gave a low blow saying, “I don’t know what they were thinking”.

Rosberg added: ‘What I also found really bad today were the comments from Bono to Lewis. They were so garbled and not clear.

‘That as a driver frustrated me like hell, because I am like, “Come on, we are out there, we don’t know what is going on. Give us clear guidance – push now or take it a little easy”. That was below par from Bono today.’

Hamilton, it should be noted, was gracious and generous towards Verstappen, acknowledging that his adversary had performed superbly under huge pressure. 

The victory was Verstappen’s seventh of the season and he has a three point lead

The 23-year-old’s fame was the reason the race returned to Holland after 36 years and here 70,000 of his exuberant fans were letting off their orange flares, waving flags and cheering him loudly. Even his monarch, King Willem-Alexander was in attendance.

Verstappen’s drew the biggest in-race cheer of the afternoon when he passed Valtteri Bottas after his own first stop had left him behind the Finn, who was staying out in an attempt to jam the Red Bull man in a Mercedes sandwich.

On the plus side for Hamilton, he scored a point for setting the fastest lap on the very last lap but not before his usually obedient pal Bottas, who finished third, had ignored pleas to slow down so as not to beat the champion’s existing race-best time.

Mercedes told Bottas not to set fastest lap but the Finnish driver did forcing Hamilton to pit to re-take the point for the fastest lap

The weekend was splendid for Formula One a week on from the farce of Spa’s ‘race that never was’. This was so well-organised and throbbing with fun, even though overtaking opportunities were limited on the narrow, banked track.

The anticipated hostility towards Hamilton barely rose beyond pantomime level, and he charmed the fans by telling them how much he enjoyed being in Holland and loved the track and appreciated them.

Only the result hurt.

Sportsmail’s KIERAN LYNCH provided live Formula One coverage of the Dutch Grand Prix, including build-up, race updates and result.  

Host commentator

Verstappen is out of his car to a huge roar from the crowd and he now has the lead over Hamilton in the championship race.  He drapes himself in the Dutch flag to big cheers.

Interesting to see what the fallout of what happened at Mercedes at the end. Bottas disobeyed team orders by setting the fastest lap. He might be losing his seat to Russell so perhaps no surprise.

Lewis Hamilton re-takes the fastest lap point off Bottas after that late Mercedes drama with the Finnish driver in third.

Behind them Gasly is fourth, LeClerc fifth, Alonso got past Sainz for sixth, Perez got past Ocon for eighth and Norris is in tenth.

Zandvoort erupts as Max Verstappen wins the Dutch Grand Prix to a huge roar and take the championship lead!

George Russell has had a late problem and had to come into the pits but is back out in 15th. 

Meanwhile the party has started in the crowd as Verstappen has one lap to go to win his home race.

Bottas goes purple in the first two sectors and slows down in the third sector but sets the fastest lap!

He’s taken the point off Hamilton so surely the Brit has to come in now.

Mercedes won’t be happy at all as they told him to abort the fastest lap attempt after the first two sectors.

Mercedes tell Bottas they won’t be going for fastest lap as they don’t want the point to come off Hamilton.

Bottas asks why and Mercedes reply he had tyre vibrations.

Looks like he might be losing his seat to George Russell so interesting to see if he sticks to that order!

Interestingly Bottas pits from third is he going for the fastest lap point? That would take it off Hamilton but you’d guess the Brit would then also come into the pits.

Perez is up to ninth past Norris. There was a couple of moments of contacts as Norris looked to squeeze Perez off the track. 

They connected wheel to wheel but both are able to continue.

Verstappen is keeping the gap at four seconds to Hamilton with Bottas a further 24 seconds behind on much older tyres.

Some late nerves for the Dutchman though as he locks up going into the chicane but is okay.

Alonso has been taking over a second a lap out of his Spanish compatriot who has been nearly two seconds off the pace of LeClerc so maybe he has a problem.


Perez is now all over the back of Lando Norris so the McLaren driver has some defending to do before the end of the race.

Meanwhile Fernando Alonso is also catching up Carlos Sainz in the battle for sixth and is less than a second behind.

Sainz is 30 second teammate LeClerc so his pace has really struggled in the second half of this race.

