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Hamilton furious with Mercedes as Verstappen clinches home victory

Hamilton furious with Mercedes as Verstappen clinches home victory

Hamilton furious with Mercedes as Verstappen clinches home victory

Hamilton furious with Mercedes as Verstappen clinches home victory

Max Verstappen overcame a tough challenge from Mercedes to clinch victory at the Dutch Grand Prix but Lewis Hamilton was left furious with the Silver Arrows' strategy team.

Hamilton had been in the lead at a safety car restart with 12 laps to go with George Russell in second.

But with the Mercedes allowing Russell a chance to pit for soft tyres for the run-in, Hamilton was left a sitting duck, losing out to Verstappen, his team-mate and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc to miss out on the podium.

With both finishing, Leclerc beat Sainz on the road for the first time since Miami after his team-mate endured a miserable race. Despite recovering to fifth, a penalty for an unsafe release would take away his position.

But the day belonged to Verstappen, who clinched his second successive victory in front of his adoring home crowd.

The Red Bull driver held off Leclerc's advances at the start before pulling into a comfortable lead on his new set of soft tyres whilst behind, with Hamilton narrowly avoiding race-damaging contact with Sainz at turn one.

The opening stint settled into a Iull around the sweeping Zandvoort layout, with Verstappen entering the top 10 in F1's list for all-time laps led and Red Bull surpassing the 5000 laps led mark.

Sainz and Perez pulled the early trigger with a pit stop each on lap 14, with a slow stop hurting the Spaniard's race and dropping him from third to sixth.

Leclerc had no such issue when he stopped three laps later and neither did Verstappen but when both drivers returned to the circuit, the two Mercedes drivers were in a one-two position for the first time this season.

Ferrari find new woe

If Ferrari had seemingly found every way to throw away track position and points this season, the Scuderia discovered a new direction with Sainz.

The Spaniard was called into the pits from third on the road but when arriving at his pit box, no tyres were present for the rear of his car.

That left him stationary for 12.7 seconds, costing him three positions in the pecking order.

In the chaos, a tyre gun was left in the way of Perez, who ran over the equipment when exiting his own stop. With the incident to be investigated after the race, Ferrari will likely be in for financial punishment.

Mattia Binotto labelled the situation as "a mess", with a post-mortem no doubt to come at Maranello.

Bizzare Tsunoda hurts Hamilton charge

Verstappen was forced to overtake Russell, who hadn't stopped at the time, on the circuit but Hamilton stopped on lap 29 to deny an on-track battle between last season's bitter rivals.

Russell took another two laps before making his switch to hards, and on the white-walled tyres, both W13s displayed supreme pace.

Hamilton had worked his way into Verstappen's pit window despite losing three seconds as Sebastian Vettel blocked him when emerging from the pits - earning a five-second penalty - and seemed to have set up a grandstand finish once the home hero had made his expected second stop.

But on lap 45, AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda pulled to the side of the track with a suspected loose wheel following a pit stop.

After some time stationary, and after loosening his belts in preparation to retire, the Japanese driver was informed the wheels were fine and that he could continue.

Tsunoda taxied around the circuit at a slow pace, re-entered the pits and after his belts were fastened and tyres changed again, emerged back on the circuit.

Yet four corners later, the AT03 pulled to the side of the track again, triggering a virtual safety car.

Verstappen pitted for fresh hards and Mercedes consolidated with mediums, rejoining in a comfortable second and third.

Bottas adds late drama

When the race seemed settled for the run-in, Valtteri Bottas' Alfa Romeo ground to a halt at the inside of turn one.

Sainz landed himself at the mercy of the FIA stewards with an overtaking move on Ocon with the Finn stranded. Ironically, an unsafe release in front of the Frenchman's team-mate Fernando Alonso would give the Ferrari driver a five-second penalty.

With the safety car deployed, Verstappen pitted for soft tyres to attack at the end of the race but conceded position to Hamilton and Russell.

A lap later, Russell also switched to softs, splitting Mercedes' chances for the rest of the race.

The neutralisation ended with 12 laps remaining and Verstappen made the most of Red Bull's superior straight-line speed to make the move even before the first corner.

Sainz made his way around Perez at the first opportunity to take fifth though his earlier wrongdoings cost him position.

Russell had so much speed on the softs that he made his way through, almost colliding down the front straight.

Hamilton further tumbled as Leclerc made his way onto the podium, the seven-time champion launching into an expletive-laden rant on team radio.

Sainz was forced to hold off Perez in his attempts to hold onto a points finish but pushed the Mexican off track at turn one.

Perez finished ahead of Alonso, who made the most of smart strategy from Alpine, and Lando Norris, who was on course for a top-six finish before the safety car interventions scuppered his own tyre tactics.

Esteban Ocon capped a fine day for Alpine in ninth, just behind Sainz after the penalty was applied to the Ferrari driver.

Lance Stroll continued his strong weekend with a point in 10th after making two places on lap one with a stunning start.

Pierre Gasly finished 11th for AlphaTauri ahead of Alex Albon's Williams. Mick Schumacher dropped out of points contention through no fault of his own after two slow pit stops, although a battle with Vettel proved he has the racecraft to stay in F1.

Vettel would overcome his penalty to finish 14th with the second Haas of Kevin Magnussen trailing - the Dane lucky to finish after hitting the barriers on lap two.

Zhou Guanyu looked racy but had too much to do to advance through the field, whilst Daniel Ricciardo's lacklustre weekend ended in 17th.

Nicholas Latifi rounded out the field.

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