Home crowd roars Max Verstappen to victory

Dutchman snatches championship lead from Hamilton with dominant showing

Max Verstappen won his home Dutch Grand Prix for Red Bull yesterday and took the Formula One championship lead, in front of a roaring 70,000-strong army of fans hailing their hero with orange flags and flares.

The 23-year-old dominated from pole position to take the chequered flag, in the first Dutch Grand Prix for 36 years, 20.932 seconds ahead of Mercedes' seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton's Finnish teammate Valtteri Bottas completed the podium, moving up to third in the championship, with the rest of the field all lapped by Verstappen.

Hamilton took a bonus point for the fastest lap, but Verstappen overturned a three-point deficit to go three points clear of Hamilton.

This was the first time Zandvoort was hosting an F1 race since Niki Lauda's win in 1985, as organisers try to make the most of the enormous popularity of Verstappen, the youngest grand prix winner and the first Dutchman to have a shot at the championship.

Verstappen's meteoric rise, which has drawn tens of thousands of orange-clad fans to races across Europe, helped sell over 300,000 tickets in an instant, even though people had to pay over 500 euros (around S$800) to see three days of racing from the grandstand.

The victory was Verstappen's seventh in 13 races, with nine rounds remaining, and set off a gigantic beachside party.

"As you can hear, it's incredible," said the winner over the roar of the crowd.

"Obviously, the expectations were very high going into the weekend and it's never easy to fulfil that. But I'm of course so happy to win here, to take the lead as well in the championship as well.

"It's just an amazing day. Just the whole crowd, It's incredible."

Hamilton also hailed the crowd for its passion.

"What a race, what a crowd," he said. "It's been an amazing weekend. Max did a great job, congratulations to him.

"I gave it absolutely everything today, flat out. I pushed as hard as I could but they were just too quick for us."

French driver Pierre Gasly was fourth for Alpha Tauri, with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc fifth and Fernando Alonso sixth for the Renault-owned Alpine.

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz was seventh, with Red Bull's Mexican Sergio Perez Driver of the Day after racing back to eighth from a pitlane start.

Esteban Ocon took two points for Alpine with McLaren's Lando Norris completing the top 10.

Alpha Tauri's Japanese rookie Yuki Tsunoda and Haas' Nikita Mazepin were the only retirements.

The Italian Grand Prix at Monza follows this weekend.