Max Verstappen held on to win a topsy-turvy F1 Dutch GP eventually as Fernando Alonso returned to the podium along with Pierre Gasly.
It was going to be a dry start to F1 Dutch GP at Zandvoort but it started to rain on the formation lap. Everyone completed the first lap on the slick tyres but the likes of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and few others pitted for intermediate.
It was Red Bull’s Max Verstappen leading F1 Dutch GP in rain conditions from McLaren’s Lando Norris and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, where the Spaniard jumped Mercedes’ George Russell and Williams’ Alexander Albon to be third.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was sixth from McLaren’s Oscar Piastri, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez in the Top 10. There was delayed stops and chaos which changed the order as Perez took the lead from Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu after pit stop.
Verstappen climbed up to third after his late stop from Alpine’s Pierre Gasly with Leclerc in fifth from Alonso, Sainz, AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon in the Top 10. The weather eventually cleared few laps on.
By the time they switched to the dry compound, it was Verstappen in the F1 Dutch GP lead from Perez where he did the undercut on the Mexican, as Alonso was up to third from Gasly, Zhou, Sainz, Magnussen, Piastri, Tsunoda and Ocon in the Top 10.
Leclerc lost out in the pits after he needed a front wing change due to Lap 1 tap against McLaren. Sainz, meanwhile, passed Zhou for fifth and pressed on Gasly who was handed a 5s time penalty for speeding in the pitlane.
Behind them, Ocon cleared Tsunoda for eighth but Albon passed both of them to be eighth without a stop since the start. The Japanese was down to 10th from Norris, Leclerc and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. The field was eventually bunched up by the safety car.
Williams’ Logan Sargeant who also did not stop for intermediate rode a kerb and went straight into the barriers. It was Verstappen in the lead of F1 Dutch GP from Perez, Alonso, Gasly, Sainz, Guanyu, Magnussen, Albon, Ocon and Tsunoda in the Top 10.
It was status quo at the front but Albon was the driver on the charge after he jumped up to sixth along with Ocon was up to seventh from Guanyu with Tsunoda and Norris in the Top 10 from Hamilton, Piastri who all passed a struggling Magnussen.
In the struggle list was Leclerc who dropped to 15th behind Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg. There was a black and white flag for Tsunoda and Magnussen where the Japanese was showed for forcing Ocon off, while the Dane was shown for moving under braking when defending Albon.
It settled down in dry conditions with final set of pit stops coming through. There was a retirement for Leclerc after his Lap 1 tangle with Piastri. It was Verstappen still in lead from Perez as Sainz jumped Alonso after a slow stop from Aston Martin.
It took couple of laps and Alonso made it stick at Turn 1 to take third back. Gasly served his penalty to be fifth but there was a big fight for sixth behind. Russell was up to sixth on the hard compound but while passing Tsunoda, there was contact made.
This allowed Albon to clear Tsunoda along with Ocon, Norris and Hamilton in the Top 10 with Tsunoda dropping to 11th after the Japanese elected not to stop for the final time. Albon passes Russell for sixth, while Hamilton cleared Norris for ninth.
At the time when Gasly hurried Sainz for fourth, there was rain in the air with about 14 laps to go. He passed him for fourth as Hamilton cleared teammate Russell for seventh. But it all went for a toss when rain arrived with about 10 laps to go.
Perez pitted first along with few others with Verstappen retaining lead despite a stop after a lap. The Mexican had an off at Turn 1 along with many others in treacherous conditions when Guanyu slammed onto the barrier to cause a VSC which turned into a red flag.
Both the Red Bull cars pitted for full wets when the red flag was waved with Verstappen leading Alonso, Gasly, Sainz, Hamilton, Perez, Norris, Russell, Albon and Piastri in the Top 10. Ocon was on the full wets but was livid with the decision when red flag arrived.
The re-start order was set from a lap earlier which helped Perez to be back in third. The Mexican’s barrier touch cost him some damage at the rear of his car. Replays showed him hitting the pit wall when arriving in the pitlane for his change to the wet compound.
The mechanics were allowed to fix the damages under red flag. The starting order was set on the lap before where it was Verstappen from Alonso, Perez, Gasly, Sainz, Hamilton, Norris, Russell, Albon and Piastri in the Top 10.
Post red flag –
With the rain stopped, it was rolling start to re-start the F1 Dutch GP proceedings. The safety car was out there for two laps in slippery conditions and as it went in, it was Verstappen leading Alonso, Perez, Gasly and Sainz in the Top 5.
Russell tried a move on Norris for seventh and made it stick but the Brit came back at Turn 11 and they made contact for the Mercedes driver to lose his front wing and pit. Perez was handed a 5s time penalty for speeding in pitlane, giving Gasly a chance.
Verstappen had it under control to win the F1 Dutch GP from Alonso who held off Perez for second, with the Mexican losing third to Gasly due to his penalty. The Dutchman equalled Sebastian Vettel’s record of nine consecutive race wins.
Perez was fourth from Sainz who kept a charging Hamilton at bay with Norris in seventh. Albon was eighth from Piastri and Ocon in the Top 10. Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll missed out on points in 11th from Hulkenberg with AlphaTauri’s Liam Lawson in 13th on debut.
Magnussen was 14th with Bottas 15th after last lap off dropped Tsunoda to 16th while Russell re-joined with a new front wing to be 17th. DNF: Guanyu, Leclerc, Sargeant.
UPDATE: Apart from the pitlane speeding penalties to Gasly and Perez, the FIA stewards handed out penalties to Lawson, Tsunoda and Magnussen as well. The Kiwi was handed a 10s time penalty during the grand prix as the team put his equipment in the transition lane which eventually impeded Magnussen during the pit stop.
The Japanese was handed a 5s time penalty for his collision with Russell, while the Dane was handed a 5s penalty after it was found that post the red flag re-start, he dropped as far as 260-270m behind which was more than the required 10 car lengths behind the safety car.