Max Verstappen survived a late-race restart in a chaotic rain-affected Dutch Grand Prix to walk away with his record-equalling ninth successive Formula 1 grand prix win.
A torrential downpour with just over 10 laps to go forced the drivers to switch from slicks to inters for the second time in the race. The resulting tricky conditions caught out Zhou Guanyu, whose Alfa Romeo went skating off at Turn 1 that quickly led to a red flag.
Before the red flag, Zhou aquaplaned into the Turn 1 barriers
— Formula 1 (@F1) August 27, 2023
After a delay of just under an hour the race resumed with six laps of proper racing, the field having completed two laps under the safety car.
Verstappen led at the restart with Fernando Alonso keeping him honest and looking for any way to grab his first win for over a decade. He remained within a second for the first couple of laps but then had to turn his attention to the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez behind him.
Perez’s main focus was building a gap to Pierre Gasly behind, however, as he picked up a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pitlane.
Gasly had recovered from his own five-second pitlane speeding penalty earlier in the race and kept touch with Perez after the restart, meaning he picked up the final place on the podium when Perez’s penalty was applied at the chequered flag.
It marks Gasly’s first grand prix podium with Alpine, having finished in the top three in the sprint race at Spa before the summer break.
Meanwhile Verstappen’s third win on home soil allowed him to equal Sebastian Vettel’s record for the most successive F1 grand prix victories.
Alonso earned Aston’s first podium since Montreal in mid-June and picked up the fastest lap bonus point in second ahead of Gasly, Perez and Carlos Sainz – who just about fended off Lewis Hamilton in a closely fought battle in the final laps for fifth place.
Hamilton was sixth, with second-place starter Lando Norris just 0.023s behind him, having lost out early on in the race by a delayed switch to intermediates.
Alex Albon – the only frontrunner who didn’t pit during the first significant rain shower – had a rollercoaster race to eighth place ahead of Oscar Piastri and Esteban Ocon, who took the final point.
There was chaos on the opening lap as the first rain shower soaked the track and led to a cluster of seven drivers including Perez, who started seventh, switching to inters.
This proved to be the correct call as Perez stormed into the lead, jumping ahead of those who pitted on the next lap – including Verstappen – and easily passing those who stuck it out on slicks.
It left him with an advantage that stood at 15 seconds at one stage over team-mate Verstappen. But that quickly evaporated with Verstappen rapidly closing in on Perez as the track dried – on one lap he was four seconds quicker than Perez.
Verstappen didn’t need to make an on-track pass as he pitted one lap earlier than Perez for softs and jumped his team-mate for the lead at the end of lap 12.
Verstappen remained unchallenged thereafter but things were more fraught for Perez. He’d kept Fernando Alonso at arm’s length for the majority of the race but he went off the road under the torrential rain shower and dropped to third.
He then dived into the pits for wets but whacked the inside wall at the pit entry, something Red Bull worked on to fix under the red flag, as is allowed under the rules.
Charles Leclerc had a miserable race that started at the end of the opening lap when he rightly dived into the pits for intermediates only for the tyres to not be ready for him when he got there.
He then picked up floor damage after contact with Piastri and soon after he was passed by F1 debutant Liam Lawson (who he then repassed) Ferrari called Leclerc into the pits to retire his car around half distance.
Sargeant into the barriers (he's okay) 💥
— Formula 1 (@F1) August 27, 2023
He joined Logan Sargeant on the sidelines, Sargeant’s Williams having speared off the track on lap 16, his second crash of the weekend after his shunt in Q3. He felt “something broke” on the car but the team has yet to issue a full diagnosis.
George Russell lost seventh place when he picked up a puncture while passing Norris after the late-race restart. He ended up 17th as the last car on the road.