Max Verstappen took a record-equalling ninth consecutive Formula 1 win on home soil, but the Dutch Grand Prix wasn’t the straightforward affair he’s been used to lately.
The weather wreaked havoc all weekend with the ever-changing conditions demanding up to six pit stops for most drivers over the course of the afternoon. But which of our drivers impressed, and who got caught out on the Dutch seaside coast?
Max Verstappen – 10
Qualified: P1, Race: P1
A Verstappen win looked inevitable heading into the Dutch GP weekend, and the Red Bull driver cruised to a record-equalling ninth consecutive grand prix victory.
Rapid in all conditions, Verstappen was simply imperious all weekend. The Dutchman took charge of the extreme conditions and drove to pole with a half-a-second advantage over his nearest challenger, Lando Norris. Verstappen was even 1.3 seconds faster than team-mate Sergio Perez.
Verstappen’s race was only set back by a delayed switch to the Intermediate tyre. By no fault of his own, nor his team, the reigning champion was undercut significantly by Perez as the conditions continued to worsen. But once on the Intermediates, Verstappen eroded Perez’s advantage by up to 4.2 seconds per lap.
While he was handed an undercut advantage to regain the lead, the championship leader conquered the weather, perfected his restarts and survived a late challenge from Fernando Alonso on his way to another storming victory to add to his collection.
Sergio Perez – 5.5
Qualified: P7, Race: P4
Perez entered the Dutch GP off the back of two confidence-restoring races in Hungary and Belgium. An inspired decision to make the immediate switch to Intermediates at the end of the opening lap proved to be the ultimate gamble, handing him the lead by Lap 3.
Unfortunately, that was really as far as Perez’s highlights reel went for the Dutch Grand Prix. Yes, Prez will feel his race was compromised by Red Bull’s decision to box Verstappen back to slicks first, but the Mexican was truthfully never in the mix for the victory.
1.3 seconds adrift in qualifying, Perez rarely matched Verstappen in race pace and found the barriers twice: once at Turn 1 and once entering the pit lane. A strategic call to box right before the red flag also compromised Perez in a race that clearly wasn’t to be. A five-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane then dropped him off the podium.
Fernando Alonso – 9
Qualified: P5, Race: P2
Aston Martin introduced a brand new floor and diffuser and two-time champion Alonso maximised the new package at his disposal.
Alonso delivered what was surely one of the standout performances of the season as the 42-year-old carved his way through the field, including making excellent use of the banking at Turn 3 to overtake Alex Albon and George Russell on the first lap.
Up to second in the opening corners of the race, the Spaniard lost out at the first stop and dropped positions. But the ever-determined Spaniard fought back and looked at one with the revised AMR23 to complete a mightily impressive drive and a well-deserved return to the podium rostrum.
Lance Stroll – 5
Qualified: P11, Race: P11
Stroll’s race was a stark contrast to that of his team-mate: the Canadian had an anonymous race after being one of the last to make the switch to Intermediates in the opening laps.
With that strategic blunder, followed by a switch to the unfavourable Mediums, the Canadian languished in the lower order all afternoon. Fortunate to climb back to 11th amid the late drama, Aston Martin nor Stroll can surely afford another weekend with such a performance gap between both drivers.
Pierre Gasly – 8.5
Qualified: P12, Race: P3
After the shocking announcement that three senior figures would leave Alpine following the Belgian Grand Prix – including then-team principal Otmar Szafnauer – third place will be a much-needed morale boost for the whole team.
Gasly was one of few to stop on the opening lap for Inters, with the call vaulting him into contention despite his lowly grid spot.
The Frenchman picked up a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane, but strong pace in the mixed conditions kept him in the hunt. He was helped onto the podium by a five-second time penalty for Perez to pick up an important 15 points for the Enstone-based squad.
Esteban Ocon – 6
Qualified: P17, Race: P10
Another driver unable to match the lofty heights of their teammate, Ocon was handicapped after a shock Q1 elimination and forced to settle for a Lap 2 switch to Intermediates.