Verstappen is pulling a huge gap on Hamilton now and the Brit’s charge looks over unless he somehow finds some pace. 

The gap is over four seconds.

Perez is flying towards Norris and has taken over four seconds out of him in the last couple of laps.

The gap between the two leaders is now back over two seconds while the television graphics are suggesting Verstappen is getting a lot of wear surprisingly on his left front and rear.

Hamilton reports a potential power cut but he is told not to worry by his team.

He is 1.7 second behind Verstappen and he needs to make a pass if he wants to keep the lead in the championship.

After that the next best battle is for eighth with Lando Norris closing in on Esteban Ocon with Sergio Perez seven seconds behind the pair.

Perez is into the points as he gets past Ricciardo for tenth despite McLaren urging their man to slow the Red Bull driver down.

Verstappen and Hamilton are both having issues with backmarkers.

Hamilton is now just 1.3 seconds behind Verstappen he is closing up very quick now this is not over.

Hamilton is closing the gap down a bit more and he is now 2.4 behind Verstappen.

Unseen on TV but Norris did get past Ricciardo and is now in ninth ahead of Ricciardo. 

Ricciardo though is only one second ahead of Perez on much slower tyres.

Hamilton says the Red Bull is ‘so fast’ but he has closed down the gap by another tenth of a second and is still setting purple sectors. 

You do wonder whether Mercedes might pull Hamilton into the pits for a third stop and see if he can catch Verstappen towards the end of the race.

He would drop behind Bottas but he would have a massive pace advantage on the soft tyres.

Haven’t spoke about him too much but what a drive by Gasly up in fourth. Comfortably best of the rest.

Though not so good for his teammate as Tsunoda reports a loss of power and comes into the pits to retire. He has been well off the pace of his teammate this weekend so one to forget.

Mick Schumacher meanwhile runs wide onto the gravel but is able to continue but is comfortably last.

Perez comes into the pits for his second stop and it hasn’t worked well as he is now 12th behind Russell. 

Still a chance of a lower end points finish though but he is a lap down on his teammate due to his issues. 

Hamilton meanwhile sets another fastest lap and the gap is now 3.2 seconds down to Verstappen.

Hamilton back on the radio now saying he doesn’t expect to get to the end of the race on these tyres.

Meanwhile Bottas has dropped well off and is 13 seconds off the lead.

Ocon reports a plastic bag stuck in his brake duct but replays show that the bag is able to escape.

He is back in a battle with Alonso and is just under a second behind. They are running at a similar pace as are the two Ferraris who are someway further up but like the Alpines look like they will be lapped at some point soon.

Hamilton is really not happy he was pulled into the pits when he was as he tells his team he had ‘plenty more life’ in his last set of tyres.

Mercedes reply they will speak to him about it after the race.

The race is still on but he gets slowed down lapping the Alpines and is now 3.5 seconds behind.

We have our first retirement of the race as Mazepin pulls into the Haas garage. 

Hamilton comes over the radio and fears Mercedes called the bluff too soon as the gap between him and Verstappen is three seconds.

Norris meanwhile has come into the pits and he is now 11th behind Ricciardo but on much fresher tyres. Don’t be too surprised to see the Aussie let his teammate through as Norris is in a battle with Perez who has to pit surely as well. 

So after the front three the rest of the points places are currently Gasly, LeClerc, Sainz, Norris, Perez, Alonso and Ocon.

Norris has not yet pitted while Perez pitted in the opening laps so surely he has to pit again.

Ricciardo is 17 seconds outside of the points with Russell 12th though he has a five second penalty for speeding.

So thirty laps left and this shall be a fierce battle towards the chequered flag.

Hamilton sets the fastest lap while Verstappen is reassured that the hard tyre looks decent on the Ferrari drivers.

The hard tyre hasn’t been great on the Red Bull in the past though.

Verstappen comes into the pits and he is onto the harder tyres. They have more durability but Mercedes should have more pace on the mediums.

He has a good gap on Hamilton though who got caught up in the traffic and the gap is over three seconds.

Bottas is still in third despite the two pitstops for the leaders and he is out of contention surely now.

It’s Hamilton and Mercedes who blink first! He comes out on the mediums but he comes out into traffic just ahead of Stroll and behind Russell.

