ax Verstappen took another huge step towards successfully retaining his Formula One world title after emerging victorious from a dramatic home Dutch Grand Prix on Sunday.
Roared on by his adoring Orange Army and more than 100,000 passionate fans packed into the grandstands at the Circuit Zandvoort, Red Bull’s dominant reigning champion triumphed for the 10th time this season – matching his number of wins from 2021 – in a fascinating tactical battle with Mercedes that ended up being heavily influenced by two safety cars.
George Russell matched his career-best with second place for the Silver Arrows, whose late decision-making cost Lewis Hamilton dearly and left the seven-time world champion apoplectic as he eventually finished fourth behind Charles Leclerc, having earlier had a serious chance of winning the race.
“That was the biggest f**k up,” lamented Hamilton over team radio after being left out on medium tyres – despite Russell pitting for softs – and quickly passed by Verstappen following a safety car that resulted from issues with Valtteri Bottas’ Alfa Romeo.
An earlier virtual safety car had also changed the complexion of an enthralling race after AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda parked up by the side of the track.
After later being passed by both team-mate Russell and Leclerc, a furious Hamilton snapped: “I can’t believe you guys, f****** f***** me. I can’t tell you how f***** I am.”
Verstappen’s imposing title lead now stands at 109 points with only seven races left this season heading to the Italian Grand Prix at Monza next weekend, Ferrari’s home race, with Leclerc now his closest challenger after overtaking Sergio Perez once more.
Perez was fifth for Red Bull in the Netherlands, with Alpine’s Fernando Alonso sixth and Lando Norris seventh for McLaren. Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, meanwhile, was forced to settle for eighth place after a disastrous early pit stop and late five-second time penalty for an unsafe release in the pit lane.
The top 10 was rounded off by Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Lance Stroll of Aston Martin.
More to follow