Ocon found himself racing the out-of-position Mercedes’ and McLarens, with the arrival of further rain towards the end of the race providing a chance for those in unfavourable positions to gamble strategically. And gamble Alpine did, fitting their driver with the extreme wet tyres, the only team in the field to do so.
Ocon’s hopes of a solid points haul were effectively wiped out when the decision was made to red-flag the race. It’s not a points finish, but a respectable drive nonetheless.
Carlos Sainz – 7
Qualified: P6, Race: P5
A solid result for Sainz on what was otherwise a disastrous weekend for Ferrari. After sitting out FP1 for Robert Shwartzman, Sainz kept clear of trouble in the opening downpour and managed to climb to third in the dry, aided by a slow pitstop for Alonso.
The Ferrari was no match for the Aston Martin as Alonso swiftly found his way back past, with Gasly following suit some laps later. It wasn’t an easy weekend for Sainz as Ferrari was confronted with the reality of its 2023 struggles, but the one-time F1 race winner did well to drive his way to some decent points despite the apparent pace deficit.
Charles Leclerc – 5
Qualified: P9, Race: DNF
It was a horrible weekend on the other side of the Ferrari garage, however, as Leclerc departed Zandvoort empty-handed.
A mistake in Q3 meant he found himself in the thick of the action at the beginning of the race. The season-long communication breakdown at Ferrari continued as Leclerc opted to box for Intermediates on the opening lap. The team had told him to stay out, but it was already too late and a lengthy delay in the box followed.
Despite still making gains with the early stop, an earlier incident with Oscar Piastri saw a broken front wing endplate go under his SF-23 and cause significant damage to the floor. An apparent 60 points of downforce were lost; his miserable outing ended on Lap 40 as Ferrari chose not to prolong the Monegasque’s suffering.
Lewis Hamilton – 7.5
Qualified: P13, Race: P6
After a shock Q2 exit, Hamilton was the only driver to gamble and start the race on the Medium tyre as the remainder of the field set off on the Softs. When the first showers began, Mercedes opted to continue with the slicks before finally abandoning the strategy provided by its inaccurate weather radar.
The strategic stubbornness dropped Hamilton to last but the seven-time champion confidently carved his way back through the field. Hamilton’s pace matched that of the leaders as he delivered an effective recovery drive on a weekend where things just didn’t go right for Mercedes.
George Russell – 6.5
Qualified: P3, Race: P17
Having qualified third, Mercedes’ gamble to stick with the dry tyres as long as possible jeopardised Russell’s race. He too dropped towards the rear of the field and had to methodically make his way back through the field on an ambitious Hard tyre stint.
The Briton made his way back into the top 10 and found himself battling Hamilton and the McLarens after the red-flag stoppage. However, Russell picked up a puncture after slight contact with Norris, bringing an unfortunate end to an otherwise productive weekend.
Lando Norris – 7.5
Qualified: P2, Race: P7
After a mightily impressive qualifying performance, it was an otherwise muted race for Norris. Having lost second place to Fernando Alonso at the start, McLaren failed to call Norris into the pits for Inters on the opening lap, effectively ruining his chances of a return to the podium.
Amid the chaos, Norris found his way back into the points, but having been Verstappen’s closest rival on Friday and Saturday, it certainly feels like a missed opportunity for McLaren.
Oscar Piastri – 7
Qualified: P8, Race: P9
Piastri put in a heroic drive in the opening wet portion of the race, having been kept out on slick rubber for the duration. Losing out initially, Piastri benefitted when others were forced to switch back from the Inters to slicks.
Piastri did perform an extra pit stop just ahead of the Safety Car triggered by Logan Sargeant’s crash which sent him down the order. But the rookie made some daring moves and looked at ease despite the pandemonium that arose throughout the race. Piastri has shown real maturity throughout his maiden season and he deserved more from a solid weekend.
Alex Albon – 8.5
Qualified: P4, Race: P8
Realistically, Albon was never expected to maintain his P4 starting position. However, he did bring home a handful of points for Williams. Just not in the ordinary manner.