Verstappen will surely pit now.

Verstappen is told to go all out for the next five laps. Could be second stop time for him and Hamilton in the next few laps. Who will blink first?

Yellow flags are out and it’s for Vettel who spins at Turn 3. Nearly causes a disaster for Bottas behind who has to run wide to take evasive action. 

That will have lost the Mercedes driver some crucial time in his battle to keep up with the front two.

Vettel is able to continue but is down in 17th.

Giovinazzi’s great qualifying is ruined as he is forced into a second pitstop after a puncture. He goes on the hard tyres and will run to the end of the race but he is down in 18th. 

LeClerc pits from fourth and he rejoins behind Gasly in fifth.

Hamilton is still around 1.6 seconds behind Verstappen. Bottas is a further 23 seconds down and is still in play.

Not so good news for Russell as he gets a five second penalty for speeding in the pit lane. That won’t help him in his battle for the final points place.

Alonso pits in his Alpine and comes out ninth ahead of Ocon who pitted several laps earlier.

Bottas is told to close to Verstappen’s window. It’s very possible that the Red Bull driver and Hamilton might still need to pass Bottas if the Finn doesn’t need to pit again.

Great move further down the order as Russell gets around Kubica following his pitstop. 

Hamilton says Verstappen is ‘super lucky with traffic’ although that traffic did come in the form of his teammate Bottas!

Sainz pitted in the Ferrari and he rejoins behind Alonso in seventh.

Good lap by Verstappen who has pulled out of DRS range from Hamilton with the gap now 1.5 seconds.

Bottas pits from third and he keeps his position. He will be looking to get to the end of the race.

Verstappen is now all over the back of the Finnish Mercedes driver who ran wide in the entry to the chicane giving him a great opportunity down the straight.

And it’s easy for Verstappen who flies past to take the lead! Bottas quickly goes off line to allow Hamilton through for second and the gap is now seven tenths between the two championship leaders.

Race on!

Bottas is told that his battle with Verstappen is for the race win. Interesting after comments earlier suggesting his pace wasn’t good enough for the win.

Verstappen is now in DRS range.

Verstappen is now 2.4 behind Bottas while Hamilton has lost a couple of tenths on that last lap and is now 1.5 behind the home hero.

Gasly on fresh tyres gets past Alonso for sixth while Giovinazzi, Russell and Stroll come into the pits releasing Norris and Perez.

Hamilton is clearly faster at this moment and is now just 1.2 behind Verstappen who is 3.7 behind Bottas.

Ferrari might be looking for an overcut to try and get LeClerc to jump Gasly.

Hamilton is not far off the DRS zone on Verstappen. There’s just a 1.5 second gap between the two. 

Bottas in first is complaining about his tyres but it’s likely he will stay out for another couple of laps.

Gasly pits from fourth and rejoins between the Alpines of Alonso and Ocon.

Perez is on it and he makes another move on Tsunoda for 14th. Next up for him is Lando Norris who is still struggling down in 13th but could be trickier to overtake.

Bottas to Verstappen now a 5.6 second gap while Hamilton is closing in on his title rival.

Verstappen is making big inroads to Bottas with the gap now at under 8 seconds. 

Perez meanwhile is now behind the AlphaTauri of Tsunoda.

Bottas now leads and it will be interesting to see if he stays out and tries to slow Verstappen down into Hamilton’s path.

He has a nine second lead over the Dutchman.

Max Verstappen comes into the pits and they have responded to Mercedes.

His stop is better too as it was a 2.7 stop. By Red Bull’s standards it wasn’t that quick but still it was better than Mercedes.

He rejoins ahead of Hamilton but the gap has closed to 2.4 seconds has the Brit.

Lewis Hamilton is in the pits and it is slightly slow as it took 3.6 seconds due to a slow front right. It looks like they’ve opted for a two stopper after all.

Nice move by Perez moves him past Kubica for 15th.

Perez makes up another position this time Latifi for 16th. He thought he had the upper hand at Turn 10 but Latifi came back at him but Perez switched to the inside and made the move.

Next up for him is Kubica.

Tough radio message for Bottas to take as he is told his pace isn’t good enough to challenge the top two. He is ten seconds off Verstappen.

LeClerc has started to make a little ground on fourth place Gasly with the gap now at 2.5 seconds. 

Hamilton sets the fastest first sector and is clearly pushing but it’s going to be tough to catch Verstappen up before the pit stops.

Perez finally dives past Mazepin without locking his tyres and is in 17th after a nice dummy into the chicane in the final sector.

Verstappen has pulled out half a second on Hamilton with the gap now at 3.4 seconds.

Perez is showing some good pace so he is doing enough not to be lapped just yet.

Meanwhile after Ocon’s early call that he is quicker than Alonso, he is now 1.8 behind his teammate.

Norris is told to be patient and stay on Plan B after his concerns over Vettel. 

Meanwhile towards the back Nicholas Latifi goes the long way around Mazepin. Not many overtakes so far but lovely move by the Canadian there albeit for 16th place.

Vettel was running just two places behind Norris and the McLaren driver fears the German might run three seconds a lap quicker in clear air. 

Hamilton is keeping a solid distance behind Verstappen around the 2.9 second mark. Bottas is a further 5.6 behind and already looking like it will be tough for him to be in with a shot of victory today.

Vettel is another runner who has come into the pits early. Maybe reacting to Perez’s pitstop and the Mexican sets the fastest lap of the race.

Gasly is driving a very solid race in fourth and has pulled 3.5 seconds over LeClerc in fifth.

Red Bull tell Perez that the vibrations on his tyres were too high after his lock-up. That has ruined his afternoon.

Meanwhile Hamilton sets the fastest lap and is 2.8 behind. It looks like the Brit might be opting for a two-stop strategy.

Interesting to see what Verstappen does.

Verstappen now holds a three second gap to Hamilton and 6.5 to Bottas.

Ferrari meanwhile are telling LeClerc they will be going for ‘Plan B’ whatever that means in terms of their strategy. 

Sergio Perez is already in the pits and he comes out not far in front of his teammate Verstappen. Already looking like a tough afternoon for the Mexican.

Verstappen already laps Mick Schumacher. The Dutchman is looking comfortable up front and he is pulling a big gap especially to Bottas in third who is dropping over half a second a lap presently.

Huge lock up for Sergio Perez behind Nikita Mazepin in the Haas. That won’t be good for his tyres!

Great battle looks to be ensuing between Alonso and Ocon for seventh. The Frenchman is reporting that he is quicker than Alonso.

Meanwhile it is confirmed Mick Schumacher did break his front wing in a battle which is why he came into the pits so early.

Alonso takes the high line on the banking of Turn 3 and Ocon tries a cheeky move down the low line but can’t get past.

Hamilton is already reporting concerns over his tyres while Mick Schumacher is in the pits and onto the hard tyres. He had just lost places to Perez and Latifi so you wonder if there was a problem on his Haas.

Verstappen holds a 2.3 second lead over Hamilton with Bottas a further 2.3 down.

Big gap already growing to those behind.

Lando Norris didn’t make any ground from the start and is still in 13th. 

Keep an eye on Ricciardo hopefully his smoke it not signs of the start of a technical issue.

Replays of the start and it was a very equal start among all the frontrunners. LeClerc tries to get past Gasly but had to back off. 

Meanwhile Alonso who is the master of the starts drove around the outside of Giovinazzi and Ocon.

Giovinazzi nearly clattered into the back of one of the Alpines! Lucky there wasn’t a collision there.

Verstappen is already out of DRS range and holds a two second lead over Hamilton. It couldn’t have got any better for him.

Meanwhile at the back Perez gets past Latifi who also started from the pit-lane.

Russell reports smoke out of the back of Ricciardo’s car.

Storming start by Max Verstappen it’s a dream start for the Dutchman in his home race. 

Hamilton sweeps in behind ahead of Bottas, Gasly, LeClerc and Sainz.

Great start by the Alpines with Alonso and Ocon moving ahead of Giovinazzi who is also behind Ricciardo.

The cars head off their formation lap. All those starting in the top ten will start the race on the soft compound.

Not long to go now until we are lights out at Zandvoort.

There is a 0% chance of rain after last week’s disaster and this has all the potential to be a cracking race.

