Verstappen fends off Hamilton challenge to clinch second Dutch Grand Prix win

·4-min read

Max Verstappen held off a spirited push from Lewis Hamilton to secure a second consecutive Dutch Grand Prix victory and extend his championship lead to 109 points.

The reigning Formula One champion edged out Charles Leclerc in qualifying to put himself in pole position ahead of Sunday's eventful race, where George Russell finished second and Charles Leclerc took third. Hamilton eventually faded to fourth.

AlphiTauri's Yuki Tsunoda and Alfa Romeo's Valtteri Bottas both stopped midway through the race, with Verstappen's pit stop after the second safety car allowing Hamilton to take the lead.

Yet Verstappen recovered and regained the lead by going past Hamilton down the main straight on lap 61 to claim a fourth consecutive victory and 10th of the season, his joint-best return in a single campaign after also hitting double figures last year.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen

The top five retained their positions during an eventful start where Hamilton and Carlos Sainz touched cars through turn one, while Haas' Kevin Magnussen slipped off the track and hit the barrier.

Verstappen continued to keep Leclerc at bay through the opening 10 laps, responding to the Ferrari driver's early signs of pace by pressing forward to move out of DRS range.

A problematic pit stop for Sainz in which no rear-left tyre appeared available saw the Ferrari drop from third to 11th on lap 15, with Hamilton displacing the Spaniard as Verstappen stretched his lead over Leclerc.

Sainz recovered into sixth as Verstappen pitted for the first time on lap 19, with Hamilton – still winless in 2022 – taking the lead as Mercedes ran a one-two with Russell in second.

Verstappen roared back before a pit stop for Hamilton, who then got the better of Sergio Perez as the Mexican aimed to protect his Red Bull team-mate's lead.

A virtual safety car deployed after issues for Tsunoda offered a glorious chance to pit on lap 48 for Verstappen, who led Hamilton by almost 16 seconds with 23 laps to go after the Mercedes driver pitted.

Verstappen squandered his advantage by pitting after another safety car deployment, but he recovered to surge back into the lead with 11 laps to go to race to victory.

Russell and Hamilton almost collided as the former looked to overtake into second, with the seven-time world champion slipping down to fourth after Leclerc eased past him.


MAX MATCHES BEST RETURN WITH ANOTHER ZANDVOORT WIN

Verstappen gave the Dutch supporters reason to cheer again as he claimed his 10th win in 15 outings in 2022, despite debates throughout with his Red Bull team over whether to go for medium or hard tyres.

That equalled his highest victory tally in a single year (also 10 in 2021), while he became the first driver since James Hunt in 1975 and 1976 to win back-to-back F1 races at Zandvoort.

'OH MY GOD' – FERRARI ISSUES CONTINUE

Sainz put in the hard yards on the opening corner to prevent Hamilton moving into third, but the Spaniard's team ended up gifting the Briton an opportunity due to a poor pit stop.

The Ferrari driver arrived for a changeover but was left stationary for almost 12 seconds with a tyre missing, and more problems followed when Perez followed in and ran over the tyre gun for Sainz's left rear as he left the pits.

"Oh my god," Sainz could be heard declaring over the team radio before Ferrari responded: "We are still on Plan A."

However, punishments may follow for Ferrari for leaving the wheel gun where they did.

IN THE POINTS

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
2. George Russell (Mercedes) +4.071 seconds
3. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +10.929
4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +13.016
5. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +18.168
6. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) +18.754
7. Lando Norris (McLaren) +19.306
8. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +20.916
9. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) +21.117
10. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) +22.459

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 310
2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 201
3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 201
4. George Russell (Mercedes) 188
5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) 175

Constructors

1. Red Bull 511
2. Ferrari 376
3. Mercedes 346
4. Alpine 125
5. McLaren 101