‘I’m incredibly proud’ – Verstappen overjoyed as he makes more F1 history with hard-fought Zandvoort win
Max Verstappen could not hide his delight after securing a third straight Dutch Grand Prix victory in a wet and wild encounter at Zandvoort, which also saw him draw level with Sebastian Vettel’s record for the most successive F1 wins.
Verstappen overcame the changeable weather conditions, the appearance of the Virtual Safety Car, full Safety Car and a red flag to net his ninth win on the bounce and 11th win from 13 races this season, further extending his championship lead in the process.
After beating Fernando Alonso and Pierre Gasly to the chequered flag, Verstappen reflected: “It’s incredible. Also today, they didn’t make it easy for us with the weather to make all the time the right calls. I’m incredibly proud.
“I already had goosebumps when they were playing the national anthem before the start. Even with all the bad weather, the rain, the fans were still going at it, so an incredible atmosphere.”
As for equalling Vettel’s record, and whether he can go one clear at the upcoming Italian Grand Prix, he said: “I’ll think about it next week. I’m first going to enjoy this weekend. It’s always tough, the pressure is on to perform, and I’m very happy of course to win here.”
Verstappen’s team mate, Sergio Perez, crossed the line in third position but was demoted to fourth, behind Gasly, after being given a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
Perez had just survived a tap of the barriers during an off at Turn 1 when he clipped the pit entry prior to changing intermediates for full wets – the race then being red-flagged due to Zhou Guanyu’s accident.
“I think we deserved better today,” the Mexican told Sky Sports post-race. “As I was coming into the pit lane, it was completely flooded, so I ended up crashing into the wall, and over sped, I guess, on the entry – a bit of a shame.
“[The conditions] were changing quite a lot, especially coming into Turn 1, with the rivers around. As I was braking, I could feel those rivers and unfortunately I lost the car, went straight into the wall, but luckily managed to rotate and keep going.”
Pushed on Verstappen undercutting him during the early move from intermediates back to slicks, Perez said: “I didn’t know anything at the time. It’s always… Those things, we get to review them in the meeting and understand what are the reasons behind it.
“There are obviously reasons for that. It’s always a strategic decision, you know. The team has a wider view of what’s going on in the race.”
Perez declared that it was still “a good team result” for Red Bull, who now lead Mercedes by 285 points in the constructors’ standings, with Verstappen sitting 138 points clear at the top of the drivers’ rankings.