- Lewis Hamilton said Max Verstappen was ‘on another level’ as the Red Bull driver won the Dutch GP.
- Verstappen became the first Dutchman in history to win his home grand prix with a dominant victory.
- He overtook Hamilton in the World Drivers’ Championship standings and leads by three points.
Formula One’s tightest title race in years took another twist as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen wrestled back the drivers standings lead with victory Sunday at the Dutch Grand Prix.
The sport returned to the Zandvoort circuit for the first time since 1985 and it was welcomed to the track by 70,000 boisterous fans.
The stands, not too far from the beach and the North Sea, were bathed in Dutch orange with almost all of the spectators there to support one man and he did not disappoint.
Verstappen, having earned the pole position during Saturday’s qualifying, led from the start and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton was unable to ever mount a serious challenge for the race lead.
The Brit started the day with a three-point lead in the drivers standings but now finds himself three points behind and said Verstappen was “faultless.”
“I was just trying to keep as close as possible but I tell you, he was fast today.
“They were on another level that I generally couldn’t answer really in most of those laps,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1 afterwards.
The seven-time world champion also said his team’s pit stops and strategy needed to be “perfect” but admitted they fell short.
“They were definitely faster today, there was not a lot I could do to answer the lap times they were putting in.
“We needed everything to be perfect to even have the slightest chance of getting past him through strategy for example. Pit stops, strategy, and traffic needed to be on point but none of those three were ideal,” he said.
Verstappen’s team principal, Christian Horner, was also glowing in his support of not only his driver but the fans that came to see him.
“Max was remarkable this weekend. If you drive through the town to the circuit, every house has got Verstappen flags. There is so much support for him, and I have never seen a nation get behind a driver in this manner.
“From the moment we’ve arrived, the music has been going, the build-up, the intensity, and the one person who hasn’t felt it has been Max.
“He was focused on his own job, gone about his business in the same way as at other races and he almost seemed oblivious to what was happening on the other side of the fence, with the mayhem and partying that was ensuing.
“The noise on the grid, I’ve never heard anything like it,” he said, as reported by the BBC.
The Dutch Grand Prix was the second of a triple header with F1 now heading to Monza for the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday.