Formula One title leader Max Verstappen won the Dutch Grand Prix on Sunday in front of 100,000 adoring spectators. He made four straight wins for the first time in his F1 career.
Max Verstappen wins 2022
Max Verstappen’s tenth victory mirrored his previous year’s total, as the Red Bull driver extended his championship led to 109 points.
With seven races remaining, a second consecutive title looks increasingly plausible as his rivals — Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and teammate Sergio Perez, who are tied for second — continue to slip farther down.
Because of a gearbox trouble in Friday’s first practice session, his second straight triumph and 30th career win was even more spectacular.
Mercedes’ George Russell finished second, ahead of Leclerc, with Lewis Hamilton sliding from first to fourth.
When a safety car was deployed on Lap 56 of 72 following Valtteri Bottas’ Alfa Romeo’s engine failure, Max Verstappen appeared to be cruising to victory.
With 12 circuits remaining, Max Verstappen changed tyres and was behind Mercedes-driven leader Hamilton.
But Max Verstappen was driving on the faster soft tyres while Hamilton was on the slower medium tyres, leaving the British driver in a similar situation to when Verstappen defeated him for the championship at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix of the previous year.
Verstappen passed Hamilton immediately after his restart when Hamilton misread it, generating a loud cheer from the Orange Army. The Dutchman received an additional point for completing the lap the fastest.
“I had a good run in the restart, we had a bit more top speed and that helps to attack into Turn 1, from there onwards we had really good balance in the car again,” Max Verstappen told.
A furious Hamilton vented his frustrations on his crew, telling them over the radio with an expletive that he was upset that Russell had changed to new tyres beneath the safety car, but Hamilton had not.
Russell passed Hamilton and they nearly collided as Hamilton looked to brake suddenly. Hamilton lost all control of his anger and launched into another profanity-laced tirade.
On an already bad day for a Ferrari squad that was unable to eliminate the most elementary mistakes, it got worse when Leclerc passed Hamilton to go into third.
Hamilton collected himself and praised his mechanics.
Carlos Sainz Jr. began in third place, while Leclerc started from second. Sainz received a five-second time penalty for an unsafe release in the pit lane and crossed the finish line in eighth place. Sainz said he had to “hit the brakes” in order to avoid a McLaren technician in front of him.
In an odd season of events, Ferrari mishandled Sainz’s tyre change on Lap 15 earlier in the race, costing him 13 seconds.
Perez very just avoided rolling over the tire-changing gun that Ferrari had put on the ground.
The tightest margin this season was won by Verstappen on Saturday over Leclerc thanks to a fantastic closing lap in qualifying that was disrupted by a flare thrown into the circuit.
On Sunday, spectators crowded the stands and many of them wore Dutch flag colours. At the Zandvoort circuit, thousands of spectators rode bicycles to the track and left their bikes by the water.
Verstappen got off to a strong start and passed Leclerc, with Sainz fending off Hamilton outside.
On lap 18, Leclerc entered the race, and at least this time, Ferrari had prepared his tyres. Verstappen entered the race on the following lap as Red Bull followed the same strategy as Ferrari, while Mercedes stayed outside with Hamilton in the lead over Russell.
Verstappen passed Russell to the cheers of the Orange Army, and two circuits later, when Hamilton switched to hard tyres, he was in the lead.
When Yuki Tsunoda withdrew his AlphaTauri on Lap 47, a Virtual Safety Car (VSC) was deployed, making the race more competitive.
Tires were replaced by Verstappen and others. Leclerc dropped down to fourth at the restart after losing ground under the VSC.
The actual safety vehicle then emerged.
Verstappen then entered for a second time and left immediately behind Russell and Hamilton. Russell made the proper decision when he asked to come in for new tyres.
Fernando Alonso, who drove admirably to take his Alpine up from 13th on the grid, finished behind Perez in fifth place.
Sainz, Esteban Ocon (Alpine), and Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) were the next three finishers behind Lando Norris (McLaren), who came in seventh.
Next weekend at the Italian GP in Monza, Verstappen will try for his fifth straight victory in an effort to cheer on the team’s tifosi supporters.