Albon was left on his starting Soft tyres for a staggering 44 laps before making his first stop, with a bold call forcing the Williams driver to brave the treacherous conditions.
Another exemplary case of the 27-year-old outdriving his Williams machinery, he found himself in the best-of-the-rest battle and deservedly so. A strong P8 finish could well solidify Williams’ claim to seventh in the Constructors’ Championship.
Logan Sargeant – 4
Qualified: P10, Race: DNF
It was a pretty relentless weekend for Sargeant. Still looking to find some confidence in F1, the Dutch GP had the potential to provide that all-important morale boost for the American. The result couldn’t be much further from the truth.
For the first time since Monza 2017, both Williams made it to the final stage of qualifying. It was also the rookie’s maiden top-10 shootout – but Sargeant instantly threw away that breakthrough achievement in a costly crash minutes into Q3.
Sunday was always going to be tough as Sargeant too was kept out on the slicks in the rain. He crashed again in the race in a bizarre accident, later attributed to a power steering failure.
Nico Hulkenberg – 5.5
Qualified: P15, Race: P12
There were no Q3 heroics from Hulkenberg and it was a similar story in the race as Haas continued to suffer from a lack of race pace. Haas opted to split strategies with its two drivers, with Hulkenberg forced to hold out on the slicks early on.
The strategy meant there were few chances to regroup, and the later red flag mandating the usage of the Intermediate tyre resulted in a rather mediocre afternoon. However, Hulkenberg secured some solace by once again usurping his team-mate.
Kevin Magnussen – 5
Qualified: P18 (Started: Pit lane), Race: P14
Of the two Haas drivers, Magnussen was gifted the preferential strategy after his pit lane start. Having stopped on Lap 1 for Inters, he found himself running in the top half early on.
By no means did Haas execute a poor strategy with Magnussen. The stops were well-timed, and the decisions were well-judged. However, a general lack of pace saw the Dane slump down the order and fall into the reaches of his teammate.
Liam Lawson – 8
Qualified: P20 (Started: P19), Race: P13
What a whirlwind weekend for the Red Bull reserve driver. Lawson only found out he would drive for AlphaTauri following Friday’s running as Daniel Ricciardo has been put out of action with a broken metacarpal.
Having never driven the AT04, Lawson’s only practice session came in FP3 before being thrust straight into qualifying. He expectedly qualified at the back of the grid, but the Kiwi racer grew in confidence throughout the race, battling with the wounded Leclerc and he coped with the conditions better than some of his highly experienced counterparts.
Given the circumstances, as long as he made it to the end of the race without drama, the Dutch GP always looked to be a freebie for Lawson. A very respectable debut, boosted by the nature of the race that unfolded. With Lawson likely to return in Monza, it will be exciting to see how he fares with some F1 preparation behind him.
Yuki Tsunoda – 5.5
Qualified: P14, Race: P16
Tsunoda found himself with a chance at points being one of a handful of drivers to make the switch to Inters on Lap 1. However, a 50-lap stint on the Softs until the next spell of rain saw any hopes evaporate.
His chances weren’t helped by a trip through the gravel as the rain picked up again, or a five-second time penalty for coming together with Russell’s Mercedes.
Valtteri Bottas – 4
Qualified: P19, Race: P15
Bottas also attempted to power through the rain on the slick tyres but to no avail. The Finn had little pace all weekend and frankly looked lost at points.
His final classification was only boosted by retirements and time penalties. One to forget for the ex-Mercedes multiple-time race winner.
Guanyu Zhou – 5.5
Qualified: P16, Race: DNF
For a time, Zhou’s weekend was unrecognisable in comparison to that of teammate Bottas. The Chinese participant had been the biggest winner in the early switch to Inters and ended up running in the top three for some time.
But as expected, he began to fall through the order after fitting the Medium compound and faster cars worked their way forwards.
It’s hard to penalise Zhou for his crash in the moments before the race was stopped due to the torrential rain. He was by no means the only driver to make an error in the wet, but he was the one driver that made the biggest mistake. Alfa Romeo could really have benefited from his presence in a late-race restart.