Max Verstappen joined elite company on Sunday as he is now one of 15 drivers to have won their home Grand Prix. He won it in thoroughly dominant fashion, with the Red Bull’s straight-line speed proving to be too high for Hamilton to even compete. Here’s how the race weekend panned out.
Going into qualifying it was clear to see that Max Verstappen was the favorite for pole, but the difference between Hamilton and him was staggering. Q1 ended with the prancing horses 1 and 2, a surprising result, however, Zandvoort was expected to favor the Ferrari car which was particularly good in tracks with many low speed corners. The biggest surprise was the fact that Sergio Perez, in the fastest car on the grid qualified 16th and did not even manage to make it out of Q1. Sebastian Vettel was also knocked out in Q1 as he was not given the opportunity to complete his ongoing flying lap as he was blocked by the Haas of Nikita Mazepin. Both Williams cars made it through with Nicholas Latifi in 5th!
Eliminated in Q1: Sergio Perez, Sebastian Vettel, Robert Kubica, Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin
Next up was Q2 which was marked with red flags. All the cars were able to put at least one timed lap on the board before George Russel spun and ended in the barriers after he pushed too hard to make it into the top 10. His teammate followed in his footsteps and repeated almost the exact same crash, with Latifi also ending in the barriers. The biggest loser in this exchange was the in-form Briton Lando Norris who was in 13th place and due to the crashes was not able to crack the top 10. Antonio Giovinnazi who is now racing for his seat for 2022 gave Alfa Romeo their first Q3 appearance this season with an amazing lap.
Eliminated in Q2: George Russel, Lance Stroll, Lando Norris, Nicholas Latifi, Yuki Tsunoda.
Then was the shootout for pole. Max Verstappen was at the front with almost the entire audience backing him. A sea of orange had come out to watch Verstappen at his home Grand Prix and they were not disappointed. Verstappen put on a show going quickest overall, despite a rear wing malfunction. Title rival Lewis Hamilton was not far behind at all, missing out on pole position by just 4 hundredths of a second. The two championship protagonists lined up alongside each other, and the last time that happened Max Verstappen ended in the barriers at a chaotic British Grand Prix. Valterri Bottas qualified third, with Pierre Gasly matching his career-best qualifying with a brilliant lap to take the second row. Ferrari locked out the third row with Charles Leclerc starting 5th and Carlos Sainz starting 6th. Antonio Giovinnazi gave Alfa Romeo a super result, qualifying 7th, alongside Esteban Ocon. Fernando Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo closed out the top 10, qualifying 9th and 10th respectively.
Race Day: Everything was set up for a super Sunday at Zandvoort with thousands of fans turning up to cheer home hero Max Verstappen on. Lewis Hamilton was determined not to let Max Verstappen run away with the championship and was ready to put up a fight. Mercedes had the advantage over Redbull as Mercedes second driver Bottas started 3rd whereas RedBull second driver Sergio Perez started plum last following an engine change which gave him a 5 place grid penalty. As the 5 lights went out Max Verstappen was in a league of his own. He blasted off the line, and kept Hamilton behind, creating a 1-second gap between them in the first lap alone. He kept this us for the entire race and held the Mercedes cars at arm’s length. Under the high pressure of the fans and everyone watching Max Verstappen passed this pressure test with flying colors and when he crossed the line the entire track erupted in ecstasy.
Sergio Perez charged through the field completing more overtakes than any other driver as he recovered from 20th to 8th. Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton were second best and will be hoping to recover with a race win at Monza. Lewis Hamilton got some consolation by getting the fastest lap in the last lap and got a much-needed extra world championship point. Fernando Alonso also recovered well, stealing 6th place from fellow Spaniard Carlos Sainz on the last lap. Ferrari got a strong haul of points with P5 and P7 whereas Mclaren struggled, getting only a single point via Lando Norris in P10. This strong haul of points propelled Ferrari to 3rd in the world championship standings, now 11 and a half points clear of Mclaren. It was also a strong performance from Alpine who got good points and will be hoping to carry this momentum into Monza.
The star of the show was undoubtedly Max Verstappen who put a smile on every dutchman’s face and also reclaimed the lead in the driver’s world championship. The championship fight is heating up with Max Verstappen gliding on the highs of winning his world championship and Lewis Hamilton looking for a way to get back on top.