Verstappen took the lead from get go, with Norris getting a decent start and maintaining the second spot. Meanwhile veteran Fernando Alonso was quick to gain two positions after overtaking Russell and Albon, moving to P3. With rain pouring down, Sergio Perez was the first one to gamble and enter the pits for Intermediates, and the move resulted in the entire back of the grid pitting on Lap 1 itself.
By Lap 3, Checo’s gamble paid off, and he went on take provisional pole, meanwhile drivers on the dry tyres fell down the order and moving into the pits to switch to Intermediates. Verstappen’s pace helped him move on to the second position a few laps later. The 10+ second gap between the two Red Bull drivers quickly came down, as Leclerc’s front wing damage resulted in Ferrari asking him to let teammate Sainz pass.
With the track now drying up, drivers started moving on to Softs, and by Lap 13, Verstappen managed to take the lead from Perez again with the latter making the pit stop a lap later. “I was forecast for a podium. ****, how did we mess it up?” Russell was heard talking on the radio, currently sitting 15 positions lower than the starting position.
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After starting the race from P10, Logan Sargeant’s Williams ended up in the wall on Lap 16, and the Safety Car was called out for a few laps. After the race resume, Verstappen was still head, and started increasing his lead from his Red Bull partner.
Take a look at all the point scorers at the 2023 F1 Dutch Grand Prix –
1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
2. Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin)
3. Pierre Gasly (Alpine)
4. Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)
6. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
7. Lando Norris (McLaren)
8. Alex Albon (Williams)
9. Oscar Piastri (McLaren)
10. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
Sargeant was not the only driver who retired though, with Ferrari deciding to retire Leclerc’s car with floor damage after coming in contact with Piastri in the rain at the start of the race that also caused front wing damage. On the front of the grid, Alonso had moved up to P2, however, a slow pit stop cost him dearly, coming out behind Yuki Tsunoda on fifth. The Aston Martin’s pace though helped him climb up to P3 quickly.
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With about 10 laps left to go, the rain came pouring down again, and the remaining 18 drivers rushed into pits to switch to Intermediates again. However, Intermediates were clearly not enough since it was raining cats and dogs, and a few drivers went out of the track on to the escape road on Turn 1. Unfortunately, Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo went into the wall, ending his race. Red flags were shown, halting the race.
The restart was done behind the safety car, and we soon saw Russell’s weekend come to an end after coming into contact with a McLaren. Meanwhile the last lap saw a proper dog fight between Sainz and Hamilton for the fifth spot. In the end, it was Max Verstappen who equalled the record of nine consecutive F1 Grand Prix wins, held by Sebastian Vettel.
Sergio Perez’s 5-second penalty saw Pierre Gasly move up to P3 and score his first podium of the season, while Fernando Alonso rejoined the podium for the first time after the Canadian GP.
How long do you think will it be before some other driver wins a Grand Prix race this season apart from Max Verstappen? Let us know in the comments down below. Stay tuned to TOI Auto for all updates on the 2023 Formula One season including Qualifying, Sprint and Race reports.