Superb Verstappen thrills home crowd to win Netherlands GP
Orange flares were lit and feet were stamped as Verstappen turned to the crowd with a clenched fist after a clinical drive.AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly placed fourth ahead of Ferraris Charles Lecle rc and Alpine driver Fernando Alonso.Verstappen started from pole position for a season-leading seventh time, and sixth in the past seven races, courtesy of a brilliant qualifying session.Hamilton and Bottas were just behind.
Max Verstappen thrilled his home crowd by winning the Netherlands Grand Prix in style Sunday to reclaim the Formula One championship lead from Lewis Hamilton.
The Red Bull driver's leading seventh win of the season and 17th of his career moved him three points ahead of the defending champion, who finished second but softened the blow with a bonus point for fastest lap.
Verstappen's winning margin of 21 seconds over Hamilton was exaggerated because the British driver had to pit again to wrestle back the bonus point from Bottas. A rare blip by Mercedes saw Bottas told to abort his bid for fastest lap, but it was too late and forced Hamilton to retrieve it.
A jubilant Verstappen grabbed a Dutch flag and lifted it high toward his adoring fans as they celebrated together. Verstappen's devoted home fans created a brilliant atmosphere during the race, turning the stands by the seaside town into an orange sea of bodies. Orange flares were lit and feet were stamped as Verstappen turned to the crowd with a clenched fist after a clinical drive.
Verstappen started from pole position for a season-leading seventh time, and sixth in the past seven races, courtesy of a brilliant qualifying session.
“Doesn't seem to be an advantage, (Red Bull) called our bluff,” a frustrated Hamilton said. “They're just so fast.” Hamilton disagreed with a team order on Lap 55 to preserve the tires rather than risk damaging them by chasing too hard.
“What, and don't race?” asked Hamilton, who got the go-ahead to continue.
Verstappen will look to carry his momentum into the Italian GP at Monza next weekend, where Hamilton again seeks a record-extending 100th win after being thwarted for three races since winning the British GP. AP BS BS
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