Max Verstappen won from end to end the Dutch Formula 1 Grand Prix, held this Sunday, September 5, at the Zandvoort circuit. The race marked the circuit’s return to the Formula 1 calendar, which since 1985 had not hosted a GP.
It was the 17th career victory for Verstappen, the first Dutchman to win at home. It was the Red Bull driver’s seventh win of the season, who reassumed the lead at the 2021 World Cup with 224.5 points, three ahead of Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton and Bottas, the Mercedes driver duo, completed the podium in second and third position respectively, while Hamilton took the extra point for the fastest lap of the race. With the points, Mercedes maintains the lead among the manufacturers two points ahead of Red Bull, while Bottas takes third place in the drivers’ championship nine points ahead of Lando Norris – the McLaren driver finished in P10 and scored just one point .
Pierre Gasly finished in fourth position after a great performance at the Zandvoort circuit. Even so, the AlphaTauri Frenchman finished one lap behind the leader, as only Hamilton and Bottas completed the race on the same lap as the leader. In contrast, his teammate, Yuki Tsunoda, left the race with problems with his AT02.
Ferrari had a very positive balance in the Netherlands. Charles Leclerc was fifth and Carlos Sainz seventh – while Fernando Alonso, from Alpine, replaced the Ferraris. With the result, Scuderia opens 11.5 points ahead of McLaren in the fight for third strength among the constructors.
Sergio Perez had to make a recovery run to put his Red Bull among the points. He was also chosen driver of the day at the Dutch GP. In the final stages, the Mexican overtook Norris and Esteban Ocon to finish eighth, with the first two rounding out the 10 Netherlands GP scorers respectively.
Verstappen’s impeccable start
The start was smooth in Zandovoort. Verstappen started well and was already opening the advantage in turn 1, leaving Hamilton and Bottas with no chance of attack.
Alonso won two positions, from Ocon and Giovinazzi, and was in seventh place. Ricciardo also took the position of the Italian from Alfa Romeo and took the ninth position, behind Ocon. Giovinazzi dropped to 10th.
The race continued unaltered to the stops. Verstappen and Hamilton stopped practically together on lap 20, handing the lead to Bottas. Perez, Vettel and Schumacher also stopped along with the leader.
Hamilton tried to get closer to Verstappen, but the difference remained in the range of two seconds until the Brit started to close the gap.
Mercedes’ first unsuccessful undercut
On lap 25, Gasly made his first pit-stop and returned to the track in seventh position, behind Leclerc and Sainz’s Ferraris and Alonso’s Alpine.
Verstappen lost time to pass Vettel and Mazepin, allowing Hamilton to get closer. The gap dropped to 1.3s, but it was 1.6s at the end of lap 27.
Giovinazzi, Russell and Stroll pitted on lap 28, while Gasly passed Alonso and took sixth place.
Mercedes kept Bottas on track in an attempt to help Hamilton reach Verstappen. The Finn hurt Verstappen, but so did Hamilton. In the end, Verstappen took the lead and was already opening 1.6s for Hamilton immediately after overtaking. On the next lap, Bottas went to the pits and came back in third position.
On lap 35, Russell received a five-second penalty after exceeding the pit-lane speed limit.
On the same lap, Leclerc made his first stop after 34 laps on soft tires. Sainz also stopped. Both returning to the track on hard tires.
Vettel missed turn 3 and rolled. Bottas was behind and almost hit the German’s AMR21.
Second undercut (still unsuccessful) from Mercedes
A few laps later, on 39, the difference between Verstappen and Hamilton was already three seconds, when Hamilton went to the pits to try the undercut. Hamilton made a good stop but turned back into traffic.
On the next lap, Verstappen pitted and put on hard tires against Hamilton’s medium. The Red Bull driver made an impeccable stop and returned 3.3s ahead of the Brit.
Hamilton told Mercedes over the radio that the undercut attempt was made at the wrong time and that he would not be able to make it to the end of the race on medium tires. Up front, Verstappen was calm and giving the Mercedes driver an advantage.
Hamilton approaches, but Verstappen shows he was left over
On lap 55 Hamilton began to reduce Verstappen’s lead by taking advantage of the traffic the Dutchman had picked up. A difference that came to be almost four seconds, Hamilton reduced to 1.5s.
But it didn’t last long. On lap 61, Verstappen was 3.3s ahead of Hamilton again, while the Brit complained about the wear on his tyres.
Perez overtook Norris after the two went into a beautiful dispute for ninth position. The Mexican was out on the Tarzan Curve and both touched once more. The McLaren driver ended up leaving no room for Perez, who nevertheless managed to overtake at the next corner.
Perez makes good overtaking to finish in points
Mercedes called Bottas for another stop on lap 64. The Mercedes driver put the tires on, but the team instructed him not to make the quick lap as it was in Hamilton’s possession. Still, Bottas made the quick turn. On the next lap, Mercedes called Hamilton into the pits.
In the middle pack, Perez overtook Ocon and moved up to P8.
In the end, Verstappen won for the seventh time of the season and for the 17th time in his career. Hamilton finished second ahead of Bottas.
Check out the result of the Formula 1 Netherlands Grand Prix:
1) Max Verstappen (Red Bull/Honda)
2) Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
3) Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
4) Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri/Honda)
5) Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
6) Fernando Alonso (Alpine/Renault)
7) Carlos Sainz Jr. (Ferrari)
8) Sergio Pérez (Red Bull/Honda)
9) Esteban Ocon (Alpine/Renault)
10) Lando Norris (McLaren/Mercedes)
11) Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren/Mercedes)
12) Throw Stroll (Aston Martin/Mercedes)
13) Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin/Mercedes)
14) A. Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo/Ferrari)
15) Robert Kubica (Alfa Romeo/Ferrari)
16) Nicholas Latifi (Williams/Mercedes)
17) George Russell (Williams/Mercedes)
18) Mick Schumacher (Haas/Ferrari)
19) Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri/Honda)
20) Nikita Mazepin (Haas/Ferrari)