Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen took an emphatic victory in today’s Dutch Grand Prix in front of his home crowd at the Zandvoort circuit.
The 23 year-old started the race from pole position and produced a masterclass to come home just ahead championship rival Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
Verstappen who now holds a three point lead in the championship over Hamilton heading to Monza next weekend spoke following the race saying:
It’s incredible to win here today on another home track and it feels great to take the lead in the Driver’s Championship again. Of course the expectations were very high coming into the weekend and it’s never easy to fulfil that but the whole crowd has been incredible and I am so happy to win here. It was quite a tough race, Lewis was really putting the pressure on and both Mercedes’ had really good pace but we managed to have that three second buffer when we needed it and I think that was very important. We can be really pleased with the whole Team performance; we made the right calls and we managed the race really well. 72 laps around this track is cool, especially in front of all these fans, they were incredible throughout the whole race, I’ve never experienced anything like this before in my life. I will of course celebrate at home this evening, but Monza is just around the corner and the championship fight is tight, so I want to make sure we perform at our best.”
While Max may have been the crowd favourite today, driver of the day honors went to his teammate Sergio ‘Checo’ Perez who came from the pitlane to finish the race in eighth place and speaking following the action the Mexican said:
“I gave it my all, every overtake was on the limit and I had to take a lot of risks. Today was all about damage limitation as I started from the pits after taking the penalty for the engine change. It was a bit of a shame at the end when Lando and I touched, I had a lot of damage on the right-hand side of the car. I think it was a racing indecent as I wasn’t given enough space and I don’t think he could see me. Since that point I lost a lot of grip, otherwise, I definitely think P6 was on the cards today. I really wish I could have given more to the Dutch fans, they have been incredible all weekend. From now on it’s just about looking ahead and trying to come back strong in Monza.”
Red Bull Racing Team Principal and CEO Christian Horner commented on the race saying:
“It was an impeccable race for the Team today. There’s a fantastic atmosphere here and I’ve never seen a reaction like that in my whole career, the fans in Holland are incredible. It was important for Max to get a clean start, his ability to judge and read the grip level is very strong. We knew with the strategic options that Mercedes had that they were going to split the strategy and they did exactly that. It was also crucial for Max to make that pass on Valtteri quickly and then after that, we were able to cover Lewis. The Team did everything they could today to make sure Max had a smooth race and he did everything that he needed. Sergio won driver of the day and he has driven a great race. Not only did he take the penalty, he had a huge flat spot and we had to pit him for safety reasons, so he was in an even more difficult position then. He made great progress through the field, scoring important points for us and improving his confidence after a really tough Saturday. Looking ahead, Monza and Sochi are tracks that Mercedes have a stronghold, we’d expect them to have the upper hand, therefore the next two races are about trying to limit the damage and making sure we extract as much as we can out of the cars. It’s going to be really close and this championship looks like it’s going to go all the way to Abu Dhabi.”