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Verstappen Overcomes Wet-Weather Chaos To Make It A Hat-Trick Of Dutch GP Wins And Equal Vettel

Max Verstappen converted pole position into victory at the Dutch Grand Prix for the third year in a row, navigating an action-packed, rain-hit encounter to take the chequered flag ahead of Fernando Alonso and Pierre Gasly and draw level with Sebastian Vettel on nine successive F1 wins.

It all began with spits of rain before the start of the race that dramatically turned into a shower on the first lap, prompting split strategies up and down the order as Verstappen headed a pack of drivers who initially stayed out on slicks and team mate Perez led a group into the pits to take on intermediates.

What followed was a frenetic opening phase as those who made an early switch to intermediates rose to the fore, while those who stayed out longer on slicks lost a hatful of positions, prior to the rain easing off and the track gradually drying up.

With the Red Bulls running those aforementioned alternate strategies, it was Perez who led the way as the race settled down, while Verstappen had fallen back to fourth – behind Zhou Guanyu and Gasly – and had work to do to reclaim P1.

After managing to do so with much superior pace, Verstappen looked set for a clear run to the chequered flag and the win on a bone-dry track, only for further rain to work its way onto the radar and hit the track with force in the closing stages.

That led to another flurry of pit lane activity, and a red flag after Zhou crashed out, bringing a seven-lap dash to the flag when the action resumed and serving up one last test for reigning double world champion Verstappen to overcome.

Overcome it Verstappen did as he kept his cool at the slippery restart and managed the gap back to Alonso and Perez with aplomb, confirming his hard-fought triumph and equalling Vettel’s victory record that has stood since the 2013 season.

Alonso’s second-place finish marked his first podium since Canada more than two months ago, while Perez crossed the line in third but was hit with a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane, promoting a delighted Gasly – who had started 12th – to the rostrum.

Perez had to settle for fourth after his sanction, followed by the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz and Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, who were involved in a late, wheel-banging scrap, as Lando Norris, Alex Albon, Oscar Piastri and Esteban Ocon completed the points.

Lance Stroll just missed out on a top-10 finish in the other Aston Martin, followed by Nico Hulkenberg, F1 newcomer Liam Lawson and Kevin Magnussen – the AlphaTauri driver given a 10-second penalty for impeding the Dane in the pit lane.

That moment aside, it was a strong debut performance for the 21-year-old New Zealander, who otherwise stayed out of trouble and kept his car on the track, finishing three spots up on team mate Yuki Tsunoda, who took a five-second penalty of his own for causing a collision with George Russell.

Valtteri Bottas was the only Alfa Romeo to finish after Zhou’s crash, taking 15th from Tsunoda and Russell, the latter losing what would have been a points finish after contact with Norris during the final dash to the flag.

Joining Zhou on the sidelines were Charles Leclerc due to damage picked up on the first lap that ultimately proved too challenging to race on with, and Logan Sargeant, who followed up his qualifying crash with another heavy shunt.

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Photo's: Oracle Red Bull Racing


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