Auto Culture

Max Verstappen Wins Undulating 2022 Dutch Grand Prix

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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took advantage of a bizarre late safety car and a botched Mercedes strategy to win the 2022 Dutch Grand Prix ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc with seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton holding on for fourth.

Verstappen began the race on pole position with all six contending cars of Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes in the first three rows – but only Mercedes starting the race on medium tires while the others started the race on soft tires. After an uneventful first 15 laps with Verstappen comfortably in the lead, both the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz, Jr. and Red Bull of Sergio Perez, chose to pit – but Sainz, Jr.’s pit went awry when his pit crew were late getting a tire fitted and Perez drove over one of the Ferrari tire guns on his pit exit. The long pit stop ultimately dropped Sainz, Jr. out of podium contention.

After the pit crossovers from Laps 15-18, Hamilton was in the lead of the race for the next 12 laps before finally pitting and electing to put on hard tires to try and go to the end of the race. Russell pitted two laps later with the same intent and by another 15 laps later, both Hamilton and Russell were in second and third, respectively, and pressuring Verstappen, who was on aging medium tires and was looking at a potential pit stop that would drop him behind both Mercedes with approximately 20 laps remaining.

But on Lap 48, Yuki Tsunoda of Red Bull’s sister team, AlphaTauri, had a mysterious issue of seemingly not-fitted tires after a pit stop and then an even more mysterious cockpit/seatbelt issue – neither issue was confirmed but rather than the car being retired, Tsunoda was sent out anyway and immediately stopped after a few turns, prompting a virtual safety car that allowed Verstappen to pit and maintain his lead in a scenario somewhat reminiscent of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix fiasco. The FiA will be investigating the possibly contrived Tsunoda/AlphaTauri safety car incident.

Verstappen retained the lead of the race but a mere seven laps later, the Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas experienced a mechanical issue, causing another safety car, but Mercedes elected to keep Hamilton on his medium tires while all the other contenders pitted to get soft tires – essentially making Hamilton a sitting duck for the race’s remaining 12 laps on the re-start. Predictably, after the strategy error, Verstappen, Russell and Leclerc all easily passed Hamilton in the race’s closing laps.

With the victory, Verstappen extends his lead in the Formula 1 driver’s standings with 310 points but second place tightens up with Leclerc vaulting into a tie with Perez at 201 points and Russell close behind with 188 points. Hamilton, meanwhile, has 158 points and closed the gap to Sainz, Jr. who has 175 points.

2022 Dutch Grand Prix – Top 10 Finishers

1] Max Verstappen Red Bull
2] George Russell Mercedes
3] Charles Leclerc Ferrari
4] Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
5] Sergio PĂ©rez Red Bull
6] Fernando Alonso Alpine
7] Lando Norris McLaren
8] Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari
9] Esteban Ocon Alpine
10] Lance Stroll Aston Martin

About Alex Bean

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