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Verstappen: 'They didn't make it easy for us'

Updated: Oct 23, 2023


Max Verstappen drives at Zandvoort.
Max Verstappen picked up another win at home. (Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos | Getty Images)

ZANDVOORT, Netherlands - The 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship resumed at Circuit Zandvoort after its annual summer hiatus, which saw Max Verstappen equal Sebastian Vettel's all-time record of nine straight wins, following the Red Bull Racing driver's third consecutive victory in the Dutch Grand Prix.


Although Verstappen started on pole and finished on the top step of the podium in front of his home crowd again, changing weather conditions complicated his race strategy and Dutch fans were treated to an action-packed race.


The drama started as the grid lined up at the start, with the vast majority of the field opting for the softest tire compound. As the rain started to fall just before lights out, it became clear that weather would play a factor in Sunday’s Grand Prix.


“The race itself was very hectic, of course. I mean, lining up and seeing the rain coming down, yeah, it was tough to make the right calls,” Verstappen said.


Verstappen held onto the lead through Turn 1 and the first lap. By the second lap, enough water had accumulated on the track that spray was visibly being lifted by the cars’ tires. Ignoring advice from his pit wall, Verstappen opted to stay out for another lap and turned down the opportunity to be the first Red Bull to pit for the intermediate rain tire.


“I mean, I thought together with the team, you know, they told me, like, the rain is coming, but maybe not enough to switch to an Inter or maybe survive for a few laps, you know," Verstappen admitted. "So we decided together to stay out for one more lap, but that at the end of the day was then the wrong call.”


On Lap 3, Verstappen and Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) pitted for intermediate tires from first and second positions. Perez, who on the previous lap became the first driver to switch to intermediate tires, quickly passed Lando Norris (McLaren) and George Russell (Mercedes) to become the race leader.


Perez maintained the lead up until the next round of pit stops on Lap 13. Verstappen cycled out in front of Perez and regained the lead of the race.


Three laps later, Logan Sargeant, the American driver who is contracted with Williams on a one-year rookie deal, suffered a race-ending crash into the wall.


“I was starting to get back into a rhythm as the track was dying," Sargeant said. "I touched the apex curb at Turn 8, and I lost hydraulics and power steering and that just sent me off and once I touched the damp stuff there was no recovery."


The crash was Sargeant’s second crash of the weekend in the Netherlands.


“It’s more just disappointment for everyone who put in effort and for it to only last 15 laps," Sargeant added. "I appreciate all the work and the effort and for it to come up to nothing is super painful, so that’s the bit I hate the most.”


By Lap 58, the rain started to fall again. On Lap 61, Perez once again became the first driver to stop to make the switch to the intermediate rain tires. However, Red Bull did not have the tires ready resulting in a slow stop for Perez.


Two laps later, Perez suffered a double front lock that forced him offline and allowed Alonso to steal second place. The rain continued to fall and Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo) aquaplaned into the barrier, ending his day.


The race was then red-flagged for a period of about 45 minutes to allow the track to dry, then it resumed with a rolling start, led by Verstappen followed by Alonso and Perez.


Verstappen and Alonso finished first and second respectively, while Perez was dropped off the podium due to a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane.


GRID RANKING

The 2023 GRID Ranking is the seventh year of the world's premier motorsport ranking and was initially released on Sunday, April 2.


Drivers in the seven racing series participating in the ranking (NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1, Formula E, World Rally Championship, Repco Supercars, MotoGP) have earned GRID Ratings, which helped determine their seeding during Week 21 of the 2023 GRID Ranking.

GRID Ranking Week 22 Formula 1 Drivers:

DRIVER

OLD RATING

PREVIOUS RANKING

MOST RECENT FINISH

NEW RATING

NEW RANKING

Max Verstappen

22.78

1st

1st

23.30

1st

Sergio Perez

12.38

13th

4th

​12.28

13th

Fernando Alonso

9.18

32nd

2nd

9.70

​27th

Lewis Hamilton

​9.52

28th

6th

9.45

30th

Carlos Sainz

N/A

N/A

5th

6.37

35th

The next round of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship will take place on Sunday, Sept. 3 at Monza for the Italian Grand Prix.


Full results from the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix can be found here:

2023 Dutch Grand Prix Results.
(Photo: FIA)

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