Keep an eye on Lando Norris and Sergio Perez as they look to storm through the field from positions that are out of character for them this season.

A quick pause is taken for the ‘We Race as One’ gesture before the Dutch national anthem 

Behind the front three, Pierre Gasly put in a stunning lap to put his car P4 ahead of the two Ferrari drivers.

Big shout out to Antonio Giovinazzi who equalled his career best with P7. His teammate this weekend is Robert Kubica who replaces Kimi Raikkonen who tested positive for Covid-19.

Lando Norris has been off-form so far this weekend only qualifying down in 13th position.

He is third in the championship but it will be tough for him to keep that starting ten places behind nearest rival Valtteri Bottas.

On the grid parade he joked that he hoped Verstappen would slow down the pack to allow him to stay close and overtake everyone else.

George Russell made a rare mistake with a spin in qualifying and he starts down in P11 but has a free choice of tyres to start the race on.

The engine cover is off Max Verstappen’s car which would be enough to worry the locals.

But Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has no concerns saying that it is ‘standard procedure’ so nothing to worry about it appears.

There was also a bit of smoke coming out the back of Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren on the way to the grid but it doesn’t appear to be anything too significant. 

It is 36 years since the Dutch Grand Prix was on the F1 calendar. 

Back on that day it was a McLaren 1-2 with Niki Lauda finishing 0.32 seconds ahead of Alain Prost with Ayrton Senna in third in a Lotus.

The popularity and success of Verstappen has contributed to the track’s return to the calendar and you’d expect it to stay around for many years to come as long as he is on the grid.

Don’t think I’ve seen as much flares at a Grand Prix as there is at Zandvoort today by the partisan Dutch crowd.

Huge clouds of orange smoke go across the track as the drivers do their laps to the grid.

The support for Verstappen is very reminiscent of Michael Schumacher in Germany and peak Fernando Alonso in Spain going back in time.

The cars are now heading out onto track and we are 40 minutes away from the start of the Dutch Grand Prix.

Just to note there will be two drivers starting in pit-lane today. One being Sergio Perez who takes on a new engine component after he shockingly failed to make it out of Q1 yesterday – big job for him today.

Nicholas Latifi meanwhile will also start in the pit-lane after his very hefty crash in Q2.

Another interesting point is the FIA will be taking a look at cars stacking in the pit-lane today. There is not much space between each pit box and if a car is seen to impede another while stacking behind a teammate in the pits, they could end up facing a penalty.

There has been a crazy atmosphere at the Zandvoort circuit all weekend with a jam packed crowd there hoping to see Max Verstappen take a victory.

It is truly a sea of orange in the grandstands with not too many sporting colours of any of the other teams or drivers.

Betfair has Verstappen at 8/15 favourite to win today’s Grand Prix, with Hamilton at 7/4 and Valtteri Bottas a distant 14/1. They also have odds of 1/5 for a safety car to be deployed at some point during the race.

Well the less said about last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix the better but Max Verstappen took the victory in what was classified as a one lap race behind the safety car.

It meant he closed the gap to Lewis Hamilton to three points who finished in third behind George Russell who put in a stunning qualifying effort in his Williams.

Rain always spices up the races but after last week it’s safe to say fans will be hoping for a dry race this afternoon!

There has been a red flag in every session so far this weekend so don’t be too surprised if we see one come out for an incident or car stoppage this afternoon.

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton share the front row for the first time since the British Grand Prix and we all know what happened there!

It is a 287 yard dash to the first corner and the championship leader will be hoping to spoil the day for the Dutch crowd by beating Verstappen to the victory.

One big plus for Mercedes is that Valtteri Bottas is right up there starting in third while Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez will start from the pit-lane after a horrible qualifying session.

Red Bull will therefore hope Pierre Gasly in the AlphaTauri can do them a favour and jump ahead of a Mercedes or two at the first corner. 

And welcome everyone to Sportsmail’s coverage of the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort.

Max Verstappen starts on pole for his home race ahead of the two Mercedes drivers of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

After the farce in Belgium last week, thankfully the sun is shining at Zandvoort and we should be in for another thrilling race in this year’s title bout.

Kieran Lynch here and I will provide you all the build-up, live race updates and result from this afternoon’s action.

Source: Read Full Article