Max Verstappen, Red Bull play right strategy to win Dutch GP and extend F1 points lead

Max Verstappen Dutch strategy
Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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ZANDVOORT, Netherlands — With pinpoint strategy calls, Formula One championship leader Max Verstappen made quick work of a safety car restart to win the Dutch Grand Prix on Sunday in front of 100,000 adoring fans, and make it four straight wins for the first time in his F1 career.

Verstappen’s 10th win matched his tally from last year and the Red Bull driver extended his championship lead to 109 points. With seven races left a second straight title is looking increasingly likely as his challengers – Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and teammate Sergio Perez in joint second – continue to fall further back.

George Russell finished second for Mercedes ahead of Leclerc, with Lewis Hamilton dropping from first to fourth.

Verstappen looked to be coasting to victory when a safety car came out on Lap 56 after the engine cut out on Valtteri Bottas’ Alfa Romeo.

Verstappen changed tires and was behind leader Hamilton’s Mercedes with 12 laps left.

But Hamilton was on a slower medium tire and Verstappen on the quicker softs left the British driver pretty much a sitting duck, much like when he lost the title to Verstappen at last year’s season-ending Abu Dhabi GP.

Hamilton misjudged his restart, and Verstappen overtook him straight away to bring a huge roar from the Orange Army. The Dutchman also took an extra point for the fastest lap.

An angry Hamilton took it out on his team, using an expletive on radio to tell them he wasn’t happy about not swapping for new tires under safety car, when Russell had.

Hamilton appeared to brake late when Russell overtook him and they nearly collided. Hamilton could no longer contain his rage and unleashed another expletive-laced rant.

It got worse as Leclerc overtook Hamilton to move into third on an otherwise poor day for a Ferrari team unable to cut out the most basic errors.

Leclerc started from second ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr. in third. Sainz crossed the line in eighth and got a five-second penalty for an unsafe release in the pitlane.

Earlier in the race, Ferrari botched Sainz’s tire change on Lap 15 – taking 13 seconds – in a season of bizarre incidents.

This time the tires were not even ready.

“Oh my God,” a stunned Sainz said.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III