Max Verstappen wins crazy Dutch GP: 'Incredibly proud to win here'
Published on 27 August 2023 by Misha van der Kroon
Max Verstappen won the hectic Dutch Grand Prix. The Dutchman had a great start from pole position and kept the lead in front of his home crowd. But already in the first lap heavy rain started to fall down. On lap three, Max pitted for intermediate tyres, dropping back to P11. In no time he worked his way up to P2 again, behind his teammate Perez, who had already switched to intermediates. On lap twelve, the track was dry enough to switch back to slicks and after his stop, Max was ahead of Perez again. In the closing stage of the race the floodgates opened again. Cars slid off track due to some heavy downpour, and a red flag was waved. After a long break, the race was restarted. Max’s victory was no longer in danger. The Dutchman scored his third victory in Zandvoort, and also equaled Sebastian Vettel’s record of nine victories in a row. Fernando Alonso finished the Dutch GP in second place, and Pierre Gasly took P3.
After the race, an overjoyed Verstappen, cheered on by his home crowd, said: “I’m incredibly proud. I already had goosebumps when they were playing the national anthem before the start. And with all the bad weather and the rain, the fans were still going at it, such an incredible atmosphere. That’s amazing to see, and I’m incredibly proud to win here again.”
Max reviews the eventful race: “Today they didn’t make it easy for us with the weather. It was a great race, but we had to make the right calls every time. We didn’t know how much rain would fall. I took a chance to continue driving after the start. It didn’t work out well, but when we switched to the intermediate tyres, we were really fast. I had to drive fast to close the gap to Perez. It dried up so the team decided to box me earlier, otherwise the two cars behind could undercut us. Once we were back in the lead, we had everything under control.”
After nine wins in a row, the two-time World Champion can put another record on his name next week in Monza. But Max doesn’t want to dwell on that too much: “I’ll think about it next week. First I’m going to enjoy this weekend. It’s always tough, the pressure is on to perform. And I’m of course very happy to win here. It’s something I never thought I could, winning nine races in a row. I was already happy when winning three or four in a row, so this is something very special.”
The grandstands of Circuit Zandvoort have turned into a sea of orange, as Max Verstappen is going to try to equal Sebastian Vettel’s record of nine wins in a row. Dark clouds are hanging above the circuit that is located in the dunes, but it’s still dry at the start of the 72-lap race. All drivers start the race on the soft tyres, except for Lewis Hamilton, who starts the race from P13 on the medium compound. Liam Lawson will start his Formula 1 debut from the last spot on the grid. The 21-year-old New Zealander replaces the injured Daniel Ricciardo. Kevin Magnussen will start the race from the pit lane.
The lights go out, and Max has a great start, keeping the lead going into turn one. Lando Norris is in second place, followed by Fernando Alonso. Shortly after the start, the floodgates are opened and it starts to pour rain. Some drivers, including Sergio Perez, decide to pit after the first lap and switch to the intermediate tyres. Verstappen decides to stay out and pits on lap three. He returns to track in P11, but cuts through the field like a hot knife through butter and is already back in P4 on lap five. The early pitstop turned out great for Max’s teammate Sergio Perez, who is currently leading the race ahead of Zhou Guanyu and Pierre Gasly. However, Max quickly catches up with the three men in front and overtakes Gasly on lap 6 in turn three. Just one lap later, he repeats the same trick and passes Zhou. The gap between Max and raceleader Perez is thirteen seconds at that moment.
The track dries up quickly, and from lap nine the cars back in the field that are still on slicks are faster than the ones on the intermediates. Max is rapidly closing the gap to Perez, and the gap is only two seconds when Verstappen pits on lap 12 to switch back to the soft tyre. He keeps his second place when he rejoins the track. Sergio Perez pits one lap later, and rejoins after Max, putting the Dutchman back in the lead.
Logan Sargeant loses control of his car on lap sixteen and crashes into the barrier. The American hits the curbs at turn eight, and blasts backwards into the tyre barrier. His Williams is pretty damaged, but the American climbs out unharmed. The Safety Car is brought on track. On lap 22, the field is released again. Max has a good restart and remains in the lead, followed by Perez and Alonso.
