Max Verstappen won the Dutch Gran Prix, his home race at Zandvoort ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. He also re-took the lead of the drivers’ championship. The cheers from the crowd at the Zandvoort Circuit rivaled the roar of the engines as Max Verstappen took pole position. Hamilton pushed Verstappen to the limit, but he was at his best while relishing the return of Formula 1 to the Netherlands for the first time in 36 years.
Most of the 70,000 fans at the Zandvoort Circuit came to see their hero Verstappen he delivered for them. Valtteri Bottas finished in third place and all the drivers loved the glorious challenge presented by this circuit, located in the dunes on the edge of the North Sea. The race was like a cat and mouse affair, with overtaking being tricky but it proved compelling nonetheless.
Hamilton finished just under four-hundredths behind Verstappen’s fastest time of 1min 8.885sec, a mere whisker but it did not detract from his obvious enjoyment at driving at the Zandvoort Circuit, a distinctly old-school circuit. “What a track, it is absolutely incredible driving this track with the banked corners,” Hamilton said. “Today was one of the qualifying sessions I enjoyed most, qualifying here with a light car is phenomenal, it was so close at the end.”
“As you can hear, it’s incredible,” Verstappen said after securing his comfortable victory.
“Obviously the expectations were high going into the weekend and it’s never easy to fulfill that, but I’m just so happy to win here, to take the lead in the championship as well.
It’s just an amazing day. The whole crowd… it’s incredible.
Mercedes tried to make it difficult for us but we countered them all the time really well. We can be really pleased with the whole team performance today.”
Verstappen acknowledged what it meant to have such enormous support at his first home race. “It’s been incredible and driving at home with all these fans, they were going crazy every time I crossed the line,” he said. “To see so much orange and we are not even at the maximum capacity allowed, it’s an incredible atmosphere.”