Max takes home another win, literally: Your recap of the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix

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We are back this week with yet another F1 weekend recap: this time the Dutch Grand Prix.

After coming back from the four-week-long summer break, the drivers hit the tracks with confidence, with another exciting and action-filled race.

Three DNFs, multiple time-penalties, the safety car, an intense downpour of rain, and 72 laps in total, this race was nothing less than exhilarating.

The Circuit Zandvoort. Image credit: F1

Max Verstappen dominated his home circuit in Zandvoort, taking home his ninth consecutive win of the season.

After successful qualifiers, the starting grid was set as follows:

  1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
  2. Lando Norris (McLaren)
  3. George Russell (Mercedes)
  4. Alex Albon (Williams)
  5. Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin)

The race

As the race commenced, the drivers showed great reaction time in the front row. Verstappen takes the lead, keeping it close between himself and Norris.

The race was immediately met with a downpour of rain, which created a lot of quick-thinking and decision-making opportunities to proceed in the first few laps.

Fernando Alonso begins his offensive techniques, moving to P3. His clever move up two places showed no contact in the opening lap despite the rain.

As the rain kept pouring, the drivers had to keep their tyres warm and on the track. Thus leaving them with the need to pit for new tyres to adapt to the weather conditions and avoid losing time. Sergio Perez pits to change his tyres to intermediates, unlike some of the others.

It soon became clear that those, including Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri), and Kevin Magnussen (Haas), who changed into new tyres had an advantage over those who didn’t.

In the second lap, Alonso takes over yet another vehicle, past Lando Norris and into P2.

Despite being overtaken, Norris keeps his car on the track and moves into first position as Verstappen and Alonso stop to pit for new tyres. He leads for a short second as Russell pulls ahead of his car.

Image credit: F1

The car was flying today – very competitive, very easy to drive. In these conditions, you need a car that you can trust and I did try the car a lot today.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin

I think the first laps on the slicks were quite stressful. You don’t want to immediately go off the track. And also knowing how much grip there is still out there on the tyres, with the amount of water coming down, was not easy.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull

With the rain still pouring hard, Hamilton admits that he “should have come in, it’s very wet,” into his radio, but keeps driving.

After pitting, Perez is in another league with his new tyres, timing the race conditions to perfection as he takes first position.

In the sixth lap, Verstappen takes P3 after pitting and losing time on the clock. He then takes P2 on turn 3 past Zhou Guanyu (Alpha Romeo) making it a Red Bull 1,2 with Perez ahead with a lead of 10 seconds.

In lap 11, Guanyu pits, alongside Alonso, Tsunoda, and Sainz in the pit lanes. After pitting, Alonso gets past Guanyu, taking P5 right away.

The following lap, we see Verstappen chasing his ninth consecutive Grand Prix victory, with his slick tyres and grit.

In lap 16, Logan Sergeant hits the barriers exiting turn 8, losing control of his Williams and is forced to end his race time with a DNF. This prompted a safety car for the rest of the drivers. In lap 21, the safety car was removed and Verstappen had a great restart in the lead.

In lap 22, Pierre Gasly receives a five-second time penalty from the stewards for speeding in the pit lane.

Over ten laps later, Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri) passes Guanyu for eighth position. At the same time, with his new updated McLaren, Norris sweeps on the outside and moves to 10th position.

Midway through the race Leclerc is also forced to retire as he makes contact with the side of Oscar Piastri’s car (McLaren). He rushed to the pit lane for new tyres to continue the race but was found unsuccessful.

Instead of gliding through the field of drivers and making up time, he instead fell behind, losing 60 points of downforce. He retired the race as a result of the racing incident with McLaren on lap 41.

The Ferrari team changing Leclerc’s front wing and tyres; Image credit: F1

With 49 of the 72 laps completed, Alonso has a slow pit stop due to a front leg issue. This stop cost him 8.3 seconds of race time, and Sainz pushes through to P3 past Alonso. In the following three laps, Alonso takes an aggressive inside and reclaims third position, regardless of the long pit.

In lap 55, Hamilton and Norris attempt a pass at overtaking Tsunoda. With swift movements, Norris manages to pass the car and Hamilton takes the long way around the outside to take tenth position. Hamilton then manages to overtake Norris, passing once again on the outside of the car.

Russell and Albon battle for sixth position, with Albon driving around the side of his competition and taking the spot.

Later, Gasly improves his position, moving to P5 behind Perez.

Verstappen chooses to pit quickly, needing new tyres again because of the continuous rain. He maintains his lead as Alonso pits behind him.

A yellow flag is raised in sector one on the 63rd lap: Perez drives off the road due to the rainfall. Alonso takes this opportunity to move to P2, with the notion of another Safety Car potentially being called.

At just seven laps before the finish line, Guanyu crashes into the tech-pro near turn 1 with his teammate Valtteri Bottas doing the same just behind him. Yuki Tsunoda also fails to keep his Alpha Tauri on the road.

This prompted the use of the Virtual Safety Car, allowing Red Bull to pit for wet tyres.

The green flag racing conditions are back and the drivers are set to finish the race. Alonso tries to stay in second position by firing up his intermediate tyres, but still trails behind Verstappen.

At this point, Perez is only 3.8 seconds ahead of Gasly, which proves not enough. He would have to at least have a five-second lead to finish on the podium due to his time-penalty.

Alas Verstappen is the first driver in the circuit to cross the finish line.

Dutch Grand Prix results

Verstappen crosses the chequered line at lap 72, bringing him to a tie for the all-time record for consecutive wins in F1 history alongside Sebastian Vettel. This is win number 46 for the Dutchman.

This is also his third victory in the Circuit Zandvoort – a hat-trick that not many have accomplished.

Alonso finished in second position, and returns to his spot to the podium. Gasly takes home P3 and his first podium finish since 2021.

Image credit: F1

Verstappen again proved what an amazing driver he is and the wave of support from his fans today shows this. What an incredible feeling for him to win his home GP.

“Also today, they didn’t make it easy for us with the weather, to make all the time the right calls. I’m incredibly proud. I already had goosebumps when they were playing the national anthem before the start. Even with all the bad weather, the rain, the fans were still going at it, so an incredible atmosphere.”

Max Verstappen
Image credit: F1

Once the race had already terminated the FIA stewards handed out two more penalties to two drivers: Yuki Tsunoda and Kevin Magnussen. Tsunoda was at fault and received a five-second time penalty for causing a collision with Russell into Turn 1. Magnussen received a five-second time penalty for falling more than ten car-lengths behind the Safety Car in an attempt to ‘warm his tyres.’

Fernando Alonso was voted in as Salesforce driver of the day, with 20.9 per cent of the votes. This was a well-deserved win, with his excellent race performance and his chequered flag finish at just 3.7 seconds behind Verstappen. Albon was second with 14 per cent of the votes and Max in third with 10.9 per cent.

Image credit: F1

Alonso also completed the fastest lap of the track, at 1:13.837s and an average speed of 207.651. Alongside his podium finish, he gained an extra point for his lap.

Driver standings

Max Verstappen keeps his hefty lead ahead of the other drivers with a whopping 339 points. 
Sergio Perez follows behind with 201 points and Alonso with 168. With his podium finish and fastest lap, Alonso managed to wedge a gap with the following driver, who is now Lewis Hamilton with 156 points.

Image credit: F1

Only five drivers have a point total over 100, but the next race for Leclerc or Russell could change this.

What’s next?

With the potential for an F1 record for consecutive wins, fans are eager to see if the next race will be Verstappen’s.

The full results of the Dutch Grand Prix are on the official Formula 1 Website.

The next race is the Italian GP at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza on Sunday, September 3.

Featured Image Credits: Formula One

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Aspiring Journalist
Fourth-year Journalism Student and Sports Editor of BRIG Newspaper at Stirling University

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