After the restart, Max clocks one fastest lap after the other, and on lap 42 the gap to Perez is 7 seconds. At that moment, Ferrari tells Leclerc to return to the pits, and they retire the car. The Monegask suffered some damage to the floor at the start of the race, and has been driving around pointlessly in the back of the field. Perez makes his third pitstop on lap 46, and the team puts a fresh set of softs on his car. He rejoins the track in fourth place. On lap 50, Verstappen also pits for a third time to get a new set of softs. After a lightning fast pitstop of just 2,2 seconds, Max comes back on track in the lead, with Perez behind him in P2.
Alonso had a slow stop, giving Sainz in the remaining Ferrari an opportunity to take P3. However, on the new tyres Alonso is significantly faster than Sainz, and on lap 52 Alonso manages to overtake his compatriot with some help of DRS.
Dark clouds are gathering over the circuit again, and with just eleven laps to go, the first raindrops start to fall again. Perez dives into the pits to switch to intermediates, but the team didn’t have the tyres ready yet, so the Mexican has a slow stop. One lap later Verstappen also switches to the intermediates and keeps the lead of the race, followed by Perez and Alonso. The entire field switches to the intermediate tyres, except for Esteban Ocon, who opts for full wets. Perez goes straight in the first corner and slightly hits the barrier with the rear of his car. Alonso climbs to P2, while Perez comes back on the track in third, just ahead of Gasly. Rain is now pouring down onto the circuit, and Zhou Guanyu slides hard straight into the tyre barrier at the end of the Tarzan corner. The Chinese driver climbs out of his car unscathed. Max dives into the pits to switch to the full wets, but Race Control has seen enough and decides to wave the red flag because of the heavy rain.
After a break of more than 40 minutes, the race is restarted and the intermediate tyre is mandatory. Two laps are driven behind the Safety Car and with just five laps to go, a rolling start kicks off the final stage of the race in Zandvoort. Max keeps the lead, followed by Alonso and Perez. The Mexican driver however receives a five-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane at his last pitstop.
Nothing changes at the front of the field, and Max Verstappen wins the Dutch Grand Prix for the third year in a row, in front of an ecstatic home crowd. With this win, Max equals the record of nine consecutive wins which was set by Sebastian Vettel back in 2013.
Fernando Alonso finishes the Dutch Grand Prix in second, and despite Perez crossing the finish line in third, his five-second penalty drops him back to P4 behind Pierre Gasly, who takes his first podium since Baku 2021. Carlos Sainz finishes fifth, followed by Lewis Hamilton in P6. Lando Norris, Alexander Albon, Oscar Piastri and Esteban Ocon complete the top ten. Lawson finishes his debut race in a fine thirteenth place, ahead of teammate Tsunoda.
|1||Max Verstappen||VER||Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT||72||2:24:04.411||25|
|2||Fernando Alonso||ALO||Aston Martin Mercedes||72||+3.744s||19|
|3||Pierre Gasly||GAS||Alpine Renault||72||+7.058s||15|
|4||Sergio Perez||PER||Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT||72||+10.068s||12|
|7||Lando Norris||NOR||McLaren Mercedes||72||+13.232s||6|
|8||Alexander Albon||ALB||Williams Mercedes||72||+15.155s||4|
|9||Oscar Piastri||PIA||McLaren Mercedes||72||+16.580s||2|
|10||Esteban Ocon||OCO||Alpine Renault||72||+18.346s||1|
|11||Lance Stroll||STR||Aston Martin Mercedes||72||+20.087s||0|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||HUL||Haas Ferrari||72||+20.840s||0|
|13||Liam Lawson||LAW||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT||72||+26.147s||0|
|14||Kevin Magnussen||MAG||Haas Ferrari||72||+26.410s||0|
|15||Valtteri Bottas||BOT||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||72||+27.388s||0|
|16||Yuki Tsunoda||TSU||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT||72||+29.893s||0|
|0||Zhou Guanyu||ZHO||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||62||DNF||0|
|0||Logan Sargeant||SAR||Williams Mercedes||14||DNF||0|