Over 100,000 Dutch fans cheered for Verstappen at Zandvoort. Photo: ANP/Koen van Weel

Max Verstappen won the Dutch Grand Prix for the second year in a row, thrilling the orange-clad fans of Zandvoort and approaching his second Drivers’ Championship title.

Verstappen appeared to be cruising to victory at Red Bull and was leading almost the entire race, but his party was temporarily ruined when the safety car came out with 17 of the 72 laps to go. was likely to become

Verstappen immediately pitted for new tires and came out behind the Mercedes cars of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. Russell also pitted to change tires, but Hamilton chose to stay. A strategy that backfired almost immediately, as Verstappen passed him within seconds of the restart.

Hamilton finished fourth behind teammate Russell and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

As a result, he extended his lead over Leclerc in the Dutch Drivers’ Championship race to 109 points and has won 10 of 15 races so far this season.

Some 105,000 fans cheered on Verstappen, let off orange flares and celebrated Zandvoort’s second race win since returning to the Grand Prix calendar last year.

His father Jos was able to celebrate with him as he had to miss the ceremony earlier in the week when the king made him an officer in Orange Nassau because he tested positive for coronavirus.

“It was not an easy race,” Verstappen said afterwards. “We had to push until the end with the safety car, but we made the right decision.

“Winning your home Grand Prix is ​​always special. I have to say I had to work harder this year, but it was a great weekend. I’m so glad you did.

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