Verstappen retakes championship lead from Hamilton following win at Dutch GP

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Max Verstappen moved back into the lead of the Formula One championship by beating Lewis Hamilton at the Dutch Grand Prix. 

Verstappen held the lead from pole position at the start and dictated the race from that point on. His win prompted wild celebrations at Zandvoort, hosting the first Dutch Grand Prix since 1985. 

Verstappen draped himself in a Dutch flag and celebrated in front of the packed grandstands after the race. 

Hamilton finished second, but grabbed an extra point by setting the fastest lap of the race on the final lap. Verstappen now leads Hamilton in the championship by three points with nine races to spare. 

“Max did a great job, congratulations to him,” Hamilton said after the race. “I gave it absolutely everything today, flat out, I pushed as hard as I could, but they were just too quick for us. I’ve had an amazing time here in Holland, thanks to the crowd, thank you so much for having us.”

Valtteri Bottas finished a lonely third, having briefly been called upon to aid Hamilton. Bottas’ first stint was extended in the hope Bottas could delay Verstappen, but the Finn made a mistake on the penultimate corner and was unable to stop Verstappen passing him down the start-finish straight on lap 31.

[Formula 1: Max Verstappen wins rain-hit Belgian Grand Prix]

Bottas’ race also featured a bizarre moment in the closing stages. He was brought in for a third pit-stop, which was slow, but then told not to set a fastest lap despite being given a fresh set of tyres. 

Bottas set a fastest lap anyway. Mercedes was unable to spare any blushes in terms of the drivers’ championship by bringing Hamilton in for a fresh set of his own, which he was able to drive to a new fastest lap on the final attempt. 

In a race lacking any real drama, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly converted his magnificent qualifying performance into 4th on the grid, ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. 

Alpine’s Fernando Alonso caught Carlos Sainz on the final lap for an impressive sixth position. Sergio Perez fought back through the field to finish eighth ahead of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon. 

Lando Norris beat McLaren teammate Daniel Ricciardo to the final points paying position of the event. 

The event featured just two retirements. Nikita Mazepin — who nearly collided with teammate Mick Schumacher on the opening lap — retired with a hydraulics issue, while Yuki Tsunoda retired mid-race after suffering a loss of engine power. 

Source: ESPN