Max Verstappen, the commanding leader in the Formula One standings, celebrated a victory in the rain-drenched Dutch Grand Prix on Sunday, matching Sebastian Vettel’s remarkable feat of securing nine consecutive wins. This triumph further bolstered his already substantial championship lead, which now stands at an impressive 138 points as he closes in on his third consecutive world championship title.
Verstappen, representing Red Bull, secured his third consecutive victory from the pole position at the Zandvoort circuit. Fernando Alonso, the veteran driver for Aston Martin, claimed the second spot and earned an additional point for clocking the fastest lap.
Verstappen expressed his joy at achieving nine consecutive wins, stating, “Nine in a row is something I never even thought about. Very happy with that. I know I have a car which is capable of a lot.”
He also acknowledged the incredible atmosphere, despite the challenging weather conditions, saying, “I already had goose bumps when they were playing the national anthem before the start. Even with all the bad weather and the rain, the fans were still going at it, an incredible atmosphere. I’m going to enjoy this. It’s always tough; the pressure is always on to perform.”
Pierre Gasly, driving for Alpine, initially finished fourth behind Red Bull’s Sergio Perez. However, Gasly was promoted to third place after Perez received a five-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane. This marked Gasly’s fourth career podium.
The race was marked by its chaos and was halted for 40 minutes due to a late red flag caused by Zhou Guanyu’s crash. It resumed with a rolling start on Lap 65 out of 72, featuring multiple tire changes as the ever-changing weather conditions added complexity to the race.
Max Verstappen comfortably extended his lead after the race restart, finishing with his 11th victory in what has been a dominant season. Sebastian Vettel previously set the record for consecutive wins in 2013 with Red Bull, and Verstappen’s victory marked a record-extending 14th consecutive win for Red Bull since the final race of the previous year.
Christian Horner, the Red Bull team principal, praised the achievement, saying, “To match Sebastian, nine straight victories, to do it twice as a team is really incredible.”
Verstappen is also closing in on his own F1 record of 15 wins set last year and currently holds 46 overall wins, ranking him fifth on the all-time wins list. Alain Prost (51) and Vettel (53) are within his reach with nine races remaining.
Ferrari endured another disappointing day, with Charles Leclerc retiring due to floor damage, marking his third did-not-finish (DNF) of the season. Carlos Sainz Jr. is yet to secure a podium finish.
Fernando Alonso, at 42 years old, is experiencing a resurgence and is optimistic about achieving his 33rd career win in the future. He praised his competitive car, stating, “The car was flying, it was very competitive, very easy to drive. In these conditions, you need a car that you can trust, and I did trust the car today.”
Other notable finishers included Lando Norris (McLaren) in seventh, Alex Albon (Williams), Oscar Piastri (McLaren), and Esteban Ocon (Alpine) rounding out the top 10. Mercedes driver George Russell, who started in third position, had a disappointing race, finishing 17th.
The race began with Verstappen maintaining his lead, while Alonso overtook Russell to secure third place. Heavy rain soon followed, prompting several drivers to make pit stops for tire changes.
Notably, Ferrari faced difficulties, with tire changes not being ready for Leclerc, and the team failing to notice his damaged front wing.
The race’s start also saw Logan Sargeant crash, bringing out the safety car. Verstappen comfortably held off Perez following the safety car restart, with Alonso securing third place. Leclerc eventually returned to the garage, hoping for better results at Ferrari’s home track, Monza, in the next race.
Monza holds a special significance, as it was where Sebastian Vettel secured his first victory in 2008.