Verstappen Continues Dominance with Dutch GP Win
Max Verstappen (Red Bull) makes it three Dutch Grand Prix wins in a row after securing yet another win at Zandvoort in mixed weather conditions. The race began in dry conditions but that soon changed by lap 2 as the rain came pouring down. Multiple drivers opted to jump from slicks to intermediate tires which proved to be the dominant strategy. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) was one of the first to pit which ultimately handed him the lead position after the pit stops were completed.
Come lap 11 the track started to dry again triggering multiple drivers to pit again for their second stop to go back on slicks. In a seemingly odd turn of events Logan Sargeant (Williams) lost the rear as the track dried up crashing in turn 7 triggering a safety car. The race remained under a safety car until lap 21.
At the restart Verstappen and Perez pulled away ahead of Fernando Alonso in third place. The three held these positions for about 20 laps. Unfortunately Ferrari was forced to retire Charles Leclerc’s car on Lap 41. The car has suffered floor damage which we severely hindering the car’s performance. Verstappen and Perez continued to hold the top 2 positions in the race.
The Rain Returns and Intesifies
By Lap 60 reports of heavy rain were on the forecast. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) was on soft tires behind teammate George Russell (Mercedes) who was on hard tires. In an effort to make up as much time as possible before the race went wet again Mercedes made a team call to allow Hamilton to pass Russell. The call didn’t have a lasting effect because the rain only held out until the end of lap 60. In anticipation for the coming heavy rain all drivers had entered the pits for intermediate tires except for Esteban Ocon (Alpine). Ocon opted for the full wets. Initially Ocon was skeptical on the call to go on full wets but it ultimately proved to be the best choice as the rain intensified.
Perez suffered from a very poor pit stop but because he was one of the first to pit for intermediates he was able to make up the lost time in the pits to regain P2 while the other drivers were in the pits. Unfortunately, Perez had a spin out at turn 1 which saw him lose track position to Fernando Alonso. The race continued until on lap 64 Zhou Guanyu (Alpha Romeo) crashed triggering a Virtual Safety Car. The rain was very heavy at this point.
Verstappen was able to come in for full wets. Perez came in to follow suit but unfortunately before Perez could exit the pit lane the race was red flagged and Perez ended up losing 3 positions due to the timing of his stop. The strategy call was very questionable as a safety car or red flag was likely given the conditions.
The Race was Red Flagged
The race stewards decided that the race would be restarted. Because Perez was in third at the time of the red flag his decision to pit was no longer detrimental and he was able to reclaim the position on the restart. Conditions started to improve and the teams switched the cars to intermediate tires across the board for the restart.
The race was restarted with a rolling start procedure. The lap went green on lap 66. Verstappen put the pedal down and didn’t look back. By lap 67 Verstappen had already built a 1.3 second lead. Sergio Perez held third place but it was announced that Perez would be handed a 5 second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane. The call came very late but it effectively removed Perez’s chance at a podium.
Russell Suffers a Late Puncture, Perez Penalized
On lap 68 George Russell suffered from a puncture which dropped him to the back of the grid essentially ending his race. In the closing laps Pierre Gasly charged after Perez. Perez was not able to maintain a 5+ second delta and thus would lose the position due to his penalty. Pierre Gasly (Alpine) claimed P3 and Fernando Alonso held on to second place. Perez ultimately settled for P4 after his penalty was applied. Behind, Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) had a last lap scuffle but Sainz was able to hold his ground and keep P5.
Verstappen crossed the finish line for his 9th consecutive victory in 2023. Red Bull continued their streak having won every race this year. Verstappen extended his championship lead to 138 points ahead of teammate Sergio Perez.
Liam Lawson finishes P13 in his first Grand Prix appearance. Lawson finished ahead of teammate Yuki Tsunoda.
Full Dutch Grand Prix Race Results are Below
|Position||Driver||Car / Engine||Laps||Gap|
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda RBPT||72||–|
|2||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin/Mercedes||72||-3.744|
|4||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull/Honda RBPT||72||-10.068|
|5||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Ferrari||72||-12.541|
|11||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin/Mercedes||72||-20.087|
|13||Liam Lawson||AlphaTauri/Honda RBPT||72||-26.147|
|15||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||72||-27.388|
|16||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri/Honda RBPT||72||-29.893|
|DNF||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||62||–|