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At Home in Holland: Max Verstappen Takes Dutch Grand Prix

Photo Credit: Sam Bloxham/LAT Images/Pirelli


Born in Belgium, Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen competes with the flag of the Netherlands just like his father Jos did throughout his grand prix career. Enthusiasm behind the success of the Dutch pilot for Red Bull Racing played an extra part in an aggressive push to bring back the top open wheel racing to Holland’s Circuit Zandvoort. Awarded a date on the Formula 1 calendar last year but cancelled due to COVID-19 health pandemic, the 2021 season would finally welcome the return of the Dutch Grand Prix set to attract a race-day audience of 70,000 with a majority of support going to the driver of the #33 Red Bull Racing machine. Saturday’s qualifying for the event generated the result many native fans were hoping for as Max Verstappen topped the session with a 1-minute, 8.885-second lap time securing pole by a very tight 0.038-second margin over the Lewis Hamilton’s #44 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team car.

Formula 1's last race at the Circuit Zandvoort occurred prior to the birth of all but three drivers entered in the 2021 event. The modern revival of the Dutch Grand Prix was held on a 4.259-kilometer (2.646-mile) race course featuring a combination of turn types including turn 3 and turn 14 that incorporates 19 degrees of banking. On a track generating considerable g forces for drivers and their cars to endure over 72 laps, 20 drivers prepared for had the makings to be a difficult to predict race with the two leading title contenders on the front row. Among the competitors this weekend was Polish driver Robert Kubica who stepped into one of the Alfa Romeo Racing entries substituting Kimi Raikkonen sidelined after the weekend’s third practice after a positive COVID-19 test. The grand prix was the first race for 2008 Canadian Grand Prix winner’s first race in the sport since the end of the 2019 season.

Photo Credit: Zak Mauger/LAT Images/Pirelli

A relief to the entire Formula 1 world following the drastically rain-shortened Belgian Grand Prix that amounted to mostly a several-lap parade, the lights went out to start the 2021 Dutch Grand Prix on a dry track. Max Verstappen surged forward with the aid of his prime starting position. While there was some contact between cars in the opening laps, none of the contact was severe and the laps continued to tick away until the first round of pit stops. Running second, Lewis Hamilton was the first of the front runners to pit at the end of lap 20. Verstappen took his #33 car to the attention of his pit crew one lap later surrendering the lead of the race to the second Mercedes-AMG machine driven by Valtteri Bottas. On new tires, Verstappen and Hamilton reeled-in the #77 car with the Red Bull Racing machine looking for a way past. The Dutch driver was roughly 0.6 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton on lap 30 as he was eventually able to pass the Finnish Mercedes-AMG pilot. Losing the lead and dropping another position to his teammate, Bottas pitted at lap 31. Several laps after making his tire stop, Valtteri Bottas reacted quickly to miss the #5 Aston Martin Racing car of Sebastian Vettel who spun out at turn three.

Building a gap on Lewis Hamilton following a second round of pit stops, Max Verstappen and his #33 Red Bull Racing car cruised to a victory in his home country’s grand prix. Crossing the line 20.9 seconds ahead of the second place runner, the win in the Dutch Grand Prix also allowed Verstappen to recapture the lead in the Formula 1 Drivers’ Points standings with a 3-point gap heading to Monza for the Italian Grand Prix.

Though the finish did cost Lewis Hamilton in the World Drivers’ Championship Points standings, the race result for his team was a net positive. With Hamilton claiming 19 points (second place plus the extra point for the fastest lap) and Valtteri Bottas taking 15 points after driving one of his better races of the 2021 season so far, Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team lengthens its gap on Red Bull Racing to 12 points.

Photo Credit: Jiri Krenek for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Using a single-stop strategy for the afternoon, Scuderia AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly raced to a solid fourth place effort elevating himself to eighth in the drivers’ points standings. The Dutch Grand Prix was also a productive event for Scuderia Ferrari who took third place in the constructors’ standings from McLaren as Charles Leclerc finished fifth and Carlos Sainz Jr. crossed the line at the Circuit Zandvoort in seventh. Spain’s Fernando Alonso climbed from ninth place to finish sixth but the biggest mover on Sunday was the Red Bull Racing car of Sergio Perez. Starting from pit road for changes to his car’s power unit, Perez salvaged eighth place in the Dutch Grand Prix. Esteban Ocon and Lando Norris rounded out the top 10 finishers of the first Formula 1 race in the Netherlands since 1985.

The third race weekend in a row for Formula 1 in the 2021 season, the Italian Grand Prix is scheduled for a September 12th race.

2021 Formula 1 Season
Dutch Grand Prix
Race Results
Pos # Car # Driver Team Engine
1 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda
2 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
3 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
4 10 Pierre Gasly Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
5 16 Charles Leclerc Scuderia Misson Winnow Ferrari Ferrari
6 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine F1 Team Renault
7 55 Carlos Sainz Jr Scuderia Misson Winnow Ferrari Ferrari
8 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing Honda
9 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine F1 Team Renault
10 4 Lando Norris McLaren F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
11 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
12 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
13 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
14 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari
15 88 Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari
16 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams Racing Mercedes-Benz
17 63 George Russell Williams Racing Mercedes-Benz
18 47 Mick Schumacher Uralkali Haas F1 Team Ferrari
19 22 Yuki Tsunoda Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
20 9 Nikita Mazepin Uralkali Haas F1 Team Ferrari
2021 Formula 1 Drivers' World Championship Points (After Belgian Grand Prix)
Driver Total Points
1 Lewis Hamilton 224.5
2 Max Verstappen 221.5
3 Valtteri Bottas 123
4 Lando Norris 114
5 Sergio Perez 108
6 Charles Leclerc 92
7 Carlos Sainz Jr 89.5
8 Pierre Gasly 66
9 Daniel Ricciardo 56
10 Fernando Alonso 46
11 Esteban Ocon 44
12 Sebastian Vettel 35
13 Lance Stroll 18
14 Yuki Tsunoda 18
15 George Russell 13
16 Nicholas Latifi 7
17 Kimi Raikkonen 2
18 Antonio Giovinazzi 1
19 Mick Schumacher 0
20 Nikita Mazepin 0
21 Robert Kubica 0
2021 Formula 1 Contructors' Points (After Belgian Grand Prix)
Constructor Engine Total Points
1 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes-Benz 344.5
2 Red Bull Racing Honda 332.5
3 Scuderia Misson Winnow Ferrari Ferrari 181.5
4 McLaren F1 Team Mercedes-Benz 170
5 Alpine F1 Team Renault 90
6 Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda 84
7 Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team Mercedes-Benz 53
8 Williams Racing Mercedes-Benz 20
9 Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 3
10 Uralkali Haas F1 Team Ferrari 0


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