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Verstappen wins at home in Zandvoort

ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 04: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of The Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort on September 04, 2022 in Zandvoort, Netherlands. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202209040270 // Usage for editorial use only //

Max Verstappen has won his home Grand Prix at the Zandvoort circuit after a dramatic race with Safety Cars and battles for the top places.

The race began under a cloudy Zandvoort circuit, though no rain was expected at least for the opening stage of the Grand Prix. Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc got the better start, with the Dutch driver leading off turn 1, and the Monegasque close behind.

Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton struggled through turn 1, and they made slight contact. The Mercedes almost lost control, but quickly recovered behind the Ferrari, who was already 3 seconds ahead -though with a better tire- by lap 2.

Kevin Magnussen prompted yellow flags as he lost control and made contact with the barriers, though he was able to continue.

Carlos Sainz pitted on lap 15, but it went horribly wrong. The pit crew didn’t have his rear-right tire ready, and it took 12 seconds to complete the stop. Sainz then went out in P9 behind Alexander Albon.

Charles Leclerc then pitted on lap 18, luckily for him without any complications, going out in P4 behind George Russell, and ready to charge once again for the lead.

Hamilton and Russell were leading the race ahead of Max Verstappen 23 laps in, but they still had to pit for a change of tires.

Max Verstappen managed to overtake Russell down the straight and into turn 1 on lap 28, breaking Mercedes’ 1-2 placement in the race. Still, they were on the same old tires they started the race with.

Hamilton was the first Mercedes to pit on lap 30, rejoining the track in P5 behind Red Bull’s Sergio Perez. His teammate Russell followed on lap 32, with a good pit stop rejoining behind Hamilton and ahead of Sainz.

The Mercedes of the 7-time World Champion then tried to overtake Perez but the Mexican aggressively, but cleanly defended from Hamilton, retaining his position though the battle still continued.

However, Hamilton managed to get past Perez quickly after and so did George Russell as well, both with fresher Hard tires compared to the Mexican’s mediums. Sainz was 6th, trying to regain time to catch the Red Bull.

Yuki Tsunoda stopped at the side of the track on lap 44, complaining his tires were not correctly fitted. However, his team informed him the tires were fine, and the Japanese slowly reintegrated into the race.

Leclerc went for his second pit stop on lap 46, fitting the hard tires and rejoining the track in P4, behind of Russell and ahead of Perez.

The struggles continued for Tsunoda – he claimed there was something weird about his car and stopped at the side of the track, prompting a Virtual Safety Car, and thus all the pit stops that come with it.

Lando Norris, Fernando Alonso, Max Verstappen [Hards], Lewis Hamilton [Mediums], George Russell [Mediums], and several others were the drivers to pit during the VSC period. Green flag racing resumed on lap 50.

Drama continued to add up as Valtteri Bottas stopped in the main straight before turn 1, bringing out the Safety Car and prompting even more pit stops.

The race restarted once again on lap 61 with Hamilton at the lead and Verstappen charging behind, passing the British driver through the straight and turn 1.

In the end, it was Max Verstappen who took victory at home, with George Russell in second and Charles Leclerc third.

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