Verstappen wins dramatic Dutch GP as Russell and Leclerc complete podium after late Safety Car


 Max Verstappen held onto victory in a captivating 2022 Dutch Grand Prix amid a strong showing from the Mercedes and late Safety Car drama at Zandvoort, as George Russell and Charles Leclerc completed the podium.

Verstappen seemed to be assured of victory having taken a second pit stop during a Virtual Safety Car on Lap 48, with Hamilton second and Russell third as both had extended their opening stint on medium tyres (their rivals having started on softs) to pit for hards, on which they were rapid. The events after a Lap 55 Safety Car dashed any hopes of victory that Hamilton harboured, however.

The seven-time champion stayed out on mediums to inherit the lead while Verstappen came in for softs, followed by Russell and Leclerc, for the restart on Lap 61. In that restart, Verstappen swept past the Mercedes for the lead, with Russell and Leclerc following suit to pry Hamilton away from the podium.

Hamilton ended up fourth at the flag as Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez – the former held back by a calamitous Ferrari pit stop earlier on, before a five-second penalty for an unsafe release in a later stop – battled late on for P5. That allowed Alonso and Norris to close in too, and when the penalty kicked in Sainz was dropped to eighth, promoting Perez to fifth, Alonso to sixth, and Norris to seventh.

Esteban Ocon finished ninth, just ahead of Lance Stroll – who started and finished 10th for Aston Martin. Pierre Gasly missed out on the points in P11 for AlphaTauri while Alex Albon finished 12th from 15th on the grid.

Sebastian Vettel started 19th and finished 14th, losing out to Mick Schumacher – who lost out due to a pair of slow pit stops. The four-time champion was given a five-second penalty for ignoring blue flags earlier in the race.

Kevin Magnussen hit the barriers on Lap 2 but continued to finish 15th, behind his Haas team mate. Daniel Ricciardo pitted first out of the pack and couldn’t make up ground, finishing 17th for McLaren behind Zhou Guanyu, who served a five-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane.

Valtteri Bottas was classified 19th for Alfa Romeo, his car stopping on track to bring out the late Safety Car.

Yuki Tsunoda stopped on track on Lap 48 after reporting a driveshaft issue, the AlphaTauri driver having previously reported that his tyres were incorrectly fitted before a lengthy pit stop.

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