Dutch Grand Prix: Dutch delight as Max Verstappen beats Fernando Alonso in FP1

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen looking serious in Red Bull's garage at the Dutch GP.

Max Verstappen focused as he looks to continue his winning streak.

Max Verstappen delighted his home fans with a P1 to kick off the Dutch Grand Prix weekend but Nico Hulkenberg’s off and subsequent red flags did ruin a hot one for Lewis Hamilton.

Verstappen and Hamilton battled for P1 on the hard tyres and again on the softs but it was the local favourite who won the tussle while Hamilton’s first flying lap on the soft tyres, in which he was purple, had to be aborted when Hulkenberg went off at the penultimate corner.

Verstappen began the weekend with a 1:11.852 with Fernando Alonso second, 0.278s down, and Hamilton third.

Pace for Max Verstappen, problems for Lance Stroll and Nico Hulkenberg

As clouds gathered over the circuit, Yuki Tsunoda led the drivers out of the pits with the summer break officially over. It was a slightly different line-up to the last race in Belgium with Robert Shwartzman in action for Ferrari as he climbed into Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari, but only for FP1.

Local hero Verstappen, not always one of the first to go out, was immediately up into P1 with a 1:15.393 ahead of his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez with Logan Sargeant on the medium Pirellis up to third. George Russell went quickest and then Verstappen shaved a full second off his previous best to regain P1.

And so the Verstappen versus Mercedes battle began.

Lewis Hamilton had a brief foray up at the front but again Verstappen came through, the benchmark time down to a 1:13.191 after 20 minutes of running with the championship leader 0.656s ahead of Hamilton and Perez.

Five drivers, though, hadn’t set lap times including Lando Norris, Fernando Alonso, and Lance Stroll with the latter not even covering a single lap having missed Thursday’s media commitments with an infection.

Nico Hulkenberg, confirmed by Haas for next season, had a moment at Turn 12 and asked Haas to check the front of his VF-23 in a session in which Haas were finally running upgrades with new brake cooling and a revised front wing.

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Alonso and Stroll were out on track soon after but for Stroll it was a short run with the driver reporting a “funny noise” and he was told to box with his AMR23 suffering an engine issue that brought his session to a very early end. Alonso went P11 on his first flying lap but cut the gravel trap on his second, and he too pitted.

Verstappen and Hamilton had followed the Aston Martins out of the pits but, on used tyres, neither improved their lap although Russell did to split the two in second place. Hamilton regained P2 moments later, a tenth up on his teammate.

Williams rookie Sargeant was the first driver to swap to the soft tyres and he immediately went quickest with a 1:12.814. Perez followed suit and went four-tenths up on Sargeant with Alex Albon slotting in between the two just 0.008s behind the Red Bull.

Zhou Guanyu wasn’t happy with Esteban Ocon, saying he “fully blocked me” with the Alfa Romeo driver completing a lap as Ocon prepared to start one. Verstappen also had traffic and voiced his displeasure.

Hamilton was up on his soft tyre run, purple in the first sector, when the red flags were waved for Hulkenberg’s off in the gravel at the penultimate corner in which the driver damaged his new – and limited-in-stock – front wing. Daniel Ricciardo had just completed his first flying lap on the red-walled Pirellis to go P6 in the AlphaTauri.

Back to green, Hamilton crawled out of the pits to make room for himself with an impatient Perez on his rear wing. Verstappen also left the pits on soft tyres. Purples for Verstappen, who went quickest with a 1:11.852 while Hamilton went third behind Alonso.

It was a trying start to the weekend for Ferrari with Charles Leclerc P16 having opted against a soft tyre run while Shwartzman was P19.


1 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing 1:11.852
2 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin +0.278
3 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes+0.373
4 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing +0.471
5 Alexander ALBON Williams +0.595
6 Lando NORRIS McLaren +0.608
7 Logan SARGEANT Williams +0.765
8 Oscar PIASTRI McLaren +0.806
9 Yuki TSUNODA AlphaTauri +0.897
10 Esteban OCON Alpine +0.950
11 George RUSSELL Mercedes +0.961
12 Pierre GASLY Alpine +1.043
13 Daniel RICCIARDO AlphaTauri +1.138
14 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas F1 Team +1.470
15 Valtteri BOTTAS Alfa Romeo +1.596
16 Charles LECLERC Ferrari +1.667
17 Guanyu ZHOU Alfa Romeo +1.974
18 Nico HULKENBERG Haas F1 Team +2.171
19 Robert SHWARTZMAN Ferrari+2.951
20 Lance STROLL Aston Martin no time 1 lap

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