Red Bull's Max Verstappen sealed his 10th victory of the 2022 season as the Dutchman took the chequered flag in dramatic circumstances late on at his home race in Zandvoort to extend his lead in the Driver's Championship to 109 points.
Mercedes' George Russell came home to finish in second at the Dutch GP, with Charles Leclerc rounding off the podium for Ferrari in third. A furious Lewis Hamilton could only settle for fourth place after he felt a late strategy call by his team compromised his chances of challenging for a potential victory.
Verstappen started the race on pole position, ahead of Leclerc in second and Carlos Sainz in third.
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The Red Bull driver led into the first corner and remained out in front for the first period of the race. He also started the Grand Prix on a fresh set of soft tyres.
It soon became apparent that the level of degradation on that compound was far from ideal, which saw all of the front runners, apart from Hamilton and Russell, come in for a tire change in the first round of pit stops.
Both Mercedes cars started the race on a fresh set of mediums, and decided to gamble with a one-stop strategy.
Sainz, who was running in P3 at the start of the race, had his afternoon compromised at his pit stop after a slow tyre change cost him approximately 12 seconds, dropping him out of the running for a podium.
There was no such issue for his team-mate Leclerc, as he came in a lap later from P2 for mediums without any problems. Verstappen opted to pit from the lead on Lap 19 to fit a set of mediums, which saw him drop back to third on the track as both Mercedes drivers went long on their medium tyres. That saw Hamilton take the lead of the race, with Russell behind him in P2.
After a long stint, Hamilton eventually came in on Lap 30 for a set of harder compound tyres. Russell did the same a lap later, with the Mercedes pit wall instructing both of their drivers that they intended to stay on those tyres until the end of the race.
This posed a dilemma for Verstappen, who would need to pit again. To make matters worse for Red Bull, the Dutchman was not far enough ahead of Hamilton on track to come out ahead of him when he would eventually decide to pit.
However, everything changed on Lap 48, as a virtual safety car (VSC) was deployed. Yuki Tsunoda pulled his AlphaTauri to the side of the track with a technical issue, which forced him to retire.
Red Bull made the gamble and boxed Verstappen for a set of harder tyres under the VSC, which they thought they would finish the race on. Mercedes reacted to Red Bull's call by double-stacking and pitting both drivers on the same lap as Verstappen for medium tyres, as they looked to challenge for the victory with a faster tyre compound.
It was all change on Lap 57 though, as Valterri Bottas pulled his car to the side of the track on the main straight due to an engine failure in his Alfa Romeo. This triggered a full safety car, which Verstappen instantly took advantage and came in for a fresh set of softs.
Russell, who was running in P3, also made a last-minute call to change to the same tyre. Hamilton now led the race, and Mercedes decided to keep him on his scrub set of mediums which would eventually compromise him at the restart.
The safety car came in on Lap 61, and Verstappen instantly got past the Mercedes down the main straight with ease and Hamilton did not hold back on the team radio about the strategy call by the team.
Russell, on the quicker tyres, then got past his team-mate for P2, and Hamilton's afternoon was compounded further when Leclerc made the move on him down the start/finish straight to see his podium position snatched away. Verstappen held on to win the Grand Prix, finishing just over four seconds ahead of Russell, with Leclerc further behind in third.
Carlos Sainz, who finished in sixth on the track, was demoted back down to P8 after receiving a five-second time penalty for an unsafe release at a pit-stop. The win sees Verstappen take his fourth straight Formula 1 victory, with his lead in the Championship now looking unassailable.
DRIVER OF THE DAY - GEORGE RUSSELL
George Russell (Mercedes) - GP of Netherlands 2022
Image credit: Getty Images
Although Max Verstappen was voted as the driver of the day by F1 fans, we think Russell deserves this accolade for the amount of places he made up on track (4).
Starting in P6 after a less than ideal qualifying session, a podium looked a stretch at the start of the race. However, his pace throughout matched his team-mate, and the late call to change to softs for the final 11 laps helped him seal yet another solid podium finish.
WHERE THE RACE WAS WON AND LOST
LAP 1/72 - The five red lights go out here at Zandvoort, and we are underway! Verstappen leads into the banked Turn 1 after covering off Leclerc! Hamilton tries to get on the inside of Sainz into Turn 2, and it looks like there is the slightest of contact between the two!
LAP 15/72 - SLOW STOP! - Sainz is compromised badly at his pit stop after coming in to change to the mediums! The pit crew struggle to get the rear left tyre on and it means the Ferrari man is stationery for 12 seconds! It has cost him valuable time and possibly a podium. He comes back out in P2. Meanwhile, Perez, who was in the pit box behind Sainz, ran over a Ferrari wheel gun that was left in an odd position.
LAP 19/72 - VERSTAPPEN PITS - Verstappen pits from the lead, and fits a set of fresh medium tyres. Both Mercedes cars, who started on mediums themselves, stay out and take the top two positions on track. The Red Bull comes back out in P3.
LAP 30/72 - HAMILTON PITS - Hamilton opts to come in and fit the harder tyres. It seems that Mercedes are going for the one-stop strategy. He comes out in P5. over ten second ahead of Sainz.
LAP 32/72 - RUSSELL PITS - Russell is in the pits and also will go to the end of the race on a set of hard tyres. He comes back out in P5. It looks like Verstappen may have to overtake Hamilton on track to get the win here today as he will have to stop again. Hamilton is also lapping well on the harder tyres.
LAP 48/72 - VIRTUAL SAFETY CAR - We have a VSC! After Tsunoda gets back into the pits, the pit crew try and sort something in his cockpit before sending him back out. He then reports an issue with the rear and pulls over to the side of the track. It triggers a VSC, and this will shake things up at the front if they decide to pit - a pit stop will be around ten seconds less than normal in terms of time. Leclerc, having pit the previous lap, may lose out to both Mercedes cars.
LAP 50/72 - Verstappen comes in on Lap 48, and changes to a set of hard tyres. Instead of staying out, Hamilton comes in on the same lap to make the most of the virtual safety car and fit a set of medium tyres to try and challenge for the victory. Mercedes double stack, and Russell also goes for the same strategy.
LAP 57/72 - SAFETY CAR! - We have a safety car! There are double yellow flags in both sectors 1 and 3, as Bottas pulls over on the side of the track on the main straight! This changes everything here. Verstappen pits from the lead for the soft compound, but both Mercedes drivers stay out on the mediums!
LAP 58/72 - The safety car comes through the pits, and Russell opts to make a last minute call and change onto the soft tyres. Hamilton does not change his tyres. Meanwhile, Sainz could have an unsafe release, as he narrowly avoids a collision with Alonso in the pits. Hamilton remains out in front on the scrub mediums, and Russell is now in P3 with fresh softs. Verstappen is in 2nd.
LAP 61/72 - VERSTAPPEN RETAKES THE LEAD! - Hamilton opts to go before the last corner, and he immediately loses the lead of the race to Verstappen into the first corner down the main straight! That restart did not go to plan for the Mercedes driver!
LAP 62/72 - Verstappen has already pulled out a gap to Hamilton, and it is now his race to lose. Meanwhile, Russell is now closing in on his teammate! Hamilton will struggle to keep him behind on his tyres. Apparently, Hamilton has come on the radio to show his displeasure at the situation.
OVERTAKE OF THE DAY
LAP 37/72 - That is a key overtake in this race! Hamilton is all over Perez and eventually gets the job done and gets past the Red Bull into Turn 1! After some hard racing between the two, the Mercedes got the job done.
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