Verstappen wins wild F1 Dutch GP to equal Vettel’s record, Alonso and Gasly join him on the podium

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With rain predicted early into the race, 19 of the 20 drivers picked the soft tyre for the start, with seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton going for mediums.

Verstappen held off Norris into turn 1 but the rain started falling immediately. Alonso showed his skills and speed to move into 2nd by lap 2 by passing Norris, Russell and Albon.

Sergio Perez pitted for inters at the end of the opening lap and it proved to be a masterful call by the Mexican. With the rain streaming down, he carved through the field and took the lead. He would quickly build up a massive advantage over the field of over 10 seconds as well.

Ultimately most of the pack pitted for inters, including home hero Verstappen on the next lap. However, some stayed out on dries and lost seconds a lap, quickly falling over half a minute to 50 seconds behind the race leader.

Verstappen had dropped outside the top 10 briefly but got back into P4 after passing all the dry runners. He then cleared Gasly and Zhou to move into 2nd.

For Charles Leclerc and Yuki Tsunoda, it was a nightmare switch to inters as their tyres weren’t ready in chaotic circumstances. The Monegasque had also front wing damage from contact with Piastri on the opening lap.

On lap 5, Perez led Zhou, Verstappen, Gasly, Leclerc, Alonso, Sainz, Tsunoda, Magnussen and Ocon.

Debutant Liam Lawson ran in 11th, but he was handed a 10-second penalty for impeding Magnussen in the pits.

Mercedes got the call wrong with both drivers in regards to switching to inters. They left it too late and ended up down in P13 and P14.

As DRS got enabled on lap 11, the likes of Piastri and Albon started gaining massive time on the dry compound. Unfortunately for them, they lost so much time in the wet that it ruined their races.

Those times alerted the rest and they boxed for dry tyres this time. Verstappen got to pit a lap before Perez as Red Bull prioritised the Dutchman. It allowed him to undercut the Mexican and take the lead.

Alfa Romeo put mediums on Zhou Guanyu’s car and he dropped behind Alonso, Gasly and Sainz. A great call on inters and then the switch to dries allowed Kevin Magnussen to jump into P7.

Piastri had climbed back into the top 8 before boxing once again on lap 15 for a fresh set of soft tyres.

There was a close moment between Yuki Tsunoda and Esteban Ocon heading into turn 1 as a late defensive move by the Japanese driver almost caused an accident. Nevertheless, Ocon got by. Albon followed him through and then passed the Frenchman on the next lap.

A Safety Car was on lap 16 as Logan Sargeant crashed for a second successive day as he got wide at turn 7 and crashed into the barriers.

After a mega first 15 laps to move up from P13 to P4, Pierre Gasly blotted his copybook by getting a 5-second penalty for speeding in the pits.

Behind the Safety Car, Verstappen led Perez, Alonso, Gasly, Sainz, Zhou, Magnussen, Albon, Ocon and Tsunoda.

Outside the top 10 saw some big names with Norris, Leclerc, Hamilton and Piastri filling positions 11-14. George Russell was in P17 and switched to hard tyres behind the Safety Car.

The Albon comeback continued from not pitting for inters continued as he took P7 from Magnussen on lap 23. A replay showed questionable movement under braking from the Dane the lap before.

Leclerc’s disastrous day continued as Hamilton and Piastri both cruised by on lap 26 as the Monegasque looked like he had absolutely no rear grip. It turned out he had floor damage.

More swaps took place in the battle for points as Albon overtook Zhou, with Ocon overtaking the Chinese driver and Magnussen in quick succession.

The freefall for the Haas continued as Tsunoda, Norris, Hamilton and Piastri relegated the Dane to P13 by lap 30.

Unfortunately for the Alfa Romeo of Zhou, he continued to fall backwards like Magnussen as Tsunoda, Norris, Hamilton and Piastri swept on by on four consecutive laps.

The order on lap 34 was Verstappen, Perez, Alonso, Gasly, Sainz, Albon, Ocon, Tsunoda, Norris and Hamilton.

Sadly for Leclerc, the damage to his Ferrari ultimately forced him to retire on lap 43.

Sainz kicked off a lot of stops as the battle for 4th to 10th got intense. The Spaniard easily undercut Gasly with the penalty to be served by the Frenchman. It got even better for the Ferrari driver as Alonso had a painfully slow stop on the left front of 8.9s.

A bizarre strategy call by not pitting from AlphaTauri left Tsunoda defenceless as Sainz, Alonso, Gasly, Russell, Albon, Ocon and Hamilton passed him as if it was taking candy from a baby. The Japanese driver was hit with a 5-second penalty for contact with Russell into turn 1.

Russell’s hard tyre strategy paid off as he moved himself up in P7 after all the stops.

In the battle for P3, Alonso quickly caught Sainz and used DRS to make a quality move into turn 1 on lap 51 to reclaim his rightful spot.

The order on lap 55 was Verstappen, Perez, Alonso, Sainz, Gasly, Russell, Albon, Ocon, Norris and Hamilton.

On lap 56, Albon took P6 from Russell into turn 1 as Hamilton did the same to Norris for 9th. The seven-time World Champion continued his charge as he overtook Ocon and Russell to move into P7.

The rain arrived once again and most of the grid pitted on lap 61 as Perez once again came in at the right time for inters. Verstappen, Alonso, Albon and Ocon (wets). Verstappen stayed ahead of Perez, Alonso, Gasly and Sainz. Albon dropped behind Hamilton, Norris and Russell.

However, even heavier rain came moments later and chaos ensued. Perez went straight on at turn 1 as the inters couldn’t handle the amount of rain falling. He gently clipped the barrier with the rear of his car. Alonso took P2 from the Mexican.

Moments later, Zhou Guanyu hit the barriers at turn 1 as he hit the wall at high speed after aquaplaining off the road. Luckily the Chinese driver was okay.

Initially a VSC was thrown but quickly got upgraded to a red flag as Tsunoda and Hamilton also went off at turn 1 but could continue. Perez pitted for wets as that upgrade was happening and clipped the wall on pit entry. He had to stop at the end of the pitlane as the red light appeared.

The Mexican was 6th on the TV graphics but due to the red flag rules, he moved back up to P3.

With the red flag thrown on lap 65 of 72, Verstappen, Alonso, Perez, Gasly, Sainz, Hamilton, Norris, Russell, Albon and Piastri was the top 10.

A rolling restart was confirmed when the race got going again behind the Safety Car. After two laps, the Safety Car came in and the race resumed with six laps to go.

There was an immediate move for P7 as Russell made the pass on Lando Norris was he took the low line out of turn 3 and got great traction to take the place through the sweepers.

At turn 11, Norris came back at Russell and there was a light touch between the pair in the middle of the corner. The Mercedes picked up a puncture.

There was more drama for Sergio Perez as he picked up a 5-second penalty for speeding in the pits.

Out front, Verstappen masterfully controlled things to take a ninth straight win and equal Sebastian Vettel’s record from 10 years ago. Since Zandvoort returned to the calendar in 2021, it’s 3 wins out of 3 for the Dutchman at his home event.

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool

A cracking drive from Fernando Alonso saw him take P2 and his seventh podium of 2023, with Pierre Gasly an outstanding 3rd because of Sergio Perez’s penalty. It’s the second podium of the season for Alpine after Ocon’s P3 in Monaco, and it’s the first time Gasly has been on the podium since Baku 2021.

Perez took P4 in the end, with Carlos Sainz fending off Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris to claim 5th.

Albon, Piastri and Ocon completed the top 10 in a truly dramatic Dutch Grand